Miami Dolphins Week 4: Right, Wrong, and WTF

Team1234Total
Dolphins (1-3)3631123
Seahawks (4-0)10701431
Box Score via CBS Sports

It’s back to the drawing board following the Miami Dolphins third loss of the year, as they were defeated at home by the Seattle Seahawks with a score of 31-23.

With all the NFL action over the weekend, and only two eyeballs per human, it’s quite possible you didn’t catch this game; if so, you can read my review here.

With that said, let’s take a deeper dive into everything that transpired and discuss What Went Right, What Went Wrong, and WTF from Sunday’s contest.

As always, any questions or comments? Find me on Twitter – @Donny_Diablo7.

What Went Right

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Photo Credit: Miami Dolphins

Starting on the offensive side of the ball, the Fins did a good job of moving the ball up-and-down the field all afternoon, registering 415 total yards, with almost a quarter of those yards coming from WR DeVante Parker.

Parker was far-and-away QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s first option, as he converted a tea- high 12 targets into 10 receptions for 110 yards. It was Parker’s ninth 100-yard receiving game of his career.

The former 2015 first-round pick took some time (more like an eternity) to get going, but since Week 6 of the 2019 season, no receiver in the NFL has been more productive than Parker with 1,280 receiving yards over that span, according to Pro Football Reference. Parker has clearly been dominant and has developed a rapport with Fitz.

“DeVante is a great player for us, one that I’m always going to rely on especially in tough situations, and try to get him the ball and rely on him to win one-on-one. He did some good things versus zone coverage today, just finding the spot and running after the catch. But he’s a big part of what we do. And it was good to get him back in the game today.”

Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

The on-field production is most important, but it is worth noting how Parker personified the resilience that this team has shown all year, leaving the game with an injury but returning later to aid his team and make a huge impact.

Miami eclipsed the century mark on the ground as a team for the second time in as many weeks, accruing 103 yards on 22 carries for an average of 4.7 YPC.

While Fitzpatrick had a frustrating game, tossing two picks (more on that later) and no touchdowns, he did finish north of 300 yards passing for the second time this season. Fitz once again spread the ball to a plethora of targets, as 10 separate Dolphins registered a reception.

Of course, we can’t forget about K Jason Sanders, who converted on all 5 of his field goal attempts accounting for the majority of Miami’s points. Sanders has had ice in his veins all season, and when the time eventually comes for a game-winning kick, I’m sure he’ll be up for the challenge.

Defensively, the Fins went toe-to-toe with QB Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ high-powered attack, playing decently, all things considered. If you would have told anyone in South Beach they would be going into the locker room trailing by just 8 points, I’m sure most would have taken it in a heartbeat.

In the third quarter, the defense played well, bending but never breaking, and allowing zero points. It was the first time since the second quarter of Seattle’s Week 1 victory over the Atlanta Falcons that they had been held scoreless in a quarter.

The Fins had two big splash plays in the third quarter, the first being an Xavien Howard interception at the goal line on a pass intended for WR D.K. Metcalf. It was only Wilson’s second interception thrown on the year.

The second came courtesy of Shaq Lawson sack on a fourth-down conversion attempt inside the Miami 30-yard line. Lawson, like teammate Devante Parker, left the game early on but returned later in the contest. The Fins applied consistent pressure all afternoon and it was encouraging to see them get home.

What Went Wrong

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Photo Credit: Seattle Seahawks

This loss came down to a tale of two offenses, as both teams played well offensively, but only one team consistently took advantage of their scoring opportunities.

Each of the Dolphins’ scoring possessions were at least eight plays and took time off the clock, but only one ended in a touchdown. Following the game, Coach Flores said, against top-tier offensive talent like the Seahawks, that isn’t going to cut it.

“Execution down in the red zone, that’s what it boils down to. When you get down there, the throwing lanes are tighter, the safeties are closer. Against a good team, you have to punch it in. We were close, but we didn’t get in. At the end of the day, three instead of seven adds up, especially against a team like that.”

Dolphins head coach Brian Flores

Fitz tossed two interceptions, the first coming on the team’s opening drive to set up Seattle’s first touchdown of the game to DB Ryan Neal. The second came in the waning moments of the fourth quarter, serving as the nail in the coffin for Miami.

Both balls were tipped at the line, but nonetheless, Ryan Fitzpatrick needs to take better care of the football, as this was his second game of the season with multiple turnovers, the first being Week 1 against the New England Patriots (3 interceptions). After the game, Fitz took the brunt of the blame for the loss.

“That was the story of the day. Being able to move the ball effectively and not do anything in the red zone. Red zone execution really falls on the quarterback, so I walk away feeling terrible about that. I felt guys played well enough to win and I didn’t. If your quarterback doesn’t play up to his ability, you’re not going to win a lot of games in this league.”

Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

Defensively, this is the third time in four games that the Miami secondary was torched going deep, and it ended up being the difference in the contest.

Seattle receivers routinely found themselves all alone in holes in the secondary, and rookie DB Noah Igbinoghene especially struggled. Igbinoghene is talented, but extremely raw, and he is bound to have some growing pains, especially against bullish WR D.K. Metcalf and the highly-underrated Tyler Lockett.

Igbinoghene surrendered two of the game’s most pivotal plays, the first being a Wilson connection with David Moore for 57 yards in the final seconds of the first half to set up a touchdown, giving Seattle a 17-9 halftime lead. Igbinoghene blew the coverage on the play.

”I knew what to do,” Igbinoghene said. ”I just made a mistake.”

Sadly, it wouldn’t be his last time dealing with Moore, who scored the game’s decisive touchdown on a 17-yard pass from Russell Wilson to put the game out of reach.

Miami also had trouble containing Seattle RBs Chris Carson and Travis Homer, who combined for 128 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. Following last week’s performance against Jacksonville Jaguars RB James Robinson (46 rush yards, 83 receiving, two TDs) this is becoming a troubling trend.

StatsMiami DolphinsSeattle Seahawks
Total Yards415441
Rushing Yards10398
Passing Yards312343
3rd/4th Down Conv.7/134/11
Turnovers21
Sacks For21
Penalties/Yardage3/200/0
Time of Possession33:0926:51
Statistics via ESPN

WTF

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Photo Credit: Seattle Seahawks

The WTF factor surrounding this game, came at the expense of the Fins defense.

With the score at 10-9 right before the half, Seattle started at their own 25-yard line with just 24 seconds left on the clock. In just four plays, the Miami defense allowed Russ and the Seahawks to travel the length of the field, with the main catalyst being Moore’s aforementioned 57-yard reception. Simply, it shouldn’t happen in any level of football, let alone the NFL, and it gave momentum back to Seattle’s sideline.

RB Jordan Howard is once again back in the WTF column after another “stellar” day, finishing with two carries, two yards, and a fumble. The Dolphins are paying Howard $4.75M this season; so far Howard has 13 total rushing yards. Miami will have paid Howard $365,384 per yard. Great investment.

Moving Forward

This loss was disappointing, but you can definitely start to see the mentality of the Dolphins change under the tutelage of Coach Flores. Following the game, S Bobby McCain (4 tackles, one QB hit, one broken-up pass) expressed the disappointment felt in the Dolphins’ locker room, but acknowledged the team is ready to get back to work this week.

“I’m not going to sit here and tell you we’re trash, because we’re not; we’ve just got to be better. We’ve got to be better defensively. We’ve got to be better in the secondary and not give up big plays. We have a good team. We have a good defense, and we just didn’t put it all together today.”

Dolphins safety Bobby McCain

The Fins began preparation for next week’s game on Monday. Miami will be flying to the West Coast to take on the San Francisco 49ers. It will be their first visit to San Francisco since 2012, where they suffered a loss, 27-13.

(Featured Image Credit: Miami Dolphins)

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