In My Opinion

Grading the Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills

 

asalguero@MiamiHerald.com

•  Quarterback: It started poorly for Ryan Tannehill and ended poorly. The pick-six interception on the third play of the game was a tone-setter. It was both a poor decision and a poor throw. Tannehill second interception was one of those that makes one ask, “What was he thinking?” because he simply floated a pass up without seeing the offside safety. And then, of course, Tannehill fumbled and that led to Buffalo’s winning points. The fumble is hard to blame on Tannehill as he must trust his linemen will block for him. GRADE: D.

•  Receivers/tight ends: Brandon Gibson had a great day with two touchdowns, including a vault over multiple defenders on his second. Mike Wallace got well behind the Buffalo secondary on one nine-route but was limited for a 46-yard completion because Tannehill was hit as he threw and the ball was underthrown as a result. Brian Hartline was open all day long but somehow only had six receptions on 11 targets. Charles Clay caught a TD pass in the red zone — as most good tight ends do. GRADE: B.

•  Offensive line: The offensive line expected to open holes in the running game and did exactly that, winning a majority of the battles up front. Despite this and the ability to protect Tannehill for 56 minutes of the game, the unit (specifically right tackle Tyson Clabo) yielded two sacks that cost Miami the game. GRADE: D.

•  Defensive line: Cameron Wake is 100 percent healthy, according to coach Joe Philbin, but was limited in his snaps because the club didn’t want to take him to take on a heavy load. He had only one tackle. Randy Starks was good and had a sack until he went out with an apparent injury in the second half, and Olivier Vernon collected the only sack by a defensive end. Jared Odrick had a nice hit on Thad Lewis and was solid in run stopping. Amazingly, Derrick Shelby continues to get more playing time than first-round pick Dion Jordan. GRADE: C-plus.

•  Linebackers: The team missed Dannell Ellerbe’s presence in the middle. Jason Trusnik was solid, but he’s not nearly the playmaker Ellerbe is, and his tackle production was about half of what Ellerbe usually delivers. Koa Misi had a nice quarterback hurry, and Philip Wheeler had a key stop that forced a field goal. But otherwise the play was unspectacular. The best hit by anyone in this group — by Jelani Jenkins on Lewis — resulted in a penalty. GRADE: C.

•  Secondary: Reshad Jones did a lot of good work — leading the team in tackles and picking up a sack on a blitz. Dimitri Patterson also had a sack on a corner blitz, although he was limited in his participation as he played for the first time since Week 1. Jimmy Wilson struggled with Stevie Johnson, but no one Buffalo receiver truly hurt the Dolphins. GRADE: D.

•  Special teams: Caleb Sturgis missed a 51-yard attempt, which is his second consecutive miss. Brandon Fields won the punting battle with Brian Moorman, and Marcus Thigpen almost won the game with a 44-yard kickoff return in the final seconds. Thigpen couldn’t break a tackle by Dan Carpenter, and that was the difference between a good return and a game-winning return. GRADE: B-minus.

•  Coaching: Two weeks to prepare and this is what this coaching staff delivered? Really? A pick-six on the third play? Was that on the script? GRADE: F.

•  Overall: The Dolphins lost a game they should have won. GRADE: F.

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