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New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Miami

Thomas GaliciaContributor IIOctober 20, 2016

New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Miami

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    The Miami Dolphins drop what should've been a winnable game to the New York Jets 23-20 in overtime. 

    Despite a good effort from the Dolphins defense, the loss of Reggie Bush would prove to be too much for Miami, as well as two missed field goals from Dan Carpenter.

    Miami drops to 1-2 on the young season, while the Jets move up to 2-1.

    Here's a look at how Miami grades out in a game that they already wish they could have back.

Offense — C

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    Overall Game Grade — C

    Let me start by saying that with Reggie Bush in the game, Miami wins going away. I'm not speculating, but think about it; how often would the Dolphins have passed the ball in the fourth quarter while up by seven (then four), had Bush been in the game? Not as many times. Reggie gets better as the game goes on and is Miami's MVP. Without him, Miami loses at least two more games than they would with him.

    With that being said, Miami's offense did recover alright without Bush. While they didn't run the ball as much as they should've in the fourth quarter, Tannehill made some good throws. It's just a shame that Anthony Armstrong couldn't hold on to them, and also a shame that Brian Hartline only had one catch (a great catch but still less than he's capable of).

    Here's a look as to how Miami's offensive players performed on a day that they should've come away with the victory.

Ryan Tannehill — C

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    Overall Game Grade — C

    All things considered, I thought Tannehill played decently today.

    Will I take points off for his pick-six to Laron Landry? Let's just say I had Tannehill pegged for a B+ had it not been for that play.

    But despite that disaster, you can't pin this loss on Tannehill. His numbers weren't outstanding, going 16-of-36 for 196 yards and an interception. But he made some great throws. It's just a shame that some of these receivers couldn't beat the Jets' B-team secondary, and when they did, they dropped plenty of passes.

    Give Tannehill some wide receivers and you have a potential Pro Bowler. He bounced back well from his pick-six, and overall gave Miami a chance to win.

    If you are wondering though, even if Carpenter makes one of those field goals he missed, Tannehill would still get a C. A pick-six is still too much to overlook, even if it could've been prevented had a certain superstar running back were in the game.

Running Backs

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    Reggie Bush — A

    Just imagine stretching out Bush's 10 carries for 61 yards over the course of a full 60 minutes.

    There would be no overtime, Miami would've scored at least one more touchdown. I don't even think Tannehill throws his pick-six as Bush would've likely gained enough yards to get Tannehill far enough away out of his end-zone.

    That's a potential 14-point swing. In a game Miami lost by three.

    With Bush in the game it looked like Miami would cruise to a second-straight victory, but with his knee injury (and I'll get to Philbin's decision making later), Miami went a bit more pass-happy then they should've gone, which is one thing we can attribute to their loss.

    Daniel Thomas — C

    Daniel Thomas had nearly double the carries of Reggie Bush. However he still managed to produce only eight more yards (but did score Miami's first touchdown of the game). While his fumble in the third quarter didn't wind up hurting the Dolphins too much, he did have problems bursting off the line, forcing Miami to pass the ball more than they should've when they had the lead.

    Lamar Miller — B+

    Weirdly, we only saw Lamar Miller in the third quarter, as well as a great drive in the fourth quarter.

    Miller had nine touches for 48 yards, including a long run for 22. So here's my question; why didn't he get the ball more towards the end of the game? Why was Daniel Thomas Miami's primary back after Bush was injured?

    Definitely a huge mistake on Miami's part, Miller played well in his limited action.

    Jorvorskie Lane — B+

    Congratulations to Lane on scoring his first NFL touchdown. Miami used Lane very well in their running game, giving him two carries on third-and-short situations. Both times Lane converted. He should be used more, and should also be used as a receiver out of the backfield from time to time, for he does have very good hands.

    As for blocking, Lane was also very good, preventing a few sacks.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

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    Before I start my grades, can we please have more than one Dolphins wide receiver show up?

    Davone Bess — B

    Davone Bess sustained two Miami drives with key catches. He would end the afternoon with five catches for 89 yards. A lot of that does have to do with Darrelle Revis' absence, which sprang Bess open on Jets corner Kyle Wilson.

    Brian Hartline — D-

    Where was he all afternoon? He made one great play in overtime (a diving 41-yard catch to set the Dolphins up in field goal range), but for the most part he not only was absent for most of the game (partly due to Antonio Cromartie's great coverage), but even cost Miami points with a dumb offensive pass interference penalty in the fourth quarter, which backed up Carpenter's eventual first 47-yard field goal miss. Terrible game for the wide receiver many thought broke out last week.

    Anthony Armstrong — F

    Anthony Armstrong was sought out by Tannehill six times, and he only had two catches for nine yards. Of those four incompletions to Armstrong, two of them were catchable and would've gained Miami big yardage. I still have more confidence in Armstrong than I do in Legedu Naanee, however that's a lot like saying I have more confidence in duct tape during a hurricane than masking tape.

    Anthony Fasano — B

    Much like Davone Bess, Anthony Fasano sustained drives for Miami. His five catches for 47 yards each had an impact, while his blocking kept Tannehill relatively clean. Great game for the tight end, despite a key drop in the fourth quarter.

Offensive Line

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    You know what's a shame? This offensive line played very well today. There's promise here, and you wouldn't have said that a few weeks ago.

    Jake Long — A

    New York usually tends to blitz from all angles, and today was no different. Long protected Tannehill's blind side very well, as Tannehill got hit twice and wasn't sacked at all. None of those hits came from the left.

    Richie Incognito — A

    I desperately want to call Incognito Ric Incognito, as in Ric Flair, since the perception is he's the dirtiest player in the game.

    However Incognito had a very clean and well played game. Like Long, he prevented Tannehill from getting hit from the left side while protecting him on roll outs, but he also contributed to the running game, creating holes for Bush (when in the game) to run in to.

    Mike Pouncey — A

    Pouncey's progression from week to week since last year has been a joy to watch. Every snap was clean, while the protection up the middle was superb. Miami could also count on Pouncey and the guards creating holes up the middle.

    John Jerry — B

    I only heard John Jerry's name once (a false start penalty in the fourth quarter). That's what I call progress for the often mercurial right guard. Today was his second good game in a row, and while the Jets threw everything they could towards the right side, Jerry handled it well.

    Jonathan Martin — B

    An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Martin in the second quarter backed up the Dolphins' punt team, but due to a roughing the kicker penalty on the Jets, this wouldn't hurt Miami too much.

    Other than that, Martin was solid. He's still improving, but he's improving at a much faster rate than I saw during the preseason.

Defense — B

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    Overall Game Grade: B

    Miami's defense held strong through most of the game. But thanks to some coaching gaffes on offense and special teams failure, a good defensive game by Miami (where they only allowed one touchdown) would go to waste.

    You could see the wear-and-tear on the defense as the game went on, but despite this they still managed to force the Jets to punt in overtime. I can't fault them too much for the last drive considering that it shouldn't have come to that and the Jets started off with good field position, but it would've been nice to see them get one more stop.

    Here's a look at how each segment of Miami's defense played on Sunday and why despite the loss, they graded out to a B.

Defensive Line

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    Cameron Wake — B+

    Cameron Wake doesn't have a sack yet this season, but it's not due to lack of trying.

    Wake (and the rest of the Dolphins defensive line) was in the pocket all game. He got two hits on Mark Sanchez and forced quite a few bad throws. He also racked up five tackles as part of a Miami defense that continues to stonewall the run.

    Jared Odrick — B+

    Odrick, like Wake, also made his residence in the Jets' pocket on Sunday, hitting Sanchez three times while sharing a sack with Olivier Vernon. Odrick only had two tackles, but was instrumental to a Dolphins defense that got stops all game.

    Paul Soliai — B

    Where would Miami's defensive line be without Soliai? He only had two tackles but was again instrumental in stopping the Jets' run defense. Trying to go up the middle? That won't work against Soliai, but all that you will be lead to is the awaiting arms of the rest of Miami's front seven.

    Randy Starks — B+

    Starks was outstanding again today, even blocking a potential Jets game winning field goal to give the Dolphins another chance to-

    Wait what's that? Philbin iced the kicker, thus nullifying the block? We'll get to that later. As far as what did count, Starks had two tackles, but one of them was for a loss, and created a brick wall that the Jets had problems running on throughout the game.

    Olivier Vernon — B

    Just think of that interception Vernon could've had in overtime somewhat makes me wonder if the Dolphins would've been able to get further into Jets territory by starting at midfield instead of starting at the Jets' nine. Does Miami score a touchdown, or does Carpenter nail a closer field goal?

    Either way Vernon can't really give himself too much grief over that. He had a very solid game in spot duty, sharing a sack with Jared Odrick while producing five tackles. I'd consider a move to outside linebacker for Vernon, and even almost put him with the linebackers while writing this report card since he did play some time in the linebacker slot.


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    Kevin Burnett — A

    You got to love a linebacker that gives you nine tackles, a pass deflection and the key tackle on a goal-line stand. Burnett had a fantastic game on Sunday and will be sure to put fear into the Jets come their rematch next month.

    Koa Misi — B

    Eight tackles (and one for a loss) are great numbers to see, but Misi didn't impress me too much. He missed about three tackles on the afternoon on passes and on runs that gave the Jets a few more yards (and at least one more first down) than they should've had. It wasn't a terrible effort, but it could've been a lot better.

    Karlos Dansby — A-

    Dansby's performance was a lot like Burnett's. The only differences I saw were the fact that Burnett had one more tackle and did a slightly better job of containing the intermediate passes. Nice game for Dansby all around though, and one he should be proud of.


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    Richard Marshall — C

    If we're looking at the first three quarters, Marshall played well. He managed to get a key interception in the first quarter, then played great while covering Santonio Holmes.

    But the fourth quarter saw Marshall fall apart. Holmes and Sanchez seemed to pick on him, and at times he got lazy—especially when he knew his receiver was being doubled. Very shaky game, a C fits him well.

    Sean Smith — B-

    I'd give him a better grade, except the Jets never seemed to throw it to his side. His main screw-up was in the 66-yard pass from Sanchez to Jeremy Kerley, but Smith did get two tackles and a pass deflection. Actually you could make the argument that I'm being a bit too nice to Smith, but the reason he didn't make much of an impact was because they never threw it to his side.

    Nolan Carroll — Zero

    I've never given anyone a zero, I figured I'd save that for the worst of the worst. Nolan Carroll definitely qualifies as the worst of the worst. Yes, he had as many tackles as Sean Smith, but he was not only picked on more, but also beaten a lot more than even Richard Marshall (and he was beaten a lot). Add in some dumb penalties, and you have the first time I've ever given anyone a zero!

    Reshad Jones — B

    Reshad Jones played a game that was reminiscent of what I've seen from Yeremiah Bell in his prime with the Dolphins. He was all over the field covering up for the lapses in the secondary. He recorded five tackles and even got a hit in on Mark Sanchez. Very solid game for Jones.

    Chris Clemons — A

    First let's start with the touchdown-saving interception. After Miami coughs up the ball in back-to-back drives, Clemons stemmed the momentum going the Jets way with his crucial interception.

    Now let's add the six tackles, a pass deflection, and even a key tackle for a loss that stopped the Jets' ground game. You have an excellent game from a player that I've had my doubts about in the past.

Special Teams — D

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    Dan Carpenter — D-

    I wanted to give Carpenter the F, I really did. His two missed field goals were the difference between a Dolphins victory and a Dolphins loss.

    However he did kick Miami into overtime, and the offense could've done a much better job of making it a bit easier on him. This doesn't excuse the misses from the normally reliable Carpenter (who I'm hoping doesn't pull a Pete Stoyanovich-1994 edition and starts missing normally makeable kicks, forcing a possible change of scenery), but it does add some context.

    This loss wasn't all on Carpenter, even though he had the biggest spotlight at the end. While like many Dolphins fans I wish he didn't miss the kicks, I do genuinely feel bad for the guy. Remember, he's been reliable for us in the past, and he could very well bounce back from this game.

    Brandon Fields — B-

    Usually Fields is guaranteed an A for the day he had (four punts that averaged 58.8 yards with his longest going for 62 yards), however I can't absolve him for his poor hold on the first Dan Carpenter missed field goal (yes it was poor, look at the all-22 cam if you have access to it and you will see what I mean). So I'm docking him from an A to a B-. 

Coaching — F

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    Overall Game Grade — F

    When you're up by a touchdown with less than a minute left in a half, it's not a good idea to run any plays; especially when you're getting the ball back at the start of the second half.

    Coach Joe Philbin leaving Bush in got him hurt, kept him out of the game, then lost us the game.

    But wait, I'm not finished with Joe Philbin, not in the least.

    Attempting a passing play on just about every play in the fourth quarter when up seven, resulting in a three-and-out? Not giving Lamar Miller the ball and instead making Daniel Thomas (you know the one he chastized on Hard Knocks and then fumbled the ball during this game) the primary running back after Miller ran for 48 yards on nine attempts?

    Or how about icing the Jets' kicker when you should never ice the kicker period. Icing the kicker is like taking Meth; don't do it, not even once, not even ever. It usually doesn't succeed, but when it does, you just look like a weasel.

    I was very disappointed by Joe Philbin's performance this afternoon. Now he did call some great plays on offense and tried to take advantage of the Jets not having Darrelle Revis. But, too many fundamental coaching mistakes, and that ever-annoying never working icing the kicker strategy backfired on him in the worst possible way.

    Joe Philbin lost this game for the Miami Dolphins, and whether you like him as a coach or don't, you can't get past that (and I do like Philbin). I mean, the man got laughed at by Rex Ryan!

    That's why he gets a big, stinking F, and he's very lucky I didn't give him a zero! I'm not going to do the overreaction thing and call for his head, but his decision making this afternoon left a lot to be desired.


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