Here were some of the comments that stood out after the 30-20 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , along with some perspective:
— This is running back Damien Williams talking about his 69-yard run in the first quarter. Williams always has been known for his toughness and versatility during his time with the Dolphins, but on this play he also showed the ability to produce a big play. Everybody already knew that Kenyan Drake can break a long run at any time, this was Williams showing the Dolphins have two backs like that.
"It's frustrating. I feel like we're just beating a dead horse over and over and over with the penalties. It's starting to jump on our back." — Damien Williams
— The Dolphins' large number of penalties clearly was the biggest story of the game. It wasn't just that the Dolphins lost 123 yards on their 17 penalties, one shy of the franchise record, the lost yardage also was dramatic. There was a 48-yard pass to Jarvis Landry that was negated by a holding call on Jermon Bushrod. There also was an offensive pass interference penalty on Anthony Fasano that nullified his own touchdown catch in the third quarter on a drive that ended with a field goal. The Dolphins had a tied a season with 11 penalties two weeks ago against Oakland; the game against Tampa Bay continued a disturbing pattern.
- Safety T.J. McDonald
The Dolphins have lost their last four games and the schedule doesn't get any easier, with New England coming up two of their next three weeks sandwiched around a game against the Denver Broncos. The Dolphins remain confident in their ability to turn things around, but also understand they've got to clean up the mistakes that have hurt them in recent weeks.
"It was a punch in the gut for that last drive to come out and for them (to score) … They get paid too. They made some good plays, found some holes in the defense."
- Safety T.J. McDonald
The Dolphins defense really had a strong second-half performance against Tampa Bay, but they just couldn't finish it off. Before Tampa Bay marched 58 yards for the game-winning field goal, the Dolphins had held the Bucs to only 28 yards on four possessions after halftime. Included in that effort was a sack by Jordan Phillips that FOX rules analyst Mike Pereira said should have been ruled a safety. The Dolphins allowed completions of 17, 14 and 24 yards on that final drive, including a nice throw by Ryan Fitzpatrick down the middle to Chris Godwin for that 24-yard gain. While it would have been nice for the Dolphins defense to be dominant the entire second half, the Dolphins paid the price for falling behind.
- Kenny Stills
As he did against the Jets on Oct. 22, quarterback Matt Moore ignited the offense after coming in to replace starter Jay Cutler. Moore completed 17 of 28 passes for 282 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions for a passer rating of 106.5. He also produced the three longest pass plays of the season for the Dolphins, topped by his 61-yard TD to Stills. Moore brings a different energy to the offense when he comes into the game in relief, and it was the case again against the Bucs. The only thing missing from the offense in the second half was cashing in on the two red-zone opportunities instead of settling for field goals.