Some quick-hit observations on Thursday night’s almost unimaginably dispiriting 40-0 Dolphins loss in Baltimore:
▪ The Miami Dolphins need a new nickname. How’s this: The Not-Yet Ready For Prime-Time Players. This was Miami’s first of three straight prime-time games -- a franchise first -- but in this embarrassing, inept shutout loss loss to the Ravens the Dolphins demonstrated they are not ready for the national stage, or any claim to being playoff caliber. This was the Dolphins’ chance to prove they were legit. Epic fail on that one.
▪ Matt Moore, likewise, showed why he is a career backup quarterback. If this was his audition to remain the starter even after Jay Cutler’s cracked ribs have healed, Moore could not have done less to earn that confidence. It was a performance that made a Dolfan miss Cutler, and recall Ryan Tannehill with a rose-colored tint.
▪ Yes, it was. Linebacker Kiko Alonso’s brutal hit on a sliding Ravens QB Joe Flacco deserved the 15yard roughing penalty, mighbt have merited a flagrant designation and an ejection, and very possibly will see Alonso suspended when the NFL reviews the play. Not saying it was intentionally dirty, but it knocked Flacco’s helmet off, and knocked him from the game under concussdion protocol. It happened at 13-0. If it might have lit a fire under the Dolphins, well, there was another of the night’s failures.
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▪ Jay Ajayi, after an opening 21-yard run, gained two yards on his nexct 12 carries -- against a Ravens run defense ranked among the worst in the league. Jarvis Landry produced 13 yards on three short catches, trageted 10 times but failing to get open. Miami’s two most productive offensive weapons might as well have skipped the flight north.
▪ It was a game when Miami’s non-existent offense desperately needed a spark elsewhere. Instead, Fins had zero defensive takeaways. And the special teams did nada on returns.
▪ Miami’s defense was poor as well Thursday, allowing almost 200 yards rushing and more than a 100 combined Ravens passer rating.
▪ Dolphins had rallied from 17 points down to win in Atlanta and overcame a 14-point Jets lead last week. Bad offenses can’t keep getting away with that and this offense right now is miles beyond bad.
▪ The Dolphins are still 4-3. This is the good-news portion of our observations although, after this game, and with a tough schedule head, Miami and the playoffs don’t seem as if they’ll be hooking up this winter.