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Miami Dolphins week three recap and look ahead

Image Credit: Miami Dolphins

“Miami has the Dolphins, the greatest football team…” A win, no matter who the opponent, feels good. A Dolphins week three win against a Jaguars team that beat the Colts, and hung toe to toe with a playoff-caliber Titans… That feels good. Some may argue that it’s too early to crown Jacksonville as a “good team”, and that’s fair. Regardless, there’s a lot of good to take away from this game.

Fitzmagical offense

Let’s start by pointing out that the Dolphins’ offensive line is still not great. It’s getting better week by week, but they continue to struggle. Fitzmagic don’t care. The offense once again flowed through the bearded wizard. To quote Tight End Mike Gesicki, “Fitz is out of his mind. He’s (37) and playing like he’s 23”.

Gesicki himself had a quiet game, his fantasy prospects salvaged by an eight-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Somehow, with less than 300 yards of total offense, Miami managed to look dominant on offense. This is in part due to the red hot start the Fins got off to, scoring two of their first touchdowns on seemingly inevitable drives in the first quarter. Once again, Myles Gaskin led the team in rushing, though Miami never truly got the run game going.

Image Credit: Miami Dolphins

All in all, the Dolphins offense was very promising. Granted, this is not a playoff team and doesn’t appear to be developing into one. There’s still essentially no run game on the team, and the offensive line has a long way to go. But the developmental steps that most fans hoped to see are beginning to show. It’s hard not to be excited to see how this product continues to develop, and not to dream of what it’ll look like whenever Tua Tagovailoa takes the field.

Look at last weeks prediction and see how it matches up here

Defensive progress

The glow up was not limited to the offense, as the defense shown throughout this game. Gardner Minshew, who had been aggressively efficient with the ball through two games, struggled. He posted his lowest yards per attempt of the season (6.55), was sacked four times, threw an interception, and managed no touchdowns for only the third time in his career.

The rushing attack was held to only 72 yards for the entire team, an inspirational mark considering the struggles with stopping the run earlier this year. Xavien Howard also managed to get back into the interception club with a late game snag that essentially iced the game.

Image Credit: Miami Dolphins

Room to grow

As strong as the performance looks on paper, the film shows a lot of areas needing improvement for the defense. The linebackers seem to be getting more settled, Kyle Van Noy especially, but continue to struggle in coverage. Noah Igbinoghene looked much better on Thursday night, but he also wasn’t being asked to cover Stefon Diggs. Overall, the entire secondary seemed to take a step forward, but tackling seems to be an area of major concern. Several third downs were shorter than they needed to be, or eventually converted, because of blown tackles. Much as with the offense, this was the game in which the promised progress began to emerge. It’s much easier to see the overall “plan” for the team as they begin to gel and learn one another.

On to next week

On the heels of a glorious Dolphins week three win, comes hardship. Russell Wilson is playing out of his mind.

You don’t understand, Russell Wilson is playing out of his mind.

With 14 touchdowns in three weeks, Wilson is the new record holder for TD passes over a three game span. Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf seem like an unstoppable duo, with both players needing a double team that just can’t be assembled with an 11 man defense. The Seahawks defense, while far from their legion of boom days, remains dangerous.

Image Credit: Seattle Seahawks

Keys to victory

If Miami has any hope at all, Byron Jones is beyond mandatory. The Jones/Howard tandem is the only one on this team that has even a chance of managing to one on one Lockett and Metcalf (As of Thursday, Jones finally showed up for a limited practice session). Furthermore, the safeties must step up. The safety unit is possibly the weakest on the defense, and the man coverage focus that Brian Flores is trying to bring to the Dolphins relies on a reliable safety umbrella over the top.

Offensively, Miami cannot continue to rely on Ryan Fitzpatrick to carry the game on his back. The running game needs to get going, allowing the passing lanes to open up a little. DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki have the talent to make occasional plays, but the rest of the receiving unit can and will be stifled by the Seahawks secondary. And of course, the offensive line continues to be Miami’s bugaboo. Everything on the offense runs through them, and without FItzpatrick’s antics, everything would be equally stifled.

All in all, the outlook on Sunday is far from good, and Miami is a longshot. But what so many love about this league and this sport, is that on any given Sunday, any team has a chance.

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