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Friday, 5 December 2014

Miami Dolphins: What a Win on Monday Means

The Finsiders John Congemi is right – sometimes a win although ugly is still a win. The win column does not matter how you get there, as long as you get there.

For the Dolphins, the win on Monday night was not pretty by any means, but the team got it done. Now, Miami faces Baltimore in what might be the most important game of the team’s season as the Ravens are in the playoff hunt and could make or break the Dolphins season. While Miami came from behind to beat the Jets, the Ravens collapsed and allowed the San Diego Chargers to come back in the fourth quarter and take one away from Baltimore.

While the Jets were still on the minds of many on Tuesday following the win, there was much to celebrate and much to work on before Sunday. Here are three key observations from the game Monday night, according to Congemi.

1. Closing Time

Even though Miami had a hard time of it at MetLife Stadium, they were able to come through when it mattered most in the 4th quarter. The Dolphins haven’t had a lot of success coming from behind in the final quarter, losing 48 of the last 49 road games in which they trailed entering the fourth quarter according to ESPN Stats and Info.

It isn’t like they haven’t had their chances this year, falling to Green Bay (at home), Detroit, and Denver all late in games, when they had chances on both sides of the football to put the game away. It would be much easier if the offense found a way to get into the end zone, instead of relying on the defense to get the final stop of the game. But considering a win is a win, this team must learn how to make plays at the end of game of scenarios in the month of December, where every outcome has playoff ramifications.

2. Holding The Line

If the Dolphins are going to make it to the playoffs, one of the areas that must make an immediate turnaround is the run defense. After it being the strength of the team, the last two weeks have been a complete surprise to everyone that has watched this unit play.

The Jets ran for 131 yards in the first quarter alone. That’s the most by any team in a 1st quarter in three years. This coming after Denver having so much success, you could only imagine what Baltimore offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak must be dialing up for Sunday’s AFC showdown at Sun Life Stadium. Kubiak will have more balance because of the trust and quality of Joe Flacco, which might make it more difficult for Miami if they cannot find the answer to once again becoming one of the league’s top run defenses.

The Dolphins defense must be better in the next four games, especially in the next two, because Baltimore and New England loom large. Both teams can really run the ball, and have Super Bowl winning quarterbacks.

3. Tannehill’s Toughness

This one wasn’t as pretty as the last month and a half, but Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill found a way to get a much needed win on the road in a game Miami desperately needed.

On a night where the protection was spotty, Tannehill hung tough, and delivered with consistency and made enough plays from the pocket and with his legs, especially in the second half to grind out the three point win. Tannehill also had more protection in crunch time down the stretch, when the team needed a drive to get points. It wasn’t as efficient as his last eight outings, but at this point in the season, it’s all about getting wins, and I’m sure that he’ll take a couple more hits for four more W’s.


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