Is there a reset button that someone can push in real life or at least before the beginning of a football game?
The Miami Dolphins needed it, or the cheat code to life because on Sunday when they played against the Buffalo Bills for their home opener it wasn’t a pretty sight to behold. Someone must have forgotten to tell the Dolphins that the season has already started because the way that they have started the season should be truly unacceptable.
You could make an excuse for the Washington Redskins game and say it’s their first game together, they shouldn’t play flawlessly. Then the Jacksonville Jaguars game you could say that they were just beaten by a team with a better game plan that exploited their weakness. This game against the Buffalo though there was no excuse.
The Dolphins roster left fans in the middle of pouring rain to watch them put on a terrible opening performance. At halftime, the Buffalo Bills managed to accomplish accumulating 270 total yards, scoring 27 points, forcing three turnovers and leaving one fan base completely pissed off with the effort of the team.
The season is only at week three, but this team is already at a crossroads.
Football isn’t played on paper but if you look at the matchups in the skill positions, most of them favor the Dolphins. These slow first quarters need to get addressed or Miami’s going to play an opponent (New England) that will give them a lead so insurmountable they won’t come back. Any time a team like Buffalo only runs 19 plays has 200 yards and is 2-of-3 (67%) efficiency in the first quarter of a game, you know there’s a big problem. There’s way too much talent on this team for the Dolphins to have the slow starts in the first quarter that they keep going through.
The only bright spot of the game though was the lone offense drive where the Dolphins looked like they were starting to get back into form, just after the beginning of the second half. After the Bills opening drive that resulted in a missed field goal kick, Miami answered back themselves with a huge scoring opportunity and they capitalized. The Dolphins drove half of the field and ended with Ryan Tannehill finding Rishard Matthews in the back of the right end zone for a clean touchdown.
*On another note: Rishard Matthews, who was looked at as a person who was the fifth receiver on the depth chart, has really emerged as a go-to type of player for Tannehill. The way that these two have started to build chemistry is awesome news.
Nevertheless, the way that Miami performed this game was pathetic. The game looked like this signaled the beginning of the end of the Joe Philbin era in Miami. If you picked the prop bet, “Who will be the first NFL head coach to be fired or dismissed?” you might have won some money. Joe Philbin had 12/1 odds and it’s looking more and more like he’ll be the first one gone. It’s sad to say, but this Dolphins team isn’t and hasn’t been responding well to his words under his leadership.
After this inexcusable home opener where Buffalo outcoached, outplayed, and outperformed Miami, it’s looking like it should be a new change in leadership. Fans are tired of waiting fo this team to break out and have the awesome year that many expect. This team has all of the parts on the roster to become really good, it’s something that’s not clicking from the words of their coach that’s not registering with the players.
The only room for optimism is that the Dolphins in the first quarter can end with a split and not a losing record. If Miami finds a way to defeat the New York Jets next week in London then they’ll have a 2-2 record. .500 isn’t the winning percentage that fans want or expect, but it’s a number that still leaves them with room to make the playoffs. 2-2 is much better than 1-3.
The question is with a game like this do you keep the game tape as something to remember to never play with that type of lackluster effort for the future? Or is this a game you forget and never want to remember?
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey.