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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins remembered who they were Sunday

Florida Football Insiders

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Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

There certainly was some good to be taken away from Sunday afternoon in Orchard Park, New York. No, the Dolphins didn’t get their first win of 2019, and may not win one the entire year, but they did some things well.

Unfortunately, as is the case with bad teams (and especially, really bad teams) you have no margin for error. And, that means when you start making them you are doomed.

That was the Dolphins against the Bills, remembering they are bad in the second half of a 31 – 21 loss.

Still, this is what it’s come to in Miami: finding parts of bad games/losses to try to compliment.

So, let’s go with the good, which included solid play for much of the day from veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick was 23 – 35 for 282 yards with a touchdown but also with a costly interception.

Fitzpatrick led two scoring drives in the first half that gave Miami their first halftime lead since December of last year. The Fins clearly had a chance to win for the second straight game.

But then, would come the bad.

Fitzpatrick’s pick came just two plays after the Dolphins had successfully gotten a first down on a fake field goal. That’s when the holder, punter Matt Haack, ran tough through the middle of the line and picked up the two yards necessary to keep the drive alive.

But, that’s when the “bad” Fitzpatrick appeared, as on first and goal from the two, he got hit, fumbling and losing 10 yards.

What came next, made every Dolphins fan (fewer and fewer these days) from Hialeah to West Palm throw something at their TV’s. This as, Fitzpatrick made the costly throw that’s plagued him his entire career.

He telegraphed a pass to the right corner of the endzone and Buffalo’s Tre’davious White jumped in front of it and kept Miami from getting any points.

Worse yet for the Dolphins D, they let Buffalo march 98 yards on them and eventually, quarterback Josh Allen hit diminutive receiver John Brown for a 20 yard TD. And, when Allen ran in the two-point play for the 17-14 advantage, Buffalo would never look back.

That’s because the Dolphins did what they’ve been doing all year- make crucial mistakes to cost themselves. This time, Fitzpatrick completed an easy pass to Preston Williams, but White hit him jarring out the ball and the Bills recovered the fumble setting them up at the Miami 16.

Allen connected with a wide-open Cole Beasley on a 3-yard touchdown three plays later, and Miami was once again in familiar territory- down 10 or more late in a game.

Yes, the Dolphins, and Fitzpatrick specifically, showed guts as he scrambled for a touchdown run where he lowered the shoulder at the goal line to get in. It was great admirable effort, and it’s being played everywhere on the highlight shows and the internet on Monday.

Still, it wasn’t enough, and only the “creative” 2019 Dolphins can find a way to turn an onside kick into a 45 yard return TD by the other team. Micah Hyde did that and things were finished, once and for all.

So, the Fins left Buffalo at 0-6 taking away some good from their Sunday.

Still, it’s little consolation at this point, as 0-10, 0-12 and worse, appears more and more likely

Miami Dolphins

Dolphins coach Flores already dealing with lots of 2020 changes

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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

For almost every NFL team not named the 49ers and the Chiefs, the draft evaluation process is now well underway, and most all teams are represented now in Mobile, Alabama for this weekend’s Senior Bowl. That includes, the Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and his staff (some of them brand new), who are taking it all in.

And on Monday night, Flores met with the Dolphins assembled media and beat writers about the changes that have already taken place within his coaching staff and how it will shape this offseason.

First, Flores took the drastic action of firing first-year offensive coordinator, Chad O’Shea, whom he had brought with him from the Patriots this past season. Part of that decision was based on Miami’s poor play offensively, but a bigger part is the person that Flores could bring in to run his offense.

That’s former Cowboys and bills head coach and longtime NFL offensive coordinator, Chan Gailey.

As we wrote when these moves were made earlier this month, Gailey has a long-standing relationship with veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Gailey was his head coach in Buffalo and also his offensive coordinator with the Jets, photo above,. It also further signals the Fitzpatrick apparently will be heavily involved in the 2020 offensive plans.

Speaking to the media and with the quotes being relayed via Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post, Flores emphasized that Gailey’s in-game adjustments and his ability to teach is what appealed to hiring him,

“He does a really good job of adjustments in-game,” Flores said. “If you’re playing cover one, he’s got cover-one beaters, if you’re playing zone, he’s got zone-beaters. If you’re diamond front he’s got his diamond runs. He’s a good coach that way. I think he’s seen a lot of football.”

“I know he’s a great teacher,” Flores said. “Just in my conversations with several players and coaches that have spent time with him, and that’s obviously very important. The first thing I should have said is that.”

Flores also is dealing with having lost defensive coordinator, Patrick Graham, whom he allowed to take the same job with the New York Giants. Instead of going outside for his replacement hire, Flores instead promoted from in-house with defensive backs coach Josh Boyer getting the promotion and much more responsibility.

As for Boyer, Flores said Monday night from Mobile,

 “He and I see things through the same lenses,” Flores said. “A lot of ways. He coached corners and I coached safeties and we spent a lot of time together. Defensive philosophies and fundamentals and techniques, the things we teach. We’re very much on the same page.”

Defense is obviously Flores’ specialty and Boyer is following his same path from when they were with the Pats. This, as Flores ascended from DB coach to defensive coordinator two seasons ago before getting the Dolphins job.

Miami will obviously have to remake their roster with numerous premium draft picks they acquired for this year and next year, plus, significant money under the salary cap for free agents.

And, all of that evaluation, including with Senior prospects practicing and playing this weekend, is now underway.

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Miami Dolphins

’85 Dolphins were part of dubious AFC playoff history

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans are looking to make NFL playoff history and join four other teams as the only ones to ever win three straight road games and make a Super Bowl. That’s when they take on the Chiefs Sunday afternoon in Kansas City.

And, longtime Dolphins fans will remember that they were on the wrong end of one of those teams who pulled it off for the first time in NFL playoff history 34 years ago.

That’s when a Raymond Berry coached New England Patriots team behind Tony Eason at quarterback and an opportunistic defense stunned the seemingly invincible passing attack of second-year quarterback Dan Marino and Don Shula’s Dolphins in a shocking 31 – 14 upset at the Orange Bowl.

To set the scene, New England had already upset the New York Jets at the Meadowlands in the AFC Wildcard game and then, gone out to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and defeated the Raiders, who were the number one in AFC seed, 27 – 20.

The Dolphins, who were the AFC Champs the previous year behind Marino’s record-setting passing season of 1984, had struggled just to make the Championship Game a year later.

That’s because the Cleveland Browns actually led Miami the previous week 21 – 3 in the third quarter before Marino and the offense kicked it into gear for 21 unanswered points and a comeback 24 – 21 win.

However, on this day, they made simply too many mistakes and New England made them pay, including grinding the clock with over 40 minutes of possession to shorten the game.

Patriots ran for over 250 yards on the withering Dolphins defense and Miami had six turnovers in all including two critical Marino interceptions in the defeat.

New England surprisingly led 17 – 7 at the half, when Miami’s rookie kick returner and former Gator Lorenzo Hampton fumbled, while being tackled. A few plays later New England scored on a 4th and goal touchdown pass from Eason to Robert Weathers with a stunned Orange Bowl looking at a scoreboard that read 24 – 7, Pats.

Marino led the Dolphins down the field and looked like he was going to get them quickly in the end zone and right back in the game. However, he threw a critical bad pass that was picked off by Fred Marion at the New England goal line to keep the Dolphins off the board.

New England worked another four minutes off the clock before missing a few goal, but most of the damage had been done with most of the third period was erased with the Dolphins down by 17.

The Patriots Mosi Tatupu iced the game with a 1 yard  touchdown midway through the final period and New England was on its way to a Super Bowl matchup with the Chicago Bears.

As you probably know by now, the ’85 Bears with their devastating “46 Defense,” Hall of Famer Walter Payton and brash quarterback Jim McMahon destroyed New England in the Super Bowl two weeks later.

Still, 1985 version the Patriots will always be remembered as a team that was able to pull off three straight wins away from home, including the shocker that ended Miami’s bid to capture the World Championship.

If you are wondering, the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, and Green Bay Packers have also all since done this “road trifecta” in the NFL Playoffs. However, in all three of their cases, they finished what the Patriots could not, by also winning the Super Bowl.

The most recent was the Packers and their 2011 postseason run that saw them defeat the Steelers to win the title.

So, on Sunday, it’s former Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill, RB Derrick Henry and the Tennessee defense’s turn to try to match what four others have done before them.

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