Football is finally back, and the Miami Dolphins are ready to roll. During Thursday night’s preseason action, the Fins were able to pull out a 34-27 victory as they unveiled their quarterback competition in live action in their matchup against the Falcons.
Veteran and NFL journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick started at quarterback. Fitzpatrick played decently on the first two possessions of the game finishing 2 for 5 with 20 passing and 7 rushing yards.
The team’s first drive ended with a field goal. Although Fitzpatrick was able to get the offense in field goal range, there were some moments during the drive where the protection could have been better.
Fitzpatrick saw light action, engineering two drives. He was relieved by Josh Rosen, the Dolphins pickup who signed in April. Rosen will compete with Fitzpatrick for the starting job.
Rosen stayed in the game well into the third quarter, showcasing some of the things he will be able to offer for the upcoming season. Despite throwing an early interception, Rosen went 13 for 20 with 191 passing yards while leading the Fins on three scoring drives.
The Offensive line did not do the best job of protecting Rosen early on. When he did get some time, he made some good throws. Although he did not have a passing touchdown, he was able to get them into the red zone.
Both quarterbacks played behind a perennial sub-par offensive line that showed they still have room for improvement.
After the game head coach Brian Flores elaborated on the ensuing quarterback competition saying, “It’s hard to tell. I’m going to have to go back and watch the tape. Obviously, the turnover, Josh’s (Rosen) turnover, we didn’t like that, but I thought he made some good throws. I thought ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick) was off target on a few throws as well. I thought the protection for both guys could have been a lot better, which would have given us a little bit better evaluation on the – as I was watching it. But I’ll probably have a little bit more – I’ll have a better feel for how each one of those guys played after I watch the tape.”
A stellar running attack accounted for three of the team’s touchdowns. Runningbacks Kalen Ballage, Myles Gaskin, and Mark Walton each found the endzone. The only passing touchdown came from Jake Rudock who connected with Myles Gaskin.
The Dolphins defense gave up some big plays in the first half but managed to only give up field goals instead of touchdowns. The defensive line didn’t get much pressure on Matt Schaub, the Falcons starting quarterback, allowing him to complete 12 of 19 passes for 172 yards. All of the Falcons touchdowns came from their running game. They also kicked two field goals.
It was an average effort on defense, but it could’ve been worse. In assessing the play of the defense, Flores said, “I thought tackling was an issue, a major issue. And it’s something that we’ll work on, it’s something that we talk about. Tackling, communication, defending the deep part of the field. It wasn’t good enough. When you don’t tackle well, you’re going to give up yardage. It’s as simple as that.”
Dolphins rookie defensive end from Pittsburgh Dewayne Hendrix ended the night with two sacks.
Dolphins next preseason game is on the road against Tampa Bay. This is just the first preseason game, so there’s still some tweaking to do. Another team may have been able to capitalize on the mistakes. They will clean up on those mistakes by the regular season as they have three more preseason games to get it right.
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