Ryan Tannehill doesn’t play like a rookie. He doesn’t throw into double coverage or make the boneheaded decision generally. He doesn’t seem too small for the moment. And he keeps plugging. At one point Sunday, his QB rating was in the 30s. By game’s end, he had a 91 rating and had outdueled Carson Palmer. Tannehill is already a good game manager only two games into his career. That is not an insult. Some of his predecessors haven’t been good game managers years into their careers. GRADE: B.
Reggie Bush shouldn’t be a surprise. He has more than 100 combined yards in six consecutive games. He’s a weapon and he made the point again with his 172 yards on 26 carries. And it just wasn’t that Bush was gaining yardage, it was how. He broke tackles and broke away from defenders. Impressive. Rookie Lamar Miller also showed a spark, adding 65 yards on 10 carries, showing the kind of speed that made him a rare find in the draft’s fourth round. Daniel Thomas better get well soon. GRADE: A+
This is probably how it’s going to be much of this season: A lot of Brian Hartline, some Davone Bess and a contributor to be named later. Hartline had his finest game as a professional, which is stating a great case for missing most of the preseason as he did. Bess was a good option in being the threat mostly across the field for Miami. And this game’s contributor to be named later was Anthony Fasano, who caught a TD pass to erase the drop he had earlier in the game. GRADE: B.
Just before Reggie Bush’s 65-yard touchdown run, left tackle Jake Long told the running back to expect daylight on the play based on what had happened earlier. Guess what? He was right. The line blocked very well on runs. The pass blocking needs a little cleaning up. Long got beat for a sack and Tannehill had to throw with defenders hanging on to him several occasions. It should be said that Jonathan Martin, the rookie right tackle, did what one asks of rookies. He improved from last week to this week. Well done. GRADE: B-
The unit won the battle at the line of scrimmage for the second consecutive week. Oakland could not rush the football with any consistency and Miami got good pressure from, well, practically everyone. The Dolphins didn’t have a sack. But Randy Starks, Cameron Wake and others were around Carson Palmer more times than he would care to remember. GRADE: B+
Forgetting that screen pass TD by Oakland — on which Koa Misi got pancaked and Karlos Dansby trailed helplessly throughout — the linebacker corps held up its end. Dansby led the team in tackles. Burnett did good work against Oakland’s running backs to the point where Darren McFadden had only two catches for 19 yards. GRADE: B
There were serious problems at time with this unit because several times Oakland receivers ran free in the secondary with little problem. Chris Clemons also took a bad angle on the screen pass touchdown. But Sean Smith continued to battle Denarius Moore and got the better of him late in the game after losing for much of the early portions of the game. Nolan Carroll replaced an injured Richard Marshall and played well. And Reshad Jones, who the team is hoping can deliver game-changing plays, delivered a drive killing interception for Miami. GRADE: B
After the game, as he was herding his five children to the car, special teams coach Darren Rizzi joked that his unit has been working on that pooch punt by Dan Carpenter for three years. He picked a good time for it. Brandon Fields got the better of Shane Lechler in a match of perhaps the NFL’s two best punters. Marcus Thigpen didn’t take one to the house, but did average a whopping 14.8 yards on punt returns. GRADE: A
The problems of a week ago were addressed. There were no batted passes. The tight end didn’t kill Miami. And, best of all, multiple players, including Hartline, Tannehill, and Martin, showed improvement. That’s good work. GRADE: A
The Dolphins won their first home opener in six seasons. That gives hope. That speaks to being pointed in the right direction. Nothing about that is bad. GRADE: A