Monday, October 21, 2013
Dolphins film review: Four big plays
By James Walker
The Miami Dolphins lost their third straight game with Sunday’s 23-21 defeat to the Buffalo Bills. By my count, there were four crucial plays that changed the complexion of the game.
After seeing it live and watching the game tape, here is a review of what went wrong on those four big plays for Miami:
Play No. 1: First quarter at 13:35 mark
Down and distance: Third-and-6
Formation: Empty backfield with three WRs, TE and RB
What went wrong: On the opening drive, the Dolphins tried to speed up the tempo and spread Buffalo out on third down. Buffalo wisely matched up man-to-man and kept two safeties deep on the play, which allowed the defenders to be aggressive. Tannehill made a predetermined read to receiver Brandon Gibson and Buffalo defensive back Nickell Robey jumped the route. The ball was thrown right to Robey for the easy pick-six. Bills defensive end Mario Williams also ran through Miami left tackle Jonathan Martin to get good pressure on Tannehill to force the quick throw.
Play No. 2: 8:47 mark of the first quarter
Down and distance: Fourth-and-6
What went wrong: The Dolphins are pinned in their own end zone. However, Brandon Fields makes a terrific angled punt to bail the Dolphins out. Gunner Don Jones hustles hard down the field but runs out of bounds. Jones doesn’t realize he cannot be the first player to touch the ball after running back in bounds and gets flagged for downing the ball at the 15-yard line. In fact, the ball was still rolling and probably would have went inside the 10 if Jones wasn’t so eager. It was a huge mental error that forced a re-kick. The Bills returned it to Miami’s 45-yard line. The Bills take advantage of the extra 40 yards of field position and score on the drive to take a 14-0 lead.
Play No. 3: 2:37 mark of the second quarter
Down and distance: Third-and-5
Formation: Shotgun with bunch formation on the right
What went wrong: The Dolphins made a solid play-call and had two receivers on the right -- Mike Wallace and Rishard Matthews -- running to the sticks. Matthews was the open receiver and the proper read, but Tannehill doesn’t see it. He wrongly progresses across the field to receiver Brian Hartline and throws a bad, softball toss that is picked off by cornerback Aaron Williams underneath. Tannehill panicked and didn’t see the extra corner. Tannehill should have thrown to the right or thrown it away to take the field goal.
Play No. 4: 2:57 mark of the fourth quarter
Down and distance: Second-and-8
Formation: Two TEs to the left, one RB
What went wrong: The Dolphins were trying to kill the clock and get a key first down at midfield. Instead of running it, Miami calls a pass and it appears Hartline is the first read. While Tannehill is looking to his left, Bills defensive end Mario Williams makes an inside power move on Miami’s Tyson Clabo to quickly gets to Tannehill. Williams strips the ball and Buffalo defensive tackle Kyle Williams recovers. That sets up Buffalo’s winning field goal by former Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter.
These were the four plays the Dolphins certainly wish they had back. Poor execution and poor coaching led to huge mistakes that resulted in another loss for Miami.