clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

10 Observations from the Dolphins Game...According to Hoyle

New, comments

What did you take away from the Miami game? Jamie Hoyle shares his ten takeaways from a sloppy, disappointing, even depressing must-win game.

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Yet another must-win November game in the Mike McCoy era ended in a gut-wrenching loss Sunday as the Chargers found yet another new way to lose.  Alarmingly enough, it wasn't about special teams gaffes or fumbles this time; it was about Philip Rivers literally throwing the game away with four fourth quarter interceptions.  It was ugly, it was painful, and oddly enough, it felt somewhat predictable.

So what can we take away from this game aside from the season being over?  Let's find out...

Tyrell Williams deserves a ton of credit. Despite clearly being less than 100%, struggling to get separation and not always being on the same page with Philip Rivers, the second-year receiver led the team in targets (11), receptions (5), yards (125), and scored a touchdown on a fourth quarter splash play.  What's more, the former undrafted free agent is on pace for an impressive 69-catch, 1100-yard, 6-touchdown sophomore season.  Not bad for a kid who was forced into the #1 WR role thanks to injuries to Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin...

55 snaps for Griff Whalen?  Really? Look, I realize the Chargers have been shopping the bargain bin for wide receivers these last few weeks, but does that mean Whalen needs 55 snaps?  The Dolphins showed the Chargers version of James Ellsworth no respect on Sunday, ignoring him on several occasions because they knew Rivers would rather force the ball to anyone else than play catch with Griff, and it paid off in the form of two interceptions.  Either throw to him or get him off the field - my vote is for off the field - because you're wasting those snaps...

I really hope Hunter Henry is less than 100%. Why?  Because if he's healthy and essentially being limited to a role as a run blocker, I have to question the handle this coaching staff has on its personnel.  No Allen, no Benjamin, they're forcing the ball to Gates at times, Whalen got 55 snaps, and they can only find 28 snaps and two targets for Hunter Henry?  Like I said, not exactly a confidence-inspiring piece of coaching...

Franklin, Fluker, Dunlap and Barksdale were victimized on Sunday. I realize I'm stating the obvious, but I thought it was worth pointing out how/why they were victimized from a schematic standpoint.  The Dolphins had Suh and Jordan Philips shade the guards, Cameron Wake and Mario Williams in the B Gaps and their outside backers over the tackles.  In other words, they forced Fluker and Franklin to block Suh and Phillips almost exclusively one-on-one and left Barksdale and Dunlap on an island with two rushers to handle off the edge.  The Chargers had no answer, and all hell broke loose in the running and passing game.  Based on the results, I'd say we haven't seen the last of this scheme...

Philip Rivers must be better.  I'm not saying he should be benched or traded, but I am saying this team can't afford to have its best player completely unravel in the fourth quarter like that.  There is no excuse for a veteran quarterback throwing the ball up for grabs on first a goal as he did early in the fourth quarter, and he also happened to miss what should have been easy reads on his second and third picks of the game.  The Dolphins scouted Philip perfectly, read his eyes and made plays when he missed his reads.  Not a good look and it has to stop...

Did the Chargers give John Pagano a lifetime extension and forget to announce it? I'm obviously kidding; I just can't think of any other reason why Pagano went from being ultra creative and aggressive in terms of how he attacked the quarterback against Oakland, Denver, and Atlanta to the boring, vanilla coordinator we've seen the last two weeks.  He's stopped pairing Bosa and Ingram on the same side of the line, backed off the stunts and games, and stopped mixing up his fronts.  It's almost as if someone Pags went from coaching for his job to auto-pilot at the end of a lost season...

I love watching Korey Toomer play football. Toomer once again led the team in tackles (11) and tackles for loss (3.5) and looked like a seasoned veteran doing it.  Not only is Korey evolving into a confident, reliable leader against the run, but you can see consistent growth in his pass defense.  While I wouldn't go so far as to suggest he'll supplant a healthy Brown or Perryman, he is certainly forcing his way into the rotation in 2017.  He also happens to be making the Manti Te'o decision a hell of a lot easier, and that's reason enough to be optimistic for next year...

Long live Brandon Mebane. Why?  Because that man is one tough SOB.  In case you hadn't heard, Mebane tore his biceps in the first quarter, told the training staff to put a brace on it and finished the game. Of course, he has since been lost for the season, but this team could use more selfless leaders like Brandon moving forward.  In fact, hearing about his exploits on Sunday makes it really difficult to not question the toughness of some of his teammates...

Is this the end for Brandon Flowers? The veteran corner was having another solid game Sunday when he suffered a concussion as a result of hitting his head on the turf while being blocked in the back during a Ryan Tannehill scramble.  He was once again making an impact versus the run and with one or two exceptions, held up pretty well in coverage before getting hurt.  While I won't pretend to have been his biggest fan over the last two years, I respect the work he clearly put in to return to form in 2016 and sincerely hope he has a chance to go out on his own terms, should it come to that...

Don't look now, but kids are making plays on special teams. Drew Kaser netted an average of 50 yards on four punts and downed three kicks inside the Miami 20 (11, 8, 5); I'd say his struggles are behind him.  We also saw Isaiah Burse, Dexter McCoil, Derek Watt and Joshua Perry join Darrell Stuckey in making key plays on special teams, all of which helped flip field position.  Just imagine where this team might be if these kids had made plays like this in the first month of the season...

Based on how things unfolded on Sunday, and how they've gone through the first ten games, I'd say the bye week came at a good time for fans and players alike.  We all need a chance to take a deep breath, relax for a few days, and put the wear and tear of a tough first half behind us.  Most importantly, it's time to #GetDownWithTheTank2.

Those were my takeaways from the game, let me know your thoughts in the comment section below...