Three Observations From Loss To Patriots

Posted Oct 27, 2013

Finsiders analyst John Congemi gives his thoughts on Miami's loss to New England on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday was another tale of a disappointing loss for the Miami Dolphins after a second half collapse ended up dooming the Dolphins on the road against the first place New England Patriots.

While the Dolphins played seemingly perfect in the first half, there were a number of miscues in the second half, ranging from pass protection to losing the turnover battle.

Here are my three takeaways from today’s loss:

1) Need To Finish: The first half couldn’t have been scripted any better for the Miami Dolphins both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. The Dolphins offense used a quick passing game and an efficient running attack to set the tempo and gain control of the first thirty minutes. On defense, they were able to shut down the New England running game and frustrate and turnover Tom Brady. It was the first time in Brady’s career that his first pass attempt of a game was intercepted. The New England offense didn’t generate a play that was longer than eight yards through the six minute mark of the second quarter. New England only had 59 yards of total offense in the first half and Brady had the fewest yards passing (25) since 2003. But in the second half, things changed when Ryan Tannehill took a sack for nine yards on a third-and-two play from the 19-yard line. That led to a missed field goal from 46 yards by Caleb Sturgis and it resulted in a 64-yard drive and a touchdown for the New England offense. That sequence of plays seemed to turn the momentum and the game around for New England.

2) Officiating Definitely Played A Role: Sometimes teams have to overcome questionable calls during the course of a game, but some of the calls that were made today have many people scratching their heads. The first big call that was against Miami was on Jimmy Wilson in the first half, when he was flagged for pass interference while covering Rob Gronkowski over the middle. That, in my opinion, was a terrible call and it resulted in a net gain of 21 yards for the Patriots and led to a 34-yard field goal to make the score 14-3. The second call that was really questionable was in the third quarter. It was third and four from the Dolphins’ 35-yardline and Dimitri Patterson was called for holding at least 30 yards away from the pass that ended up being incomplete. That kept the drive alive and resulted in a 48-yard field goal for the Patriots and gave New England 17 unanswered points to take the lead 20-17 before the start of the fourth quarter. The third and probably the call that hurt the worst happened on a second and seven play from the Dolphins 24 yard line, after Jimmy Wilson forced the fumble on Tom Brady and Olivier Vernon was called for illegal touching and batting the football when he appeared to be in the process of attempting to recover the fumble. That ended up a net difference of 34 yards and gave the football to New England at the Miami 13-yard line and it ended up in a Stevan Ridley three-yard touchdown run and made the score the final, 27-17.

3) Protection Of Tannehill: The Dolphins did a good job of pass protection and getting rid of the football in the first half, but in the second half, the Miami offense didn’t handle the defensive pressure and the blitzing schemes of the New England defense. Three turnovers and six sacks is not a remedy for success and the Miami offense must find a way to start being on the positive side of the turnover ratio because that stat, along with cleaning up the sack issue, might just lead to their next victory.
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