Dexter McDonald, Cory James
Jay Cutler looked like Dan Marino on steroids in this game. And in most cases, it was these two he gouged. James gave up the catch on Cutler’s first pass for six yards. McDonald gave up the second pass on third and 5 for 13 yards.
When the Dolphins got their first touchdown, it was off of a catch James gave up to Dolphins running back Damien Williams, but McDonald had a chance to stop it and Williams just bounced off of him and finished it off for the touchdown from ten yards out.
After the Dolphins’ successful onsides kick to follow, James gave up a 16-yard catch that put them in scoring range. It was only by virture of the Bruce Irvin forced fumble that they were held without a score.
The next time they would score, thanks first to Dexter McDonald missing another tackle on a ten yard pass and then on a pass underneath in which James and company were nowhere to be found and Mario Edwards had to make the stop. But that put them in field goal range and they pulled it to a 10-9 game.
Come the third quarter, the dolphins were really lovin’ it with McDonald. On the third play of the series, Kenyan Drake found a big hole and burst through it. McDonald had a chance to stop it, but Drake laid a vicious stiff arm on him to pick up 42 yards. A few plays later, McDonald was late to come up and cover Jarvis Landry to give up the touchdown from 6 yards out.
The final drive of the game it got really ugly. The Dolphins got the ball with 1:54 remaining and scored in :22 seconds. On three consecutive plays, Cutler threw McDonald’s way and he gave up the catch every time. McDonald surrendered catches of 14, 12, and 26 yards to put the Dolphins in first down at the 15. Then it was James who gave up the 15-yard touchdown catch. The Dolphins converted on the 2-point conversion to pull to within three. Fortunately, the bleeding would stop there.
On the first drive alone, Penn gave up two run stuffs and was called for a false start. The run stuffs put the Raiders in third and nine and the false start would help put them in third and 14 at which point they had to settle for a field goal.
Entering the fourth quarter, the Raiders had moved into scoring range at the Miami 33-yard-line when Penn was called for holding to move them out of field goal range and putting them in third and 14 (again). The ensuing play Derek Carr was strip sacked and the Dolphins took over (though more than that happened, more on that later).
The Raiders final scoring drive, Penn gave up a tackle for loss of three and luckily was given a chance to redeem himself by being among those who opened the hole for Marshawn on his 3-yard touchdown run. But that was one highlight in a day with several lowlights.
Ken Norton Jr, John Pagano
They made the washed up Jay Cutler look like Dan Marino in his prime. Cutler put up numbers he never had in his career. He completed 81% of his passes (a career high) along with 311 yards passing and 3 touchdowns with (wait for it) ZERO interceptions. A trifecta he had never accomplished.
The emphasis on not giving up explosive plays has led to receivers consistently being wide open underneath and finding enormous soft spots in the zone. It’s so bad sometimes, it’s hard to tell whose assignment it was. The dump pass that to set up the Dolphins’ first touchdown was one such play. There was no one there. The back should not be going for 11 yards and picking up first and goal before he’s touched. It happened again to set up their field goal on the next series, this time it was just a soft spot in the zone.
And the Dolphins going 83 yards in :18 seconds (!!!) on their final drive is inexcusable. Not to mention not having Justin Ellis in the game for their goal line defense on the 2-point conversion attempt. They just ran it up the gut and drove for the score. Too easy.
I really didn’t want to make him a Buster because of how much fun we’ve all had with his scoop and fumble play. But as much as I will never tire of that, he had a pretty bad day overall, so I must play party pooper. It was Newhouse who gave up the strip sack in the first place on that play. Then he picked it up instead of just falling on it, tried to run with it, and consequently fumbled it away again. What should have been at very least a punt, gave the Dolphins the ball at midfield.
Along with the sack, Newhouse gave up seven pressures. That isn’t good. He had some tough assignments against Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh, but still. Anyway, back to the fumble recovery and fat man helicopter. There’s even a T-shirt of it now.