Just like that the Dolphins are 3-2. With two losses in seven days, a team that began the season with such a promising start, has quickly regressed since. And the reason why the Dolphins lost today was as predictable as it comes.
Miami’s offensive line is bad. Perhaps the worst offensive line in the league. Worse yet, perhaps the worst unit in franchise history. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill had a solid day versus the Ravens, but he was sacked six times, including once on the final drive of the game that made a manageable field-goal attempt much more difficult for rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis.
Tannehill is now on pace to be brought down 77 times on the season, which would shatter the team-record of 53 sacks conceded. He certainly missed some targets and under threw a couple deep-ball attempts to wide receiver Mike Wallace, but Tannehill made some big plays as well, and if wasn’t for relentless pressure from the Ravens’ front seven, he should have been able to lead the Dolphins to victory.
Defensively, Miami just wasn’t able to withstand all of the injuries. Kevin Coyle’s defense was able to pressure Flacco and forced two key turnovers, including an interception-return touchdown by Reshad Jones that was aided by pressure from rookie defensive end Dion Jordan.
But the group wore down in the second half without Cameron Wake, Dannell Ellerbe, Dimitri Patterson and for stretches, Nolan Carroll. Good coverage in the secondary was also negated by some pristine accuracy from Joe Flacco and a couple questionable pass-interference calls that swung momentum in Baltimore’s favor.
This is obviously a tough loss to swallow for the Dolphins and their faithful. It was a huge missed opportunity to say the least. But all is not lost for this football team.
The Dolphins enter their bye week with a great chance to return to full strength for the onset of division play. The division-leading Patriots dropped their first game of the season in Cincinnati on Sunday and will play an extremely tough Saints team in Week 6.
There is a decent chance that both the Dolphins and Patriots will enter their Week 8 showdown in Foxboro with two losses, assuming, of course, that Miami will be able to take care of business at home versus the banged up Bills in Week 7.
Not to downplay what a big blow losing to the Ravens was today for Miami, but the loss doesn’t set them back too far in their pursuit of the division crown. But corrections desperately need to be made. And it all starts with the offensive line.
Find a way to give Tannehill more time and running backs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas more room to operate, and the Dolphins can still make this season one to remember. But if they are unable to do either of those things, we are undoubtedly witnessing the beginning of Miami’s demise.