The Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets on Sunday, 20-12 so let’s check in on the coaches film to see how it was possible.
We begin with the beginning. On the first play of the game the Jets’ defense, in its 2018 home opener, is fired up.
So Adam Gase does a great job of calling for a little misdirection run by Ryan Tannehill right off the bat. That’s a great way to take advantage of an overzealous defense.
By the way, watch Laremy Tunsil get off the ball. Like, what was he waiting for?
On Monday, Gase spoke highly of the job Ted Larsen did in replacing Josh Sitton, who is out for the year. Larsen is your new starting left guard.
And a left guard has to have his head on a swivel because he has to sometimes help the left tackle and sometimes help the center.
On this play, Larsen doesn’t really do either.
And center Daniel Kilgore can’t block his man forever. And Tannehill holds on to the football a bit too long before deciding to bail out of the pocket.
But too late.
You remember all the talk of playing T.J. McDonald as a hybrid linebacker? Turns out he’s mostly served as a deep safety the first two games.
But on his interception, he went into the tackle box and lined up as something of a hybrid linebacker and that obviously confused New York rookie quarterback Sam Darnold because the results were excellent for Miami.
And now some kudos for the offensive line.
Look, most teams have a quarterback who can deliver a pass to a receiver if he gets enough time. Most teams have receivers that can get open if they are given enough time.
Most teams do not have offensive lines that deliver clean pockets to their quarterback time and again.
On Sunday the Dolphins offensive line did a great -- great, not good, great -- job giving Tannehill time to deliver his 19-yard touchdown to tight end A.J. Derby.
On Tannehill’s 29-yard touchdown to Albert Wilson, the Dolphins went maximum protection with both the running back and tight end staying in to block.
The result was the same. Tannehill gets a clean pocket. And TD.
By the way, Albert Wilson was the receiver on the 29-yard touchdown. Two things:
Watch Jets linebacker Avery Williamson. If he had better reflexes, that’s an interception.
Meanwhile, speed kills. Watch ...
The Dolphins have middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan as part of the nickel package and in that package he sometimes has to cover a running back or tight end.
On Sunday he had to cover Bilal Powell on the play below and it didn’t go well for him. The truth is McMillan has not impressed in coverage and while it obviously has not hurt the Dolphins to the extent of costing them a game, it has cost them points.
And there’s a reason why this needs to be addressed (as in fixed).
There are a lot of differences between Ryan Tannehill and Jay Cutler. Just compare how the two stood at the wide receiver position during a wild cat play -- Cutler last year acting as if he didn’t care, Tannehill lined up on Sunday like he might actually go out for a pass.
Anyway, the biggest difference is Cutler was immobile. And Tannehill? He can run. He adds a dimension to the Miami offense it didn’t have last year.
And on Sunday, that delivered the play that sealed the victory.