1) Extreme pressure on defense
The Miami defense came out ready to play from the opening whistle against the New England offense, holding quarterback Tom Brady and company to just 13 first half points. It was a compete turnaround from last Sunday when the Ravens scored multiple times in the opening two quarters. It’s a difficult task to keep the pressure on the Patriots offense when you have to defend for 34 snaps in the first half, and you lose the time of possession in the game by more than 12 minutes. It seemed like every time this group made a play, they couldn’t capitalize on their success. A John Jenkins first down sack on Brady for minus seven yards eventually set up a 3rd and 17. But Miami didn’t take advantage and allowed Brady to find wide out Phillip Dorsett for an 18 yard completion. That conversion would eventually lead to points for the Pats offense. Later in the game, a Vince Biegel sack set up a 3rd and 12, but again the Patriots offense converted when Brady found Josh Gordon for 14 yards. That play led to points instead of a fourth down punt. There were some signs of progress on defense, but it’s still not close to playing winning football.
2) Limited execution on offense
If the Dolphins defense showed some signs of progress, I’d have to say the offense regressed in a big way Sunday. There’s absolutely no way to have limited or sustained success as an offense when you turn the ball over or can’t convert on third down. It shifts too much of a burden to your defense and calling plays becomes guarded instead of aggressive. Limited success on first and second down became the norm against New England, and it led to seven three/and-outs as the 4th quarter started. The inconsistency up front on the offensive line, and the drops from the skills positions has kept this offense stagnate. Until those issues get resolved, this offense will have difficultly scoring enough points to have positive results.
3) Rosen gets more playing time
For the second time in two weeks, back-up quarterback Josh Rosen came off the bench to play in the fourth quarter. In both instances, it wasn’t the ideal situation for a quarterback to flourish, but it does get Rosen necessary live snaps that you just can’t stage in a Wednesday or Thursday practice. There were times on Sunday that he displayed his arm strength down the field, and also the inability to get the ball out of his hand with ample time to make a decision. I believe the Dolphins are coming closer to the timeline where they may decide it’s the right time to give the second year quarterback four quarters of football to see what he can deliver as the starter.