When folks reward the Dolphins offensive system beneath Mike McDaniel, there’s a brief reply to understanding why. It’s that first play on Sunday in opposition to San Francisco. It underlines how technique meshes with personnel in a great way.
For starters, it confirmed good considering in the course of the week and the way the coaches discovered methods to maneuver their chess items after watching San Francisco’s top-rated protection. There had been three prime parts:
A. Tyreek Hill is the participant each protection fears for good purpose and that’s apparent as he went in movement on this play and have become the shiny brilliant object for the 49ers to look at. Cornerback Chavarious Ward, who was urgent slot receiver Trent Sherfield, moved off him on the snap to cowl Hill. Just as importantly, security Talanoa Hufanga instantly moved to Hill and Sherfield had some open discipline earlier than him — all because of Hill.
B. At the identical time, there was some hocus-pocus taking place within the backfield. Running backs Raheem Mostert and Alec Ingold criss-crossed in entrance of Tua Tagovailoa after he received the shotgun snapped. Tagovailoa supplied a faux hand-off to both one. That froze linebacker Fred Warner the mandatory half-beat to maintain him out of the passing lane Tagovailoia would throw.
C. Sherfield ran a easy slant and Tua made a easy, 9-yard go over the center. An straightforward pitch-and-catch. The 49ers different security, Tashaun Gipson, made a misstep in reacting and Sherfield beat the one participant he needed to beat for the landing.
That’s how good teaching works with good personnel for an excellent end result. The Dolphins had receivers working open Sunday within the method the No. 1 protection hardly ever yields. Hill had 9 catches for 146 yards, confirming once more why he’s the prime curiosity of defenses. This first play additionally underlines why he’s my vote because the MVP of the group. Even when he’s not catching passes, he’s altering how defenses play and open house for teammates to seek out.
2. Speaking of fixing defenses, San Francisco linebackers appeared to drop a yard or two deeper than most defenses in opposition to the Dolphins on common events. I don’t watch them sufficient to know if it’s their regular drops, however maybe that is the refined change that affected Tagovailoa’s passing angles? If so, will probably be attention-grabbing to see if different defenses change issues.
3. There have been some good front-office choices to construct this roster. The verdict stays out on left sort out Terron Armstead. It’s not his expertise. He’s elite. But do you have to spend large cash on a participant who hasn’t performed a full season in 10 years? Who performed simply 18 video games complete the earlier two years? You wish to win in January — and wish your finest gamers taking part in at that time. The best prediction to make is Armstead was going to overlook video games this yr and, thus, a significant choice was who the backup left sort out can be.
4. The working sport? It’s clear the Dolphins didn’t assume they might run on the 49ers’ No. 1-rated rush protection (75 yards a sport) and fairly went at their Twelfth-rated go protection. They ran simply eight instances for 33 yards. The numbers are skewed, as a result of the Dolphins solely ran 45 performs because of turnovers, their 0-for-7 on third downs — and San Francisco’s protection is top-rated for a purpose. Now comes the Los Angeles Chargers protection and it’s typically terrible as its thirtieth in factors allowed (25.8 factors per sport) and twenty fifth in yards allowed (371.7). This sport ought to get the Dolphins offense get again to being the assured bunch it was in November to organize for the showdown in opposition to Buffalo. Speaking of which …
5. The NFL did the Dolphins no favors by transferring Sunday’s sport to an evening kickoff (8 p.m. Eastern) and the next Buffalo sport to Saturday night time. It has a number of the really feel of the 1999 season’s playoff schedule when the Dolphins gained in Seattle in a late-afternoon sport on Sunday and kicked off Saturday at midday in Jacksonville. Veteran NFL author Peter King has referred to as that the worst scheduling job for the playoffs that the NFL has ever completed. It didn’t clarify dropping 62-7 to Jacksonville. But it didn’t assist. This schedule isn’t any higher.