The Dolphins came back to earth very quickly. After an emotional home opener against the New England Patriots, Miami traveled to Buffalo where they promptly dropped the ball.
It is easy to assign blame for the 29-10 loss. Special teams were far from special. The defense gave up chunks of yardage. On offense they simply could not find a rhythm. Any one of those reasons would do for why they performed so poorly. There is of course another reason. Emotion and Intensity. Buffalo had it, Miami did not.
It is understandable that the Bills had emotion on their side. The sale of the team had been finalized keeping the team in the Buffalo area, Hall-of-Famer Jim Kelly attended the game cancer free and if that was not enough the Bills honored beloved recently passed owner Ralph Wilson during their home opener. They came out of the locker room with all the emotion and intensity in the world, Miami simply never matched that intensity.
On paper the Dolphins have the better team, that only matters if you are playing the game on paper. Under Joe Philbin the team has struggled against teams playing with emotion. It happened last season against the New York Jets. The best way to combat that is to put together a solid drive from the get go. The offense did not cooperate for most of the first half, by the time the offense woke up it was too late.
As far as the actual on field issues the fixes are not that difficult. Both the special teams and the defense will be helped dramatically when Koa Misi returns from injury and Jason Trunsik can return to special teams where he belongs. While he did an admirable job filling in as a starter at linebacker, his absence on special teams was glaring. As far as the offense they need to regain the confidence they lost against Buffalo. Usually this is where I say “run the damn ball!”. While the ground game is essential it is the passing game that needs the boost. Starting the game with easy completions should let quarterback Ryan Tannehill get in a nice rhythm, something that was missing against Buffalo.
The sky did not fall last Sunday. The season is not over. Time to get serious and put in work.