It’s no secret that in two of three of the Miami Dolphins losses this year they’ve struggled to find the end zone.
Despite showing their capabilities to do so in their games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills, Miami’s lack of playmakers proves to best them against tougher, more fire-powered opponents.
Miami Not Finishing in Red Zone
The Dolphins went into their week four matchup and their lack of finishing drives against a vulnerable Seattle Seahawks defense is alarming. If it hadn’t been for kicker Jason Sanders connecting on all five of his field goal attempts, Miami could’ve easily been shutout.
It got into the red zone three different times and only managed to score one touchdown on a fourth quarter quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick scramble. All of Miami’s field goals showcased Seattle’s bend but don’t break defense, helping the Seahawks improve to 4-0.
“I thought we moved the ball pretty efficiently on offense. I believe – I know we picked up a lot of first downs and moved the chains,” Miami head coach Brian Flores said. “What we didn’t do well was finish well in the red zone. You’re never going to beat a team like that kicking field goals. I think we all know and understand that.”
Interceptions from Fitzpatrick Killing Momentum
Just four plays into the first offensive possession for Miami, Fitzpatrick threw a pick off of a tipped pass. The Seahawks would end up marching down the field in six plays, scoring a touchdown. Seattle used the likes of banged up running back Chris Carson, as well as backup RB Travis Homer for a red zone receiving score, but Miami only managed to get starting RB Myles Gaskin 40 yards on 10 touches. Fitzpatrick, like he did most of 2019, ended as the game’s leading rusher again, ahead of Gaskin.
“We’ve got to be all on the same page, the whole defense as one.” cornerback Xavien Howard said about finishing games. “With both sides, we’ve all just got to be on the same page.”
Spreading the Ball Around Not Getting the Job Done
Miami could not seem to close the gap after they fell down early on, mostly due to the lack of playmakers on the team. Although Fitzpatrick finished with 315 yards to 11 different receivers, he also had two interceptions, albeit one was out of his control, the second came at a vital point in the game. Fitzpatrick’s second interception came with four minutes left in the fourth quarter, with Dolphins obviously trailing at the time.
On the receiving side of the ball wide receiver DeVante Parker led both teams with 10 receptions (12 targets) and 110 yards, but again, didn’t find the end zone. No. 2 WR Preston Williams, who’s supposed to be the up and coming guy in South Florida, had just one catch for 15 yards, disappointing for the fourth straight game. Tight end Mike Gesicki had the same stat line as Williams after offensive coordinator Chan Gailey vowed to get him more involved. Doesn’t look like it so far in 2020.
No other WR topped 50 yards, with Isaiah Ford missing the mark by two yards on his four catches, finishing as the team’s second-best receiver on the day.
California Trip Could Be an Upset Win
Thankfully for the Dolphins, they have a chance to showcase some of their offensive talent this week despite traveling cross-country to play the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers are severely depleted on both sides of the football and showed they couldn’t even stop a banged up Philadelphia Eagles team who is in the worst division in the NFL.
Miami Can Take Advantage of San Fran Run-Defense
While the 49ers kept the Eagles’ receivers in check, Philadelphia was also missing its top-two WRs and key TE Dallas Goedert. They did allow more than 100 yards rushing, something that Miami could plan to exploit after Gaskin has shown bursts against favorable run teams like Jacksonville where he had 22 carries.
Regardless of Miami’s record through the first four weeks of the season there have been solid improvements on the defensive side of the ball and are now sitting in 12th for allowing 23.8 points per game. But the Dolphins are still sitting on the lower end of NFL rankings for scoring on offense at 24th, scoring 23.3 points per game. They’ll need their receiving corps to step up in a big way this week to end up on the higher side of that average.
Kayla Morton contributed to this article.