Hyde10: Defense dominates, Hill and Waddle influence — 10 ideas on Dolphins’ win over Patriots

The Dolphins’ opened in successful fashion with a 20-7 win against New England.

The defense? Dominant.

The offense? Well, a work in progress.

But you beat your division rival and don’t play your best and you’ll take it every time. Here are 10 ideas on the opener:

Play of the day: Brandon Jones had 11 tackles Sunday and a sack that opened up the sport. The fixed to Dolphins-Patriots recreation in recent times is the Dolphins protection has scored factors and altered days. They had two touchdowns towards the Patriots offense in final yr’s finale and Xavien Howard triggered and recovered a fumble to win final yr’s opener. This time it was Jones blitzing the blindside within the second quarter as Patriots quarterback Mac Jones dropped to move from his 13-yard line. Jones hit him, the ball popped lose and one-hopped into Melvin Ingram’s palms for a simple landing.

2. The distinction Sunday? It was velocity. Exactly as marketed. Just within the first half, Tyreek Hill had six catches for 77 yards and ran a reverse for six yards and Jaylen Waddle break up three defenders on an ideal strike from Tua Tagovailoa for a 42-yard landing. That’s just about what the Dolphins plotted with this sort of velocity at receiver. Hill was a brief goal, stretched the protection on lengthy routes and took a 26-yard move away from Patriots cornerback Marcus Jones. And Waddle? For the day, Hill had eight catches for 94 yards and Waddle had 4 for 69 yards.

3. You noticed the misdirection and inventive scheming of Mike McDaniel’s offense {that a} disciplined Patriots protection wasn’t falling for an excessive amount of. But one query of McDaniel’s recreation managing started to focus Sunday: He’s going to be extra aggressive on fourth downs. With 24 seconds left within the half, going through fourth-and-8 from the Patriots 42-yard line, McDaniel went for it and Tua made an ideal throw over the center to Waddle, who break up three defenders to run for the landing. Now, New England had no time-outs so with such little time left on the clock it will have been shocking if McDaniel didn’t go for it there. A greater measuring stick got here on the primary drive. Facing third-and-1 on the 50. Tagovailoa threw deep and incomplete to fullback Alec Ingold. That’s the form of play you run figuring out you’re going for it on fourth down. They did, too. New England deal with Carl Davis jumped offsides, so we by no means noticed the play (and, sure, you possibly can say they could have employed a tough rely till the clock ran out and punted). Former Dolphins coach Brian Flores ranked twenty ninth in going for it on fourth down final yr. that confirmed a elementary lack of religion within the offense — and believing within the protection. McDaniel isn’t a go-for-it at anytime on fourth down. Facing fourth-and-4 close to midfield within the second quarter, they punted. San Francisco, the place McDaniel was offensive coordinator final yr, ranked twenty first in fourth-down tendencies. So McDaniel will choose his locations, it appears. He picked a pair on Sunday.

4. It wasn’t all good news. The offensive line struggled a lot of the day towards a superb Patriots line of defense — after which left the day with well being questions. First, proper deal with Austin Jackson damage his ankle within the first half and is changed by reserve Greg Little. Then, Little needed to come out on the primary drive of the second half and that causes a reshuffling on the road. Guard Robert Hunt strikes to proper deal with and reserve Robert Jones is available in as guard. Then, within the fourth quarter, left deal with Terron Armstead went out of the sport. Guard Liam Eichenberg moved to left deal with. Little was again within the recreation by that time and Jones moved to left guard. All that can take some checking out earlier than subsequent week to see how severe the accidents are. The bottom-line wants enchancment, too. The Dolphins ran 17 instances for 45 yards till the ultimate minutes run-out-the-clock possessions. Tua additionally was sacked thrice on the day. So not solely does this line want well being — it want some enchancment.

5. Tua Tagovailoa’s day? It was OK. A successful, C-effort. He had the nice throw to Waddle for a landing. But this was a recreation he was requested to not lose greater than to win, contemplating the way the Dolphins protection bottled up the Patriots. He did that, although he received away with a would-be interception and would-be fumble because the Dolphins have been up 20-7 within the fourth quarter and making an attempt to place the day away. He accomplished 23-of-33 passes for 270 yards and a landing. Those a superb numbers on a good-enough day him. But there will probably be days arising he’ll be requested to do extra.

6. Xavien Howard lined DeVante Parker for years in Dolphins practices. It sometimes went as you’d anticipate — because it did the primary throw they confronted in Sunday’s recreation. The Patriots opened the sport with a pleasant drive when Mac Jones went to move into the tip zone from the Dolphins 22. It was a bounce ball. Howard vs. Parker. Howard made a veteran’s transfer, pinning Parker’s arm. He tipped the ball into the air together with his different hand. Jevon Holland picked it out of the air and the Dolphins had their first game-changing second of the season. Parker did get a measure of revenge within the second half as he drew a holding penalty on Howard on a fourth-and-1 that saved alive the Patriots 92-yard landing drive to open the second half.

7. All these questions concerning the Dolphins cornerbacks? They didn’t present on a Sunday that instructed New England’s offense is basically as misplaced as was mentioned this summer season. Or possibly the Dolphins protection is pretty much as good as hoped? Maybe each are true. The recreation successfully ended with undrafted rookie cornerback Kader Kohou making a big-time, fumble-causing hit on Nelson Agholor that the Dolphins recovered with 5 minutes to play. The truth the Dolphins protection gave up only one landing tells you of its day — and of the Patriots. One query for the Patriots coming into this recreation was how an offense that changed coordinator Josh McDaniels with some mixture of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge will do. Sunday’s reply: They couldn’t benefit from cornerback Byron Jones being out. Mac Jones was 21 of 30 for 213 yards, an interception and a landing. The Patriots ran 22 instances for 78 yards exhibiting the form of power the Dolphins had up entrance.

8. Stat of the Day I: The Dolphins have now gained 25 straight video games when main at half, in response to CBS. That’s the longest streak within the NFL and speaks to … precisely what? I don’t know, contemplating it has to undergo the Adam Gase and Brian Flores eras. But it’s spectacular.

Stat of the Day II: It was 92 levels at kickoff (on-field it felt like 103 levels). It was 93 levels within the third quarter. Just 5 earlier Dolphins video games have been over 90 levels, in response to Dolphins information. The hottest? The 1995 opener towards the New York Jets was 94 levels at kickoff in a 52-14 Dolphins win. Question: Will the Dolphins home-field benefit profit from international warming?

9. Quick hits:

* The coaches didn’t consider what they have been saying about cornerback Noah Igbinoghene all summer season and preseason as they made him inactive for the opener;

* Armstead had the form of impactful recreation that exhibits why he was a giant commodity till he left within the fourth quarter. He can run block and move block in dominant vogue — and transfer some as a display screen move was run his method within the third quarter;

* Mike Gesicki’s role is as diminished as the preseason showed. He had one catch for one yard and the play rely will present he wasn’t used a lot;

* The Patriots performed numerous zone protection Sunday. That was to be anticipated after they let high cornerback C.J. Jackson go to the Chargers in free company.

10. Next week: Dolphins at Baltimore. The NFL’s hardest first month continues with a Ravens workforce that’s loads more healthy than when the Dolphins beat them final November. Lamar Jackson was intercepted as soon as and sacked 4 instances because the Dolphins (then 2-7) stunned Baltimore in a 22-10 win that successfully started their season’s turnaround.


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