With the NFL season officially underway, fans got to see a good opening weekend matchup between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. Despite a Dolphins loss, Miami showed signs of improvement in its run game and secondary that look to be leading to a promising future.
First, despite the Dolphins’ poor showing in its rush defense, they still limited the Patriots to just 21 points. For this article however, the ups and downs of the offense will be the main focus from week one.
Miami. Ran. The. Football.
One of the biggest things Miami needed to improve upon from 2019 was running the football. The Dolphins were last in the league in terms of rushing last season, something that obviously cannot happen if they want to be a playoff or Super Bowl contender.
On Sunday, Miami produced on the ground. Not to the extent of high-rushing caliber teams in the league on opening weekend, but moreso than it did all of last year.
It carried the ball 27 times for 87 yards. Even though the Dolphins used multiple guys to get there, last season there were games where Miami had more rushing attempts than yards. These 87 yards put them in a completely new level from 2019.
Myles Gaskin Sees Bulk of Ground Game
Myles Gaskin led the way, averaging 4.4 yards per carry and being the team’s leading rusher with 40 yards. Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey also slowly integrated new offseason signees Jordan Howard and Matt Breida into the mix, of which Howard scored the team’s only touchdown.
Dolphins Wide Receivers Struggle Across the Board
While there were signs of promise in the rushing game, the receiving game was one spot the Dolphins struggled a lot in. In 20 total receptions throughout the game, all of the Dolphins’ receivers combined for a total of 191 yards.
None of the WRs could really get going offensively, with No. 1 WR DeVante Parker having the most production with 47 yards on four catches. However, he left the game in the third quarter after reaggravating his hamstring injury and is likely to miss time.
Ryan Fitzpatrick Didn’t Show the Fitzmagic
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick also had a less than optimal day throwing the football. While he completed 20 of his 30 passes for a 67-percent completion rate, he did throw three interceptions and finished with zero touchdowns. One interception, though not his fault, also occurred in the end zone on a promising drive in the fourth quarter.
Offensive Line Gets Kudos
One of the main reasons why Fitzpatrick was able to post a high completion rate was the work of the offensive line that did not go unnoticed by the veteran.
“Up front we played well,” Fitzpatrick said postgame. “I didn’t really get touched a whole lot back there. (With Austin Jackson and Solomon Kindley) just to see their mood and mentality, from what I could tell I thought they did a nice job (especially).”
Flores: Tape Will Show Biggest Strengths, Weaknesses
Head coach Brian Flores had a lot of analyzing to do after his team’s performance and said most of the fixes he’ll find fine-tuned on game-tape.
“We had some spurts where we were moving the ball but obviously the turnovers, those are huge,” Flores said during postgame. “We talk about that a lot as a team. It’s tough to win when you turn the ball over.”
Parker Expected to Miss Time, WRs Need to Step Up
Overall, the offensive production was good in some moments and bad in others, as expected. The aggressiveness on the ground is something that they need to keep up each week and made positive strides toward this week. The biggest issue seems to be the WRs, who need to make more big plays on the ball and get to it period. Now with Parker expected to miss time, WR Preston Williams can’t go two-for-seven because he “slips”. No. 3 Isaiah Ford? It’s your time. No. 4 Jakeem Grant, you were signed to an extension for a reason, it’s no longer just the special teams for you. Build a rapport with Fitzpatrick.
The Dolphins will be able to get their rematch with the Patriots later in the season, but they now have to prepare for the Buffalo Bills on Sunday with that game set to kick off at 1:00 p.m eastern.