Three Observations From Loss To Tampa Bay

Posted Nov 11, 2013

Finsiders analyst John Congemi provides his insight into Monday night's game against Tampa Bay.

After digging out a hard fought victory against the Cincinnati Bengals in primetime last Thursday, the Dolphins were on the other side of the stick tonight, coming up short against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Miami got out to another slow start, but the offense was sparked by Ryan Tannehill and Rishard Matthews' connection, who did everything they could to put Miami in position to make plays and come away with a victory. However, in the end, the early shortcomings and miscues were simply too much for the Dolphins to overcome.

Here are my three observations from the 22-19 loss to Tampa Bay:

1) Two-Way Street: It seemed like all night the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were one step ahead of the Miami Dolphins on both sides of the line of scrimmage. The inability of the Dolphins to run the football led to undue pressure on the passing game and quarterback Ryan Tannehill. On the other side, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to run at will and it didn’t matter who the running backs were. They began with Mike James, they then went to Brian Leonard and they finished with Bobby Rainey to conclude with a total of 140 yards on the ground compared to Miami's two. You can’t win if you don’t win the battle of the line of scrimmage, and tonight it was won by Tampa Bay.

2) Missed Opportunities: Twice the Miami Dolphins offense had golden opportunities to score touchdowns and twice they settled for field goals. And those situations ended up being wins for the Buccaneers defense. Miami went three-and-out early in the 3rd quarter starting at the Tampa Bay 29, settling for a Caleb Sturgis 40-yard field goal that kept the Dolphins five points behind at 15-10. Then, later at the end of the quarter, Miami was set up with first and goal at the seven and netted negative five yards and only took a four point lead at 19-15, when they could have potentially made it a two-score game.

3) The Emergence of Rishard Matthews: Someone needed to pick up the slack that was let when the injury occurred to Brandon Gibson and for at least one game, that person was second-year wide receiver Rishard Matthews. His toughness and ability to find windows in the passing game allowed Tannehill to keep the Dolphins in the football and gave them a chance for the big play potential. Matthews had 11 receptions for 120 yards and two touchdowns, marking the first time since week six of 2008 that a Dolphins receiver has had over 100 yards and two touchdowns when Patrick Cobbs did it against the Houston Texans. Hopefully, Matthews will continue to be able to continue to be an option because players like Brian Hartline and Charles Clay can’t do it all by themselves.

Game Pass: Miami Dolphins