I knew the Dolphins would get walloped today. Knew it in my mind, body, and soul. The Bills always kick the shit out of us in Buffalo. Josh Allen plays like Tim Tebow at Florida whenever he plays the Dolphins (seriously, he has more than double the touchdowns against Miami as he does against any other team). It was not a good matchup, and the 56-26 Week 17 debacle exemplified that.
Nevertheless, the Miami Dolphins had a solid regular season in 2020, even with the Week 17 horrorshow. Here are a few takeaways from this 10-6 team.
1. Tua showed flashes, but needs to evolve
If you’re one of those “we should have taken Herbert” people, just stop reading this article. This is revisionist history at its finest. All signs pointed towards the Dolphins taking Tua Tagovailoa. Analysts universally ranked Tua above Herbert. Herbert’s collegiate game-tape against top defenses was horrific. Dolphins fans wanted Tua. It was the best decision Miami could have made at the time.
Then Herbert turns in a record-setting rookie season, something no one could have predicted, and it’s time for us to move on from Tua. He’s a bust.
This is an idiotic line of thinking.
The fact is, Tua had a good rookie season. Very good. He showed the accuracy that made him a sensation at Alabama, as well as his “it” factor in mesmerizing performances like the one against Arizona. Tua was solid this year.
Tua also showed where he can improve as he prepares for the 2021 season. He occasionally held onto the ball too long, a classic rookie mistake. He was overly-conservative at times, looking as if he was just trying not to make a mistake. You can partially blame OC Chan Gailey for calling boring games when Tua was under center, but #1 could have taken more risks this season.
I can’t wait to see how he progresses in 2021, maybe (hopefully) with a new OC calling plays.
2. They need to solve their Buffalo problem
Josh Allen is 24. He only became a superstar this season, his third in the NFL, though he has owned Miami since he was a rookie. This man has the potential to torture the ‘Phins for the next decade if they don’t find a way to slow him down. Miami seems to be a team on the cusp of contention. You can’t be taking two guaranteed inter-division losses every season and expect to win the AFC East.
I’m not sure what it is about the Dolphins that Josh Allen finds so appetizing, but it’s definitely something. Six games against the same team is a big enough sample size to signify that he likes playing you guys. Miami finally escaped the Brady-Belichick era of divisional dominance in 2020. They need to do whatever they can to avoid a similar situation, this time with Josh Allen and Sean McDermott.
3. The holes on offense are obvious
Tua threw around a dozen passes today that should have been completions. Honestly. From receivers not generating any separation to getting brick hands when they do have opportunities, pass-catching is an obvious weakness for Miami.
Some of this will be rectified with an offseason to heal up. DeVante Parker has been battling nagging injuries all season that have sapped his speed and quickness. Preston Williams was lost for the season after Week 9. Mike Gesicki and Jakeem Grant have been banged up. Tua hasn’t always had much talent to throw the ball to.
It’s been a similar story in the backfield. The Jordan Howard/Matt Breida duo brought in last offseason produced poor results. Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed have had their moments, but they don’t seem to be a bankable running back tandem. The Dolphins haven’t had a good running game in years.
Like I said, this stuff is obvious. Everyone and their mother can see it, so I would imagine the ‘Phins are planning on using draft capital on improving these position groups. Offensive linemen are usually solid investments that can affect every aspect of the offense, so don’t be surprised if they nab a tackle or two as well (Penei Sewell maybe? Please?)
This too shall pass
It was a horseshit day, ladies and gentlemen. The Dolphins were trampled by the Bills, and every team that could have helped them lost. 10-6 teams usually make the playoffs, but the Miami Dolphins will not be one of them in 2020.
The Week 17 loss hurts, but this is only the beginning. Trust Coach Flores. Trust Chris Grier. And yes, trust Tua, you imbeciles.
2021 will be an exciting season.