NFL Wire News

Philbin stresses patience following Dolphins’ slow start

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The Sports Xchange

DAVIE, Fla. — Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, whose team was trampled by the Buffalo Bills, 41-14, in a lackluster performance on Sunday, has incensed the fan base with the team’s disappointing 1-2 start. Philbin tried to urge calmness Monday.

“It’s not a time to panic,” he said.

Miami hasn’t played well in any game this year, not the victory at the Washington Redskins and certainly not the losses at the Jacksonville Jaguars and at home to Buffalo.

But there’s no indication yet that owner Steve Ross, who extended Philbin’s contract one year through 2016 in December, is ready to make a change.

The Dolphins could win this week’s game against the New York Jets in London, climb to 2-2 heading into the bye week and have hope for earning their first playoff berth since 2008.

But reality says that will be difficult.

Miami’s celebrated defensive line didn’t produce a sack against Buffalo and contributed heavily to the defense allowing 151 rushing yards.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, signed a $114 million contract during the offseason, has seven tackles and no sacks. The defense as a whole has one sack through three games and has allowed at least 120 yards rushing each game.

The offensive line, which was missing left tackle Branden Albert (hamstring), allowed two sacks and lots of pressure. And while Miami rushed for 102 yards, it only had 19 rushing yards at halftime.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw three interceptions and no touchdowns, and had a miserable 59.7 passer rating. He even had a pick-six.

Special teams, while having a 69-yard punt return touchdown by Jarvis Landry, has a missed field goal, missed extra point and a running into the punter penalty that extended a drive that led to a touchdown.

Philbin, now 24-27 in three-plus seasons, said the Dolphins were “outplayed and outcoached” by the Bills. But despite the disastrous start to the season, his message is there’s still time to turn things around.

“We’ve played 19 percent of the season,” he said. “There are 13 games left to play. We’re not getting 53 new players. We’re not getting 24 new coaches in here.

“We’re either going to find the solutions to these problems, or we’re not. We are going to stick together, or we’re not.”

REPORT CARD vs. BUFFALO

–PASSING OFFENSE: D. The only redeeming grace was WR Rishard Matthews (six receptions, 113 yards, 2 TDs). QB Ryan Tannehill (3 INTs) was bad, the pass protection (two sacks, constant pressure) was bad, and the game plan was bad. It seemed the only strategy was throwing to WR Jarvis Landry underneath and seeing if he could get yards after catch.

–RUSHING OFFENSE: F. This never got going, which has been the case all season. Miami falls behind early and then decides it needs to pass to catch up. The result is an unbalanced offense that ignores the run game. RBs Lamar Miller (seven carries, 38 yards) and Jonas Gray (nine carries, 49 yards) barely were a factor even when they got the ball because there weren’t many holes.

–PASS DEFENSE: F. Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (21-for-29, 277 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) had a career-best 136.7 passer rating. Miami had no sacks and allowed TE Charles Clay five receptions for 82 yards, including a 25-yard TD in which there were three missed tackles. The Dolphins’ defensive line/pass rush was ineffective, and its secondary was burned repeatedly, particularly CB Brice McCain.

–RUSH DEFENSE: F. Miami allowed Buffalo 151 yards rushing, meaning the Dolphins have allowed at least 120 yards rushing in all three games. RB Karlos Williams (12 carries, 110 yards, 1 TD) had a 41-yard touchdown run to cap the scoring, which meant it was pretty much a wire-to-wire disaster for Miami. SS Reshad Jones (team-best nine tackles) was solid once again. MLB Kelvin Sheppard (six tackles) showed life, but not enough.

–SPECIAL TEAMS: C-minus. Rookie K Andrews Franks missed an extra point, and the Dolphins had a 5-yard running into the punter penalty that resulted in a first down and eventually a touchdown in the third quarter. P Matt Darr (four punts, 49-yard average) had a good day. KOR Damien Williams (two returns, 22.5 yards per return) was productive. But the miscues were costly.

–COACHING: F. Joe Philbin’s team came out flat, falling behind 27-0 at halftime. They again abandoned the run early in the game, and the defense wasn’t able to dial up pressure on the QB. And there were special teams blunders. No unit performed well in this game, and because of that you would have to think there were some errors in preparation.


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