Yet it was the way they lost that was depressing. I know it was rookie Ryan Tannehill's first regular season start, and mistakes are to be expected. But how the game was played in its entirety was not at all encouraging as a Miami fan.
At the beginning of the game, Miami was moving fast, completing passes, driving down the field. The new West Coast offense was looking pretty sharp at first.
Tannehill threw the ball all over the field and completed screen passes, and they gained big chunks of yards on the ground. They were moving fast, keeping the defense on their heels. It was fun to watch.
But as the game wore on, the pace slowed down, mistakes piled up, and Houston pulled away.
Miami turned the ball over four times and allowed 24 points off of turnovers. Not only was the offense not careful with the ball, but the defense couldn't come in and bail out their teammates with a stop.
Throughout the game, the defense was just overmatched, letting Matt Schaub connect with Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels for a combined 12 catches and 206 yards. They only got to Matt Schaub twice and couldn't force any turnovers.
Miami lost the turnover battle 4-0, which is a sure way to take yourself out of a game. They also lost the time of possession battle, with Houston more than doubling Miami's TOP. Houston held the ball for 20 minutes and 50 seconds while Miami only had it for eight minutes and 21 seconds.
A symbolic series came with about seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. After getting into the red zone, Miami had third and long. Tannehill threw a short pass over the middle to Bush that left them with fourth and eight, and Philbin made the right decision to go for it.
But then, after throwing a short pass for little yardage on third down, Tannehill proceeded to throw a short pass to Anthony Fasano on an out route for about three yards. On fourth and eight. At the 10- yard line.
How don't they take a shot at the end zone on either of those plays? Really, down 20 points in the fourth quarter, they should have taken a shot in the end zone on both plays.
The offense only gained 4.7 yards per play, and only produced one field goal the entire game. Anthony Armstrong, brought in off waivers to help a weak receiving corps, had just one catch for three yards and let a pass go through his hands.
But it wasn't all negative for the Dolphins. Tannehill did make a few nice plays and showed poise even after a few mistakes. Brian Hartline, after sitting out the preseason due to injury, caught three passes for 50 yards, including a big 34 yard play.
Reggie Bush had a good game, gaining 69 yards on 14 carries and catching six passes for 46 yards. Daniel Thomas only got three carries but had a nice eight-yard run and also had a 32-yard reception.
Nobody is expecting the Dolphins to win more than a few games this year. But they're going to have to clean up their game a lot during practice this week if they're going to instill any hope in a Miami fanbase desperate for any positive signs.
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