Monday, December 17, 2012

Dolphins-Jaguars Game Observations

The Miami Dolphins' Week 15 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars went about as I would have expected. Penalties and a complete lack of talent killed the Jaguars, who looked to me like an extremely poor man's version of the Dolphins.

The Dolphins didn't destroy them like a great team would have, but even with a few mistakes of their own, they had know trouble holding the Jaguars at bay. The Dolphins are an inconsistent team that's average at best, but the Jaguars are simply way worse.

The Dolphins have a winnable division game at home in Week 16 against Buffalo before closing out on the road in New England. Until then, here are my observations from the Dolphins' Week 15 win over the Jags...

  • Ryan Tannehill was off early with a couple errant throws he should have made, including a high throw to Rishard Matthews that would've been a touchdown if he had hit him in stride. After the first quarter, however, I can't recall a bad throw made by Tannehill and he did exactly what you would expect against a bad Jaguars defense. He made all his throws in the face of no pressure and successfully bootlegged different directions on his touchdown throws. I'm still a bit jealous when I see the incredible statistical success of some of the other rookie quarterbacks, but I like Tannehill a lot and I can't wait until he has some real weapons.
  • Reggie Bush did well, especially in the second half, and made some nice cuts that made defenders looks absolutely ridiculous. He once again was not involved much in the passing game despite the absence of Davone Bess, which is quite perplexing.
  • Brian Hartline wasn't even targeted in this game for the longest time, but he did show up later and made some nice plays on his way to his first career 1,000-yard season. It's a nice milestone for the former fourth-rounder that has always shown good ability. I really hope the Dolphins can work out a reasonable contract with him because he could be a nice No. 2 well into the future.
  • Marlon Moore and Rishard Matthews each made some nice plays, but it's clear they can't be consistently be relied upon. Hell, even Marcus Thigpen made a few plays out of the slot and newly-claimed Armon Binns played 10 snaps at receiver, which just goes to show how thin the Dolphins' receiving corps is when they are down Davone Bess.
  • Another good game for Anthony Fasano, who blocked well and caught some nice passes, including his second touchdown in as many weeks. I'd really like for the Dolphins to be able to work out a deal with him to bring him back as the No. 2 tight end.
  • It's hard to really grade the offensive line here because the Jaguars' pass rush is just so bad. The team predictably didn't have any trouble despite the recent shakeups at offensive tackle. John Jerry even got dinged up and allowed Josh Samuda to see his first action at right guard. I wasn't thrilled with the run blocking, which wasn't that great and Bush's 104-yard day is misleading with one 53-yard run.
  • The run defense wasn't as good as I thought it would be, although the Jaguars had to abandon the running game and put the game on Chad Henne's shoulders, which obviously didn't go well. But I felt like this unit should have stuffed the Jaguars' no-name running backs.
  • On the plus side, the pass rush was there and Cameron Wake had another great game despite being stuck with 14 sacks on the year. Wake was credited with five hurries and a hit, plus drew a couple of key holding penalties. Jared Odrick notched a sack from the inside, which is where he should be playing anyway.
  • The linebackers had a great game in this one, including self-proclaimed hall of famer and guy-that-I-hate Karlos Dansby. Jason Trusnik is a big drop-off in the starting lineup, but he did have a nice tackle on a 4th-and-1 play.
  • I swear, I am so tired of watching Sean Smith play. He was slapped with a questionable pass interference call (though I expected the flag) and he gives up easy catches way too often while celebrating on incompletions he had no part in causing. I was pleasantly surprised with the way Bryan McCann played late in the game and I'd like to see more of him if Nolan Carroll misses time with a knee injury.
  • Chris Clemons had one of his better games yesterday in a rare outshining of Reshad Jones, who has played like a Pro Bowler for most of the season. I'd love a playmaker back there but these guys are at least serviceable.
  • I think it's safe to say any concerns about Dan Carpenter should be sufficiently put to rest. Carpenter nailed another 53-yarder yesterday on his way to a perfect 3-for-3 day. He's missed just one field goal attempt since Week 5 and is back to his old reliable self.