There are a lot of things you can be critical of anytime you lose a football game. The key for the Miami Dolphins is how they react next week at home against the Houston Texans, and if they can correct the mistakes made while building on some of the positives. Here are some of the things that I observed from last night against the New England Patriots.
1) HYDRATE! – First of all, I’ve never had to excerpt that much energy in a football game that I ever came close to cramping! Now that I’ve stated that, can someone please tell me why it was the team that should have the advantage in the humidity that was leaving the field due to the heat? Key players like Vontae Davis and Sean Smith lost valuable playing time against arguably the best quarterback in the NFL Tom Brady. Brady took advantage of the players replacing Davis and Smith, and the lack of consistent pressure led to a Patriots franchise and Monday Night Football record for passing yards with 517!
2) Quality Quarterback Play – Both Tom Brady and Chad Henne were in attack mode last night combining for 933 passing yards! Henne (30 of 49 for a personal best 416 yards, two touchdowns and one interception) looked in control all evening making good decisions with the football while dealing with much more pressure in the pocket than Brady. He also was able to hit the Patriots defense for some chunk yardage plays and use his legs (7 rushing attempts for 59 yards and one touchdown) to keep drives alive. Brady (32 of 48 for 517 yards, four touchdowns and one interception) unfortunately worked most of the night at his desired pace keeping the Dolphins defense on there heels reacting instead of attacking.
3) Dolphins Offense Created Big Plays – From the opening drive and throughout the game, the Miami Dolphins offense found a way to get the big play back into their offense. The first play from scrimmage when Chad Henne found Brandon Marshall down the Dolphins sideline for 25 yards, you had the feeling that this offense would stretch the Patriots secondary. Anthony Fasano had a spectacular, one-handed, 22 yard reception on the same drive to set up the Henne touchdown run to complete the drive. In the second half, Marshall had receptions of 22 and 27 yards and finished the evening with 63 run after catch yards! This is something that offensive coordinator Brian Daboll can take some credit for and allowing Henne the ability to change the play at the line of scrimmage.
4) Last Year Means Nothing – Everyone, including yours truly, assumed that the Dolphins defense will pick up right where they left off last season. Well as we witnessed last night, it just doesn’t happen that way, especially going up against the arsenal that is the Patriots offense! I know that this defense isn’t going to get beat all season like they did last night, and I have a strong suspicion that the heat will get turned up against the Texans next Sunday. They is too much pride and talent on that side of the football not to turn this thing around quickly! Offensively, the big question was at quarterback and if Henne could be “the guy.” Chad delivered and carried his solid play in the pre-season to week one. If he continues to play at this level, the Dolphins will have a chance to win each and every week.
5) Score Touchdowns In Red Zone – The offense made significant strides from last year to week one, but this unit still must take advantage of 4th and goal from the one yard line! Once in the third quarter and again in the fourth, the Dolphins only came away with three points when they had a chance to tie the football game with a touchdown, and the other would have made it a seven point difference. Against teams like New England, you must take advantage of those situations to win games down the stretch.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.