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Overall Game Grade — B-
The Dolphins defense bended a lot this afternoon, as they gave up 462 yards of offense. Very uncharacteristically, they allowed the Rams to rush for 162 yards.
However in the end, the Dolphins came up victorious because when absolutely needed, the Dolphins defense came up with the stop, holding the Rams to only one touchdown on the afternoon.
Fourth Quarter — B-
Miami’s defense started the quarter with bad defensive field position to start the quarter. Despite this they started off the drive well, however a converted fourth-and-two from St. Louis managed to turn the tide.
St. Louis would gain 28 yards on a run from Daryl Richardson, then just as it looked like Miami would get a goal-line stand, Sam Bradford was able to sneak in a touchdown to cut the deficit to five.
A two-point conversion would cut the lead to three right after.
Miami’s next defensive drive would be the defining drive of the game. St. Louis started off backed up to their own three-yard line. However the Rams were able to use their short passing game to march down the field while doing a tremendous job of picking up on Miami’s blitzes early and often.
However St. Louis would be forced to settle for a 66-yard field goal attempt thanks in part to a key Olivier Vernon sack with 37 seconds left in the game.
Third Quarter — B
Miami’s defense gave Bradford plenty of pressure in the third quarter, however on one play while pressuring Bradford, he was able to find Stephen Jackson for the first down.
Later on in that drive, Miami’s pressure would force a sack on Sam Bradford on a key third-down from the Rams’ 44-yard line. Bradford would fumble the ball, and it would be recovered by Miami, however the tuck rule would rear it’s ugly head, giving the ball back to the Rams, who would punt on the next play.
St. Louis would continue to gain yards on their next drive, however Miami would again stop the Rams at midfield on third-and-long. Jared Odrick would break up the pass on that play. Earlier in the drive, Sean Smith forced a fumble, however it was ruled an incomplete pass on the official review. I usually don’t complain about the officiating but, that was a bad call.
Second Quarter — D
Miami’s defense continues to squander great defensive field position, allowing the Rams to run roughshod on the Dolphins defense. On the first drive of the quarter for St. Louis, the Rams gained 57 yards, all on the ground.
Miami’s pass defense has actually been very good, managing to break up most of the Rams’ passes and get pressure on Sam Bradford. Olivier Vernon ended the drive and forced another Rams field goal attempt with a key third-and-eight sack on Bradford.
St. Louis would miss the field goal, the first kick missed all season.
The next Rams drive would again see them run up and down the field, however this time around it was the passing game that gained the majority of the yards. St. Louis penalties however did prevent the Rams from scoring a touchdown, as instead they would attempt another 52-yard field goal, that would again sail wide.
First Quarter — C-
Miami’s defense started off by allowing the Rams to gain 54 yards on the ground in their first drive of the game. The majority of those yards came on a 44-yard run from Daryl Richardson. This drive’s lack of success stopping the run came from the Rams’ offensive line overpowering Miami’s front-seven.
The drive would end in a Rams’ field goal thanks in part to a sack by Cameron Wake and Koa Misi that dropped Sam Bradford back four yards.
Miami’s second drive, set up by a forced-fumble on St. Louis’ punt return, fared better against the run. However they did give up a first down in the air, followed by a 65-yard pass from Sam Bradford to Chris Givens.
Miami would force another field goal once St. Louis got into the Dolphins red zone, but the two big plays given up in the first quarter are still inexcusable.
The Rams would again have a productive drive, however the Dolphins did wind up forcing them to punt.