AC in the AM: Trying To Dissect A Frustrating Day

Posted Sep 25, 2017

How do you make sense of this? How do you frame what happened Sunday against the Jets? Nobody could have anticipated this. The Dolphins, plain and simple, had one of those games you just want to forget. We saw how well they could play in the second half against the Chargers. Now we have seen the opposite, a very sobering overall showing in a 20-6 defeat.

It tells you plenty that maybe the most memorable moment came pregame, as Dolphins players and coaches locked arms in solidarity during the national anthem, owner Steve Ross right in the middle with Reshad Jones on one side and Mike Pouncey on the other. That was certainly a poignant scene.

Unfortunately for the Dolphins, it went downhill from there.

The Dolphins did score on the final play of the game, a 3-yard pass from Jay Cutler to DeVante Parker. The extra point was missed. It was that type of day.

If it were one area, one phase, one or two players, that were the culprits it would have been easier to explain, certainly easier to dissect. But this simply was a disappointing performance by the entire team. Swallow it and move on. That’s got to be the emphasis now.

“They beat the (bleep) out of us,” said coach Adam Gase. “We didn’t have anything going.”

What could Gase have possibly said to the team afterward?

“Nothing to say, just look at the scoreboard,” came the response.

The Dolphins didn’t convert their first third down until early in the fourth quarter. And that was the only one, out of 12 third downs, that they did convert.

“Might be a start for us to get a first down,” Gase said.

The Dolphins tried everything to get going, even a fake punt throw from deep in their own territory. It was intercepted. Again, that type of day.

While I can’t tell you exactly why the Dolphins played so poorly, I don’t believe it had anything to do with a hurricane hangover. The team was back in South Florida all of last week. The players had a chance to re-adjust. They had a normal week of practice. The locker room was upbeat all week. They thoroughly understood they had an opportunity to go 2-0 for the first time since 2013.

But for some reason everything that seemed to go right a week earlier against the Chargers just didn’t materialize against the Jets.

Jay Ajayi had nowhere to run, finishing with 16 yards on 11 carries and never really finding a crease large enough to run through, often getting pounded before he reached the line of scrimmage, a clear indication that the offensive line was struggling as well.

• Cutler was out-of-synch, often throwing off his back foot, more than a few times missing wide-open receivers. He didn’t have the time to survey the field that he did a Sunday ago – the Jets sacked him three times – but even when he did have time, the accuracy and the production just wasn’t there. Like the rest of the team, Cutler needs to move past this one in a hurry.

• The playmakers at receiver, perhaps the strength of this team, never got going until the fourth quarter and by that time the Dolphins were down 20-0. The longest pass completion netted just 26 yards, that to Parker. Jarvis Landry had 13 catches in week one. He had six on Sunday.

• While the defense had its moments – a first quarter sack by Cam Wake, a forced fourth quarter fumble by Byron Maxwell – it simply didn’t do enough to keep the Jets off the field, their time of possession advantage through three quarters a clear indication of its struggles. The big breakdown, though, was on a 69-yard touchdown pass from Josh McCown to Robby Anderson.

• Even the special teams, maybe the difference against the Chargers, could not come close to duplicating that performance, Cody Parkey missing that extra point and punter Matt Haack throwing that interception.

“Unacceptable,” said Wake, summing up the team’s performance.

Swallow it and move on. That’s got to be the mindset this week as the Dolphins prepare for the Saints in the London.

“This should be a wake-up call,” said Cutler.

We can only hope that it is.

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by our columnists and bloggers represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

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