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
Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa present to start NFL combine
The NFL Scouting Combine is getting underway in Indianapolis this week and on Monday morning, one of the prized quarterbacks that will be available early in the first round of the draft was there for official measurements and to meet with teams.
Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, whose season ended with a fractured hip last November, is on the road to recovery and he was officially measured and also, met with numerous teams that are looking at the possibility of drafting him:
Tua Tagovailoa measured at 6-0, 217 pounds at the NFL combine today. Left throwing hand at 10”
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) February 24, 2020
In addition to not only the injured hip, but also a history of high ankle sprain problems, Tagovailoa has got to answer critics on his size. At just 6 – 0 feet there will be concerns about his ability to clearly see downfield through the massive bodies on NFL Sundays.
However, this can be combated by moving him around out of the pocket and that’s something that Alabama was successful at doing over his three years as well.
As we wrote recently, Tagovailoa was injured in Alabama’s 10th game of the season suffering a fractured hip on a sack late in the first half at Mississippi State. He missed the Tide’s final two regular-season games and then, their Citrus Bowl win January 1st, over Michigan
He came to Alabama from Hawaii and the same high school as Marcus Mariota, having thrown for over 8,000 yards which at that time was a Hawaii High School record. And, he had a career of 84 passing and 27 rushing touchdowns in three seasons.
Tua burst onto the scene nationally, when he relieved Jalen Hurts in the second half and overtime of Alabama’s thrilling title game win over Georgia in the 2018 College Football Playoff Championship Game. Tagovailoa threw the game-winning touchdown pass on the first overtime possession, as Alabama celebrated their fifth National Title in nine seasons under Saban.
In his second season at the helm in the 2018 regular season, Tagovailoa was named second-team AP All-American and was a Heisman Trophy finalist, as the Tide reached the National Title game, again, before being beaten soundly by Clemson 12 months ago.
As this junior season unfolded, Tagovailoa was named almost became synonymous with the Dolphins, who started the season horribly at 0 – 7 and the moniker “Tank for Tua” began to gain momentum in South Florida.
Tagovailoa is obviously on the Dolphins list to look at strongly to select in the top five in the draft and currently, Miami is slated to pick fifth.
It is expected that Tagovailoa will work out for teams probably later in March or maybe even, early April at the Tide’s facility in Tuscaloosa, prior to the NFL draft coming to Las Vegas.
Colorado announced hire of Dolphins assistant Dorrel Sunday
Former UCLA coach and recently promoted Dolphins assistant Karl Dorrell is headed back to college, as the new head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes.
The school confirmed Dorrell’s hire on Sunday evening with a five-year contract to take over their Big 12 program:
We'd like to officially introduce you to our new HC, Karl Dorrell.
— Colorado Buffaloes Football (@CUBuffsFootball) February 23, 2020
The Buffaloes have been seeking a head coach since there coach Mel Tucker abruptly left to take the Michigan State job earlier this month.
Dorrell came to the dolphins with Brian Flores this past season, as wide receiver coach and earlier last week was promoted to assistant head coach for the upcoming season. Miami’s top receiver, DeVante Parker, blossomed under Dorrell’s tutelage as the year went on. He finished the season with 72 catches for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns becoming the favorite target of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Dorrel is the latest Dolphins assistant on the move. Flores fired the offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea he brought with him from New England. And, his defensive coordinator Patrick Graham left to take the same job with the Giants.
Dorrell had also been the Dolphins receivers coach, previously from 2008 – 10 and then, their quarterbacks coach in 2011 under the late Tony Sparano.
“I am excited that Karl Dorrell has agreed to become our head football coach,” George said. “Karl has had great success as a college coach, both as a head coach and an assistant, and he knows the Pac-12 Conference and West Coast well. It was important that our next coach have CU ties, and Karl has those ties having worked at CU twice previously. Karl shares my passion for Colorado and our vision for winning championships. He will be a tremendous mentor and role model for our student-athletes, and he will provide great leadership for our program going forward.”
The CU Board of Regents still have to approve Dorrell’s contract, which will be $18 million for five seasons.
Dorrell had previously been on Colorado staffs two other times in his career, including most recently as offensive coordinator under Rick Neuheisel from 1995- 98.
Dorrell was named head coach of his alma mater UCLA in 2003, where he lasted five seasons and went to a bowl game every year finishing with a career 35 – 27 record before being fired after the 2007 season.
Dorrell had previously been receivers coach for the New York Jets 2015 – 18 under Todd Bowles (above) and two of his receivers had made the Pro Bowl during his time there.
Colorado picked Dorrell from an interview process that also included former Buffaloes player and Kansas City Super Bowl offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, who interviewed and was under strong consideration.