Three Observations: Dolphins 27, Falcons 23

Posted Sep 22, 2013

John Congemi gives his three observations from the Dolphins' 27-23 win over the Falcons.

On Sunday afternoon, the Miami Dolphins continued to prove to the world they are an improved football team, downing the Atlanta Falcons to move to 3-0 on the year.

Even despite being without key contributors on defense, Miami found a way to pull out a big win in their home opener. Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins offense were once again impressive, providing Miami with points and big plays when they were needed most.

Here are my three observation's from today's 27-23 victory:

1) Offense Finishes Again: It's starting to become a trend for the Miami Dolphins offensively to come up with a big drive when it's needed the most. The majority of the football game, it seemed like the Falcons were in control of the tempo and were ultimately going to decide the outcome of the game, but Ryan Tannehill and this Miami Dolphins offense found a way to drive the length of the field and not only settle for a game-tying field goal before the half, but finish the game on a play-action pass, one-handed grab by rookie Dion Sims. Joe Philbin's theme of scoring points at the end of the half (50-yard field goal) and finding ways to finish games in the fourth quarter seems to have been entrenched on both sides of the football, resulting in the Dolphins 3-0 start.

2) Not a Perfect 10: Average football teams normally find a way to lose the way the Miami Dolphins played on Sunday. But after three games, the Dolphins are quickly moving out of the average category and into the good category. One of the traits of a good football team is to find away to win when not necessarily playing their best football. This defense only allowed field goals, and not touchdowns, against a good Atlanta team and that was a huge difference in the outcome of the football game. The game could have turned when Osi Umenyiora stripped the football from Ryan Tannehill and Atlanta turned the early 3rd quarter turnover into points, but the Dolphins didn't allow that to happen. They came up with game-changing plays like the Don Jones hit on special teams recovered by John Denney. Plays like that, along with the Dion Sims touchdown, are the handful of plays coaches always talk about whether you win or lose the football game. And right now the Dolphins are making more plays than their opposition.

3) Collective Effort on Defense: The Dolphins started this football game not having one of their main run stoppers in Paul Soliai. As the game progressed, not only did they miss the presence of big Paul in the middle, but they lost arguably their best football player on the team in Cameron Wake and linebacker Koa Misi, both to injury. Starting cornerback Dimitri Patterson didn't play as well. Yet guys like Dion Sims, Derrick Shelby, Jason Trusnik and Jimmy Wilson found ways to step up when the team needed them the most. Atlanta ran for 146 yards, which was surprising, because they came into the game with a total of 62 yards combined in their first two football games. That stat put more pressure on this defense and allowed Matt Ryan to create some semblance of balance, but the guys that filled in for the starters ultimately found away to slam the door shut and come up with a big interception to end the game.

Game Pass: Miami Dolphins