Sunday Rewind: Dolphins with a Total Bush Win over Raiders
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Sometimes we over-think simple things, and football coaches are as guilty of this as anyone.
The Dolphins were trailing the Raiders 10-7 midway through the third quarter in a game Oakland thoroughly dominated after Miami’s opening touchdown drive. A drive which prominently featured Reggie Bush.
With the game starting to slip away for the home side, the light bulb finally flickered on for Dolphins coach Joe Philbin. “Oh yeah, I have a rookie quarterback who’s basically looking to Brian Hartline on every play like he’s vintage Jerry Rice and I just remembered that our best player is Reggie Bush. Lets give him the ball a bunch of times.”
So they did, and then Bush exploded for a couple of long touchdown runs, breaking a couple of tackles on the first and executing the ol’ USC “student body left” to perfection on his second, en route to 172 yards for the game.
Bush finished with 197 total yards from scrimmage and it mystifies me why Darren McFadden went so high in so many fantasy drafts while Bush was typically available in the fifth or sixth round. McFadden is extremely fragile, has a worse run blocking line in front of him and is always running out of bounds to avoid contact.
McFadden wanted no part of running up the gut, and while that criticism was true of Bush early in his career, he’s matured as a running back and is now comfortable churning out tough yardage in addition to making highlight plays.
Meanwhile, the coaching staff simplified things for Tannehill, using plenty of play-action and giving him a lot of plays where only two guys went out on routes. There weren’t too many plays where Hartline wasn’t the primary read, and more often than not he was open against Oakland’s woeful secondary.
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In an example of stats sometimes being deceiving, even though there was only one sack in the game, both defensive fronts generated a tremendous amount of heat on the quarterbacks, especially on obvious passing downs. There were many near sacks and throwaways in the game and I thought both QBs did well to avoid negative plays.
Carson Palmer only completed half of his 48 passes on the day for 373 empty yards, but while he’s been mostly a train wreck for the Silver & Black, I don’t think he deserves any blame for this loss. His line gave him zero protection, McFadden couldn’t have been more useless and he basically had three guys in his face after the snap on every play.
The Dolphins don’t have many big names on defense, but that unit is going to keep the team in games and they figure to be quite competitive with their running prowess (263 rushing yards against Oakland) and soft schedule. It’s perfectly in keeping with the franchise’s history to field great no-name defenses and that tradition is alive and well.
The Raiders, meanwhile, continue to be a mess, and that’s also in keeping with their history, at least as far as the last decade is concerned.
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