One week after posting his highest rating with a 92.3, Tannehill showed he can play better, turning in a 112 rating. His 72.4 completion percent was also the best so far. But it was the efficiency Tannehill showed that was most impressive. He delivered this game at a time the running game was nowhere to support him; he did it without throwing an interception. He simply does not make throws that makes one scratch their head. GRADE: A.
With Daniel Thomas inactive because of a concussion, Reggie Bush got all the work. He ran the ball 12 times and had very little success with that, gaining only 17 hard-fought yards. Bush did make tacklers miss in the open field, particularly on pass receptions, but he simply could not bulldoze over the tacklers St. Louis put on the line to outnumber the Dolphins’ blockers. It is uncertain whether Bush was the only one to carry the ball because of his limited touches or whether it was because coaches were hesitant about giving Lamar Miller any carries. Miller, active for the game, did not touch the ball. GRADE: D.
The Rams basically erased Brian Hartline except for one play where he drew a pass interference penalty. Davone Bess was his usual dependable self in contributing six catches for 42 yards but the epiphany this day came in the person of Marlon Moore, who had three catches for 46 yards, including a 29-yarder over Janoris Jenkins for a TD. Moore helped himself in earning more playing time as Miami’s third receiver. That’s good timing considering Anthony Armstrong and Jabar Gaffney have so far not stepped forward in that regard. GRADE: C.
Richie Incognito said when the other team outnumbers the offensive front on run plays and has a free rusher on passes, there are issues. Some of those are schematic. Some physical. This much is certain: The line struggled with penalties — at one point drawing three on three consecutive plays. And the running game has disappeared, which has a lot to do with what’s happening at the line of scrimmage. So there is work to do here. GRADE: D.
Someone, not sure who, was obviously getting mashed up front because it would be impossible to gain 162 rushing yards otherwise. Randy Starks, the AFC defensive player of the week last week, was nearly invisible this week with only one tackle. The Dolphins did get good pressure from Cameron Wake, who collected a sack, and rookie Olivier Vernon, who had two sacks, including the one that drove back the Rams, making what might have been a makeable field goal try into an improbable record attempt. GRADE: B-minus.
Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby gave up some pass completions but both were draped all about St. Louis running backs on pass plays and both were relatively active against the run. Burnett finished with two passes defensed while Dansby led the team with nine tackles. It was impressive to watch Koa Misi revert to his pass-rush mode when Olivier Vernon was briefly out of the game with a knee injury. GRADE: C-plus.
Sean Smith had another good game while Nolan Carroll got exposed a bit throughout the day. The Rams clearly tried going to Carroll’s side more than Smith’s. Chris Clemons and Reshad Jones were among the team leaders in tackles and that, frankly, is not good. It’s a sign that runners are reaching the second level of the defense and beyond. Clemons was heroic in that he tied for the team lead in tackles with nine and also led the team in yards per carry based on his three-yard gain on a fake punt. GRADE: C-plus.
That successful fake punt cost the Dolphins many man hours in practice and tape study this week and so that it could save the team about 2:30 in game time. It was important time because it meant the Rams had only 1:41 to mount their late rally instead of 4:15. Interestingly, the Dolphins coaches warned their players to be prepared for onside kicks as well, but those never materialized. Dan Carpenter connected on his only kick this week — the first time in four games that’s happened. GRADE: A.
They ran a fake punt. They were going to try onside kicks. They have preached the importance of not turning the ball over so much that, well, the team isn’t turning the ball over. And the clock management at the end of the game was spot on this week after it missed the mark so badly in games against the Jets and Cardinals. GRADE: A-plus.
The Dolphins are 3-3. They’ve won two in a row. And they own a share of first place in the AFC East. What else you need? GRADE: A.