The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

OH NO, NOT AGAIN!

For the second time in a row, the Dolphins have followed an impressive win against the Patriots with a disheartening loss against the Bills.  Last December’s loss to the Bills cost the Fins an opportunity to earn a playoff berth.  On Sunday, the loss cost the Fins first place in the AFC East.  With the national media and Dolfans both wondering if these Fins were for real following their big season-opening win over the perennial division champion New England Patriots, the answer which came in Sunday’s loss to the Bills is in the negative.  The 29-10 loss to the Bills has Dolfans saying “Oh no, not again!”

Sunday’s loss to the Bills was as sound of a beating as the 19-0 loss last December.  The Bills won every phase of the game.  Offense, defense, special teams, turnovers, sacks—you name it, the Bills won it.

The Bills outrushed Miami 113-80.  They won the turnover battle 2-0.  They sacked Tannehill 4 times while flawlessly protecting E.J. Manuel all day.  And when the Bills weren’t sacking Tannehill, they were regularly harassing him.  The Fins did not manage a single play of at least 20 yards all day.  On special teams the Bills returned a kickoff for a TD, blocked a punt and recovered a fumbled punt.  Usually reliable Brandon Fields had a gross punting average of a mere 39.8 yards.  The Fins’ special teams were anything but special.

The offensive line that protected Tannehill so well and repeatedly opened up the running lanes last week, did neither against the Bills.   It did not help that Knowshon Moreno was knocked out of the game on his first carry, but after watching this game one had to conclude that his presence would not have changed the result.  The Fins were soundly beaten in every aspect of the game.

Ryan Tannehill was quite mediocre against the Bills, as he was even in last week’s victory over the Patriots.  Against the Bills he was 31 of 49 (62.6%) for 241 gross yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.  Although his completion percentage was seemingly good, his 4.9 average per attempt and his 7.8 average per completion tell more of the story and both no doubt contributed to his weak 73.6 QB rating.   Two games into this season and Tannehill has yet to earn a QB rating of at least 80 (last week’s rating was 79.9).  He seems to have picked up where he left off last season which he concluded with 2 very unimpressive performances against the Bills and the Jets in which his QB ratings were 45.6 and 42.1, respectively. 

This being Tannehill’s third season as the Fins’ starting QB, he no longer gets a free pass for his unimpressive level of play.  Although Dolfans have been wondering if he will prove to be the team’s QB of the future, the evidence more and more says otherwise.  His accuracy and decision-making both seem rather suspect.  He holds onto the ball too long and he misses open receivers, such as he did in the third quarter when he badly missed a wide-open Brandon Gibson inside the 10-yard line on a third down play in which Gibson would have had a clear path to the end zone (at a time when the game was still on the line).  And later he (oh no, not again) missed Mike Wallace on a deep ball.  He also continues to have his passes batted down at the line of scrimmage with alarming frequency.

So rather than prove that the 2014 Fins are truly a better team than the 2013 version, these Fins showed they simply cannot be trusted following a big win last week.  That was the sad story last season and once again all of the Fins’ faithful can only say, “Oh no, not again!”

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