Barry Jackson

Dolphins coach Adam Gase has one regret about a decision Sunday, but it’s not what you think

“We did what was best for that situation,” says Adam Gase

Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase comments about 4th quarter play calls on third downs during the Colts game on Sunday, November 25, 2018.
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Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase comments about 4th quarter play calls on third downs during the Colts game on Sunday, November 25, 2018.

The criticism came quickly, and it was unrelenting — unlike anything Adam Gase has seen during his three years coaching the Dolphins.

“Adam Gase gagged,” WSVN Fox sportscaster Steve Shapiro said to open his Sunday night show.

“The Dolphins lost because of Adam Gase. End of story,” WPLG ABC’s Will Manso said on his Sunday night program. “He called a horrific game.”

So now that Gase had a night to think about it, does he believe he should have placed faith in his franchise quarterback and not run the ball on two third-and-10s in the fourth quarter of a close game in Sunday’s 27-24 loss at Indianapolis?

Gase indicated Monday that he has no regrets about either of those calls.

“We did what we game planned to do,” he said. “We did what was best for that situation.”

Of the six plays that went nowhere on Miami’s final two drives, Gase indicated he regrets his call on one of them – but not the third downs.

Instead, he regrets the short pass to DeVante Parker on second down of Miami’s final drive, which gained no yards.

“I am probably more upset about the second-down call,” he said. “I thought we would catch them in a pressure on that side and they came from the opposite side. If I could have that one back, that probably would have made a difference.”

Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase says Tannehill short passes were part of the game plan during the Colts game on Sunday, November 25, 2018.

On the first sequence, the Dolphins got the ball at their own 25, leading by a touchdown, with 8:26 left. Instead of running the ball on a day they had been averaging 5.2 yards per rush, Gase called for a screen pass on Miami’s first play.

Ryan Tannehill — under pressure — threw an incomplete pass on that play, then had another incompletion and then Gase ran a draw to Kenyan Drake that lost 5 yards. The series took 43 seconds.

Then, with the score tied at 24, and the Dolphins starting at their 10, Frank Gore ran for no gain. A short pass to Parker — the one Gase second-guessed - gained nothing, and Miami then ran another draw to Drake, gaining 4 yards, forcing a punt.

Gase believes that approach was going to work because he expected his offense would get the ball back after a punt, which never happened. Instead, Akeem Spence missed a sack of Andrew Luck, who completed a 23-yard pass to put the Colts in position for their game-winning field goal as time expired.

“It looks like we had Luck sacked and they’re going to have to punt back to us and we’re going to have a minute or something left to win the game,” Gase said Monday. “That was kind of the plan when we punted it. We need one good play on defense. Matt [Haack] was punting the ball well all day. We had a chance and we missed it.”

And this was curious: After Tannehill completed the 74 yard touchdown pass to Leonte Carroo late in the second quarter, all 10 of Tannehill’s passes in the second half were short throws. But Gase said that wasn’t because of any physical limitations with Tannehill, who missed the previous five games with an injury to his throwing shoulder.

“There’s a reason why their defense is playing well right now; they don’t give up big plays,” Gase said when asked why all of Tannehill’s second-half passes were short. “Like the one we got at the end of the half is unusual. You can’t find a whole bunch of explosive plays in the passing game. Their defense is built for you to score through the goal line. That’s kind of why we stay up here and do what we have to do because we actually know what they’re doing.”

Tannehill finished with good numbers: 17 for 25 for 204 yards and a 119.4 passer rating, with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

“I thought he played well, executed what we asked him to do,” Gase said. “And physically, “he had a couple shots that didn’t feel good. He’ll be fine.”

Tannehill now has a 97.2 passer rating on the season, which is 15th in the league, just ahead of Tom Brady’s 96.3 and Ben Roethlisberger’s 95.9.

But the Dolphins’ overall offensive numbers are poor. Miami is 31st in red-zone offense, with nine touchdowns and eight field goals in 22 trips inside the opponent’s 20. The Dolphins are 28th in yards, 20th in yards per play, 20th in rushing yards per game, 27th in passing yards per game, 29th in third down efficiency and 25th in points per game.

And Gase’s team sits at 5-6, a long shot to make the playoffs.

“When you lose, it sucks,” Gase said Monday. “We left too many opportunities on the field. We shot ourselves in the foot too many times. You’re disappointed because you’ve got two games [squandered leads in losses to Cincinnati and Indianapolis] where you’re sitting there going like, 5-6, 7-4. It’s [an expletive] feeling.”

With Buffalo visiting Sunday, “our focus is how do we win one game,” Gase said. “It’s probably good that we’re home. We got a great opportunity, try to get back to .500…. There were a lot of guys that did good stuff [Sunday]. It’s hard to see right now, because everybody looks at the result and all the good things get forgotten about.”

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