The losing streak has reached four games as the Dolphins will head over the pond next week looking to right the ship against another in-state foe in the Jacksonville Jaguars. First, we look back at the Battle of Florida Part 1 with the defending champion Buccaneers.
As always, for further analysis, download the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield.
1. Out of Sync
All season long in 2020, the Dolphins could count on a stingy defense that turned up the heat on opposing quarterbacks, played sticky coverage in the back end and pried the ball from every single opponent, usually multiple times per game. Through five games of 2021, many of those identifying traits have not carried over. The Buccaneers offense threw the ball at will as Tom Brady topped 400 passing yards and five touchdowns.
"We're out of sync in a lot of ways," Brian Flores said. "Run defense, pass defense, [and] pass rush. We're a little bit of a step behind, I would say. We've got to make a lot of corrections. [There's] a lot of things we need to address, and we'll do that. We've been doing that. We've addressed some things, but we're not seeing the production on Sundays. Really, that's all that matters. But I would say we are a little bit out of sync."
2. Offensive Line Shuffled to Success
Austin Jackson played guard for the first time in his professional or collegiate career Sunday, which opened the door for Liam Eichenberg to return to the same position he locked down for three years at Notre Dame (left tackle). The result: Pro Football Focus' best pass protection grade of the season (72.0) for Miami in 2021. The Dolphins front was charged with just 13 pressures on 47 pass-blocking snaps, a season-best in terms of efficiency.
3. Taking Strides on Offense
Despite being without DeVante Parker and Will Fuller, the Dolphins offense had arguably its most productive game of the season. The key: ball distribution. Myles Gaskin caught a pair of touchdowns and matched a franchise record for catches by a running back with 10. Preston Williams saw an uptick in playing time and responded with 60 yards; that matched a personal best since Week 5 of last season. Jacoby Brissett threw for 275 yards and a pair of touchdowns to draw within one score late in the third quarter.
Tua Tagovailoa is eligible to return from the injured reserve this week. With both quarterbacks dealing with injuries, no matter who lines up under center, Miami will need to build upon the success they had in this game, particularly early on.