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BlitzChick

The Bad, The Worse and The Worst

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All I can say about the physical 34-14 beating the Oakland Raiders took at the hand of the home team Miami Dolphins is that we played like we were a team that had lost the first 7 games of the season, and nothing to hope or fight for.

The truth is , we were fighting to stay in first place in our division and the loss today handed it to the Denver Broncos. That is the worst.

But let's talk about the game.

I know Miami has actually a pretty good defense. Their offense is coming along. However, there is no way that we should have been beat at the line of scrimmage like we were play after play on both sides of the ball.

The blitzing and stunts we tried failed all but once.

We could not give Carson Palmer, for the second week in a row, time to throw.

And the game plan? I am trying to think if there was one.

Somehow running Michael Bush up the middle time and time again did not make sense to me. We did run 2 reverses, I think we had one pitch out, but that was it. A conservative game plan again, just like against the Bears. I do
not think we used a no huddle offense until late in the game. And where was Marcel Reece all game? We waited way too long to use him.

Instead we kept throwing to Kevin Boss, who not only had a case of the dropsies today, but seemingly was the one that tipped Carson Palmer's pass away for a pick 6 at a time when the Raiders still had a chance.

That score pulled the little wind created by a random hand fan right out of the Raiders' sails.

But it isn't like the offense did anything memorable anyway. Our first six possessions ended in punts. Our seventh drive ended in that interception I mentioned. We had another two drives ending in punts. Then finally we
scored on our last two drives. With quick passes, not throwing to Kevin Boss, utilizing Marcel Reece, and employing the no huddle offense. Kind of like how we beat the Bears. I question the strategy of waiting until the
fourth quarter to do most of that.

We didn't get beyond the 50 yard line until our fourth possession. And no, that was not hampered by penalties.

The longest drive of the day time - wise? It took us 10 plays to go a net 22 yards, (yes we took a 15 yard hit on that drive), and we took only 4:27 off the clock.Then we had that wonderful twenty second possession with the aforementioned interception. But we had 2 other possessions that lasted less than a minute , also. It was that bad.

What was worse? The defense seemed to simply give up.

Richard Seymour got himself ejected from the game, again. I still did not see anything that constituted a "punch", but that does not really matter. He did at least give an extra shove, and again, as I mentioned after a previous loss, he is a team leader and this is inexcusable on his part. It is almost as if he did what he had to do to get off the field because he did not want to play. Maybe next time he can just fake an injury. The way he was getting beat at the line, he had every reason to be embarrassed. I wonder if he was in the locker room talking about being disappointed again? Just to make sure the record is complete here, Seymour did not record a single stat worth mentioning. Not even a single QB hurry.

That isn't to say there wasn't plenty of uncalled holding by the Dolphins offensive line, because there was. But that doesn't mean the defense can give up, not play, have no energy... and all the bad and worse things that they did. Including just playing flat.

I guess I could go into the "distraction" of the Rolando McClain mess, but with seven solo tackles, an assist and one tackle for a loss, that is one defensive player that seemed on his game. Too bad he was only one of a less than handful that was doing their job steadily and seemingly with some effort.

Of course, being tired didn't help. The Raiders defensive players were on the field for 38:20. But then again, if they had actually tackled, not over-pursued, stayed in their gaps, perhaps they would have made more than a few plays that counted, covered a tight end on a pass play or 4, perhaps it wouldn't have been so bad. The Dolphins punted on less than half their possessions, and only once in the first half. They scored on half of
their possessions, and had moved the ball for at least one first down on the 2 possessions that ended the half and the game.

Some of this falls on the shoulders of the coaching staff. I do not know what team Chuck Breshnahan designed the defense for, but it sure as heck was not this Dolphin team. They had 209 yards on the ground. If they had 21 more yards, they would have had 5 times as many ground yards as we did.

Half time adjustments? Yea, try 2 touchdowns in the 3rd quarter, including one 91 yard drive. Both aided by penalties. Essentially there were none.

The defense decided to come to life sometime in the fourth quarter, basically when the the Dolphins had the game well in hand and the coaching staff of the home team decided to take less chances themselves. In other words, they didn't want to look like poor sports and run up the score.

I would say the same about the Miami defense, but I do think they wanted to serve a shut out, so while they seemed to be playing more of a prevent defense, the Raiders offense still was making plays. There was a busted coverage. There was an excellent play by Marcel Reece.

I do not know who I feel worse for, Carson Palmer who saw so many decent passes hit the ground, or Darrius Heyward-Bey , who had receptions taken away from his stats because of penalties. That's right, 2 holding
calls negated his plays. Of course, the same plays were taken away from Palmer. And Carson had the added joy of getting knocked to the turf because of foul ups in protection. Including one when Michael Bush stepped one way to get out of Carson's way, then could not get back in time to protect him.

Special teams didn't do too badly, other than one big kick off return coming back from the half. I thought I saw a couple of holds, but they were not called, and to be honest, I did not watch a replay. I was just so tired
of watching my team fall apart.

Poor Sebastian Janikowski, still hampered with that lingering injury, even was made the target of a joke by the the guys in the booth. In my opinion, booth monkeys is a term that suited these game callers well, as they took every pot shot they could, hardly remaining unbiased commentators. Damn aren't there any quality broadcasters any longer? I miss the days of Howard Cossell. At least he was even handed.

I could say officiating was not all that great, which it wasn't, but that is not why we lost this game.

I could say the defense played uninspired football, which is true , but that is not why we lost this game.

The Oakland Raiders took the field as individuals, not as a team. There were 11 men on the field that could not work together for the majority of the game, for whatever reason these players had. The guys that were supposed to be leading did not lead. Either on the field or on the sideline.
Coach Jackson looked shell-shocked, lost, and did not appear to know what direction to turn or how to guide the players.

I know we are missing key parts of our offense, but the whole next man up means someone steps the hell up, not look to a team mate to pull extra duty.

So for the first time this season, I am going to call out the guys that really hurt us the game.

Kevin Boss, who was supposed to make us forget about Zach Miller. Probably one of the worst games of his career, and he chose to have it today. The drops were crucial, but that tipped pass, which was probably not even intended for him, was just one of the worst plays I have seen.

Louis Murphy who did not fight enough and allowed himself to get pushed off, and rather than going for the ball, looked for a flag. PLAY THE GAME.

Richard Seymour , for the professional he is supposed to be, either has a hot head, or fakes it to get out of a game. Either scenario is not good, and makes me wonder if he is actually on Hue Jackson's "train".

Anyone on defense that missed a tackle by not squaring up, throwing out only an arm, basically that went through the motions.

The entire offensive line, from their penalties to their inability to create a hole for Bush, to their inability to protect Palmer, they all deserve to be ashamed of themselves. To a man.

The coaching staff that was as woefully unprepared as the players.

And now game balls, for the first time this season.

Darrius Heyward-Bey , who gave up his body more than once diving for a ball, including one tipped pass trying to get something going for the team. And not going after his team mates when his plays got called back. And keeping track of the ball even when he had a defender's arm around him.

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