What a game for the Miami Dolphins, as they go on the road and into the Cleveland Browns’ house and beat them down 23-10. The defense was relentless, and Ryan Tannehill was very precise. Coach Philbin outcoached Browns’ new head coach Rob Chudzinksi.
I predicted the Dolphins would win 24-13. I think I was pretty close.
I was watching at Beef O’Brady’s in New Smyrna Beach with my wife and my best friend and there was tons of shouts from me. Shouts of joy!!!
The Defense, Ryan Tannehill, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, Caleb Sturgis and Brandon Fields stood out in the victory..
I am going to start my game analysis with talking about the defense!!!
In my keys to the game in my preview blog, I called for the Dolphins’ defense to wreak havoc and create turnovers. They were exceptional!!! The Dolphins only had 10 interceptions last season and today had 3 (2 in the 1st quarter). The Dolphins were 8th in sacks last season, had 6 (5 in the 2nd half).
It started right in the 1st quarter (3:39) into the game, with the Browns’ driving at the Dolphins 40. Brandon Weeden looking for Travis Benjamin, throws into double coverage at that end zone and Cornerback Nolan Carroll, just stepped in from of Benjamin and made the interception. Watch here: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000239875/Nolan-Carroll-intercepts-Brandon-Weeden and http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000240570/Week-1-Dolphins-vs-Browns-highlights
Then, with 0.10 seconds left in the 1st quarter, Miami up 3-0 on Caleb Sturgis 45 yard FG, Weeden on 3 and 2 at their own 27, tried find Greg Little on a crossing route, Little tipped it up and Dimitri Patterson, playing against his former team, knocked up in the air, juggled it a little and then caught it cleanly as he went to the ground. They originally ruled it an incomplete pass, but Coach Philbin challenged it, and the call was reversed. The ball never hit the ground. Watch here: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000239968/Dimitri-Patterson-intercepts-Brandon-Weeden and http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000240570/Week-1-Dolphins-vs-Browns-highlights
The Dolphins converted that turnover into another Sturgis Field Goal. This time from 49 yard FG. I love this kid. He just booted it right down the middle.
With 8:17 left in the 2nd quarter, driving at the Dolphins 27, Weeden throws his 3rd interception. Again Dimitri Patterson intercepted it. The ball was intended for TE Jordan Cameron and he tipped it with his left hand, but it went backward and into Patterson’s hands. Watch here: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000240038/Brandon-Weeden-throws-3rd-interception
Dimitri Patterson became the first Dolphin with two interceptions in a game since Sean Smith did it last September 30th at Arizona and they were his first interceptions in a Miami uniform and first since 2010 when he played for Philadelphia.
For Patterson, it was sweet redemption. He was released just a few months after signing a three-year, $16 million contract with Cleveland. Patterson got an opportunity on Sunday to show the Browns that he is still a quality cornerback.
“It’s a good feeling,” Patterson said in the visiting locker room after the game. “I’m human at the end of the day. I want to come out and make sure I have a good game [against Cleveland]. But if I go out next week and have a bad game, this game means nothing.
“It wasn’t an all-in type deal, but it was a top priority for me to come out, play well and make an impact in some form or fashion.”
It was a near-perfect day for Patterson until midway through the third quarter. Patterson forced both turnovers in the first half but injured his groin in the third quarter and didn’t return.
“Honestly this had been bothering me since training camp,” Patterson explained. “I’ve been kind of maintenancing it. But it got kind of serious in the third quarter, so they were making sure I don’t pull it. But it’s nothing serious. I will be ready to play.”
When I followed up to ask Patterson about his status for Week 2 against the Indianapolis Colts. Patterson’s responded by saying, “No doubt about it.” http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/64465/dimitri-patterson-gets-revenge-on-browns
He had the 2 intercpetions and 3 passes defended before leaving the game with the groin injury.
At halftime, the Dolphins picked off Weeden 3 times, and gave up a TD. They harassed him and they covered well. Weeden was sacked once by Cameron Wake and Randy Starks. Trent Richardson main offensive threat as held in check. He had a few nice runs, but the Dolphins ganged up on him more often than not. 33 yards in the 1st half.
In the 2nd half, Weeden met the Sackmaster Cameron Wake 2 more times, Randy Starks once more as well as Rookie Dion Jordan and Derrick Shelby. I predicted Cameron Wake would get to Weeden 3 times. He did just that. He was credited for 2.5 sacks. I was shouting, “The Sackmaster is back and has done it again!!!” It was Wake 10th career multi-sack game. His 43 sacks entering this season were the most by a Dolphins player in their first four years. He had 15 sacks (career-high) last season. http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=330908005
Weeden was under duress all game long. His only target was TE Jordan Cameron, who caught 9 for 108 yards and a TD. He had a 20 yard TD to backup Gary Barnidge late in the 4th quarter called back to due a holding call by RG Oniel Cousins.
Once the Dolphins’ started scoring, Weeden kept throwing it. Richardson became a non-factor and the rest was history. Richardson had 13 carries for 47 yards and 2 catches for 30 yards. Davone Bess had 5 catches for 47 yards against his old team. That was it for the Browns. Weeden’s line for the day: 26-53, 289 yards, TD, 3 INT’s, 6 sacks, QB Rating 48.4.
The defense as you can see was fantastic, now it is time to tell everyone why Tannehill, Hartline, and Gibson were fantastic on offense.
This game was Tannehill’s shoulders all day because the Dolphins’ couldn’t run for jack nothing!!! I am dead serious. Lamar Miller was stuffed up like a Thanksgiving Turkey (Thank you Jim Carrey in the movie Liar Liar). 1st game of the year with a chance to bust loose, he couldn’t find any holes. He finished with 10 carries, 3 yards (0.3 Avg), 1 catch for 7 yards. His longest run was for 5 yards.
Daniel Thomas didn’t have luck either; 8 carries, 14 yards (1.8 Avg), TD, 1 catch for 5 yards. Thomas scored a 1 yard touchdown in the 4th quarter with 6:48 left in the game. That TD pretty solidified the win. Thomas jumped over his offensive line and dove in for the score. Watch here: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000240272/Daniel-Thomas-1-yard-TD-run
Miami’s run game netted 20 yards, the third-lowest total for a regular season game in franchise history. The team’s low-mark for rushing yards in a game is 7 yards on November 19, 2006 at Minnesota. http://www.miamidolphins.com/news/article-1/NOTEBOOK-Happy-Homecoming-For-Hartline-Other-Notes/704b6ff6-f08a-4e5d-8e86-1f662ab67e78?icampaign=web_bleacher
With no running game, Tannehill took over. He went 24-38 (63.2%), 272 yards, TD, INT, QB Rating 82.3, sacked 4 times, 5 carries for 3 yards. I predicted he would go: 22-30, 275 yards, 2 TD’s; 7 carries, 35 yards. Came close. In the 1st half, he went 12-18, 98 yards, INT. He completed his first pass to TE Charles Clay for 6 yards after Brandon Gibson dropped a pass during the 1st drive for Miami. He found Hartline 4 times, Gibson for 4 times. He didn’t even throw to Mike Wallace in the 1st half because Wallace was blanketed by Cornerback Joe Haden all half.
With 4:13 minutes left in the 2nd quarter, Dolphins driving at the Browns’ 40, Tannehill throws a fastball intended for Brandon Gibson and it was picked by Cornerback Tashaun Gipson. He returned it for 29 yards. Watch here: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000240063/Ryan-Tannehill-interception. The Browns scored their only touchdown on the drive. It was a Jordan Cameron 7 yard touchdown catch from Weeden. It came right before half-time. That was Tannehill’s only mistake.
The 2nd half was much crispier for Tannehill. 12-20, 174 yards, TD. Finally, during the 1st drive of the 2nd half, on the very first play, Tannehill tried to find Wallace, but under threw it. Is was too far to the inside and should have been picked off by Browns corner Joe Haden, who dropped the football. Two more deep balls fell incomplete, overthrown as Wallace had trouble getting cleanly into his route due to the coverage. Another ball was dropped by Wallace. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1766472-dolphins-vs-browns-takeaways-from-miamis-23-10-victory/page/7
On Miami’s 2nd drive, he found Wallace for a 15 yard gain and a 1st down. That was Wallace’s only catch of the game. He was targeted 5 times.
As I mentioned in the preview blog, Tannehill had to utilize Brian Hartline and he did. I predicted he would have 7 catches, 85 yards, TD. I came close. Hartline was Tannehill’s security blanket. 9 catches (15 targets), 114 yards (12.7 Avg), TD. With 6:46 left in the 3rd quarter, Tannehill connected with Hartline for the 6th time of the day. This time is was for 34 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown after Hartline put a gorgeous double move on Cornerback Buster Skrine. Watch here: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000240180/Brian-Hartline-34-yard-TD-reception and http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000240570/Week-1-Dolphins-vs-Browns-highlights
The Hartline touchdown was setup by Wake’s second sack. Wake’s second sack of the game on a 2nd-and-10 midway through the third quarter pushed Cleveland back into the shadow of their end zone with an 8-yard loss. His pressure on 3rd-and-18 forced an incomplete pass by Weeden.
That forced Browns punter Spencer Lanning to kick out of his own end zone and his 40-yard punt was fair caught by Miami’s Marcus Thigpen near midfield at his own 49. Five plays later, Tannehill connected with Hartline for the go-ahead score and the Dolphins didn’t look back. http://www.miamidolphins.com/news/article-1/NOTEBOOK-Happy-Homecoming-For-Hartline-Other-Notes/704b6ff6-f08a-4e5d-8e86-1f662ab67e78?icampaign=web_bleacher
Last year, Tannehill and Hartline torched Arizona’s defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s scheme for 253 yards. Once again, torched defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s coverage scheme to the tune of nine catches for 114 yards and a touchdown. Horton came to the Browns’ this year. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1766472-dolphins-vs-browns-takeaways-from-miamis-23-10-victory/page/8
For more on Hartline, read this article: http://www.miamidolphins.com/news/article-1/NOTEBOOK-Happy-Homecoming-For-Hartline-Other-Notes/704b6ff6-f08a-4e5d-8e86-1f662ab67e78?icampaign=web_bleacher
Fifth-year wide receiver Brian Hartline always loves coming back to Ohio, where he was born and raised, but he loves it even more when he can have the kind of afternoon he had today against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium.
After a suspect beginning to the game by the offense, Hartline and second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill got on the same page much like they did all of last season when Hartline went over 1,000 receiving yards to lead the team. The double move he put on Browns cornerback Buster Skrine with 6:52 left in the third quarter was executed to perfection and he gave Tannehill a nice target down the left sideline for the quarterback to drop in a nice 34-yard touchdown pass. That allowed Miami to retake the lead they surrendered at the end of the first half by six point, 13-7.
“I was just trying to do my part because I think we started kind of slow as an offense,” said Hartline, who led the team with nine catches for 114 yards for the fourth 100-yard receiving game of his career. “I was just there when the team needed me to move the chains and move the ball and I had an opportunity to make a big play and I was able to do it.”
Hartline also came up with three key receptions on the Dolphins’ second touchdown drive in the fourth quarter that covered 85 yards on 10 plays in 5:03, giving them a commanding 20-10 lead. He hauled in passes of 16, 7 and 11 yards to help set up Daniel Thomas’ 1-yard leap into the end zone.
When the Dolphins re-signed Hartline back in March prior to making the splash of signing Mike Wallace, it was touted as a pivotal move because he and Tannehill had developed such a good chemistry. Wallace was held to one catch for 15 yards by Browns cornerback Joe Haden and it turned out that Hartline needed to take on a bigger role along with the other free agent signee, Brandon Gibson.
“I think that anybody will tell you that we weren’t overly happy with out running game and that has to improve,” Hartline said. “Anytime they did a good job of stopping the run we started leaning heavily on the passing game, but really overall I’ve always just kind of planned on being there when the team needs me and I really don’t look into what’s the game plan and where am I going to place in it.”
The Hartline touchdown put the Dolphins up 13-7. The Browns did score a FG to make the score 13-10.
On the 1st drive of the 4th quarter, Tannehill, Hartline, Gibson, and Thomas help put a nice wrench the Browns’ hope to comeback. 11:54 minutes left, starting at their own 15, Tannehill connects with Gibson on the left side for 24 yards. Then he connects with Hartline on the left side for 16 yards. 3 plays later on 3rd and 9 from the Browns 44, he connects with Gibson down the right side for 14 yards. Then, he connects Hartline for 7 yards down the left side. 2 plays later on 3rd and 2 at the Browns 22, he connects with Gibson again for 6 yards. Next play, he connects with Hartline again down the right side for 11 yards. Then, a penalty on Cleveland, brought the ball to the 1. Then, Thomas jumped over his offensive line and dove in for the score to put the Dolphins up 20-10. http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000240272/Daniel-Thomas-1-yard-TD-run.
After the Dolphins’ stopped the Browns on downs, thanks to another Wake sack; the Dolphins ran the ball 3 times and Sturgis connected on his 3rd Field Goal of the day. This time for 36 yards. That clinched the victory for Miami because Weeden couldn’t do anything else.
Sturgis had some debut: 3 FG’s (45, 49, 36). He was perfect on his first three field attempts in the NFL and his 49-yarder in the second quarter that put Miami ahead 6-0 was the sixth longest by a rookie in franchise history. Pete Stoyanovich holds the record with a 59-yarder at the New York Jets on November 12th, 1989. His three field goals are tied for the second most by a Dolphins rookie in a single game behind the four field goals by Dan Carpenter on November 2nd, 2008 at the Denver Broncos. http://www.miamidolphins.com/news/article-1/NOTEBOOK-Happy-Homecoming-For-Hartline-Other-Notes/704b6ff6-f08a-4e5d-8e86-1f662ab67e78?icampaign=web_bleacher
Tannehill really connected with Brandon Gibson. He caught 7 balls (10 targets) for 77 yards. He had 1 drop. They sure didn’t miss Davone Bess.
This was a fantastic team win, but unfortunately, this was not the coming-out party that was expected for Wallace in Miami.
After the game, Wallace was noticeably frustrated, according to a tweet by Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald: Mike Wallace was angry at fact he had only one catch. Asked about the game plan, he responded, “ask coach not my game plan.” http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1766446-miami-dolphins-is-mike-wallaces-no-show-a-sign-of-things-to-come
Some more notes:
1) The offensive line played suspect. The 4 sacks was a little disconcerning and the running game was nowhere. They kept Tannehill pretty much upright and he took advantage.
2) Brandon Fields was super. 5 punts (53.8 Avg), 2 balls inside of the 20.
3) The new linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler combined for 12 tackles (6 each). Ellerbe had 4 Solo tackles and 2 assisted. Wheeler had 6 Solo tackles and 1 pass defended. These guys have to be able cover the Tight Ends better. Jordan Cameron played fantastic, so they need to be aware of these athletic tight ends.
4) Reshad Jones had 6 Solo Tackles
5) Penalties (10) is way too many. 1 cost Marcus Thigpen a punt return for a score.
6) 6-12 on 3rd down is ok.
On days like this, you can’t please everyone. Tannehill looked fantastic and the defense was super. The game plan was executed fine. I wish they would have targeted Wallace more. Also, I would like to see RB Mike Gillisee play. Another speedster out of the backfield. Otherwise, how about them Dolphins!!
Next week, they face Andrew Luck and the Colts.
About the Author
Written by Daniel Saviuk
My name is Daniel. I love the Miami Dolphins (been a fan since I was 10)...