Final Game 3 Observations

CB Sean Smith

While all the attention of NFL fans seems to be focused on the controversial ending of the Monday night game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, there's still plenty to discuss when it comes to the Dolphins' most recent game, the 23-20 overtime loss to the New York Jets. So let's take a final look back at a game the Dolphins could have, probably should have, won.

• Of course, the simplest way to look at the game is to focus on the two missed field goals by Dan Carpenter, including the one in overtime. That miss, of course, came after Rex Ryan called a timeout to ice Carpenter, although the effectiveness of "icing a kicker" can be debated for a long time. I've seen two different sets of stats, one suggesting the method work, the other saying it doesn't. Without the benefit of extensive research, it's hard for me to believe than an NFL kicker will get nervous just because he has longer to think about a kick.

• What can't be disputed is the fact the Dolphins could have made life easier on Carpenter by being able to move closer after Ryan Tannehill connected with Brian Hartline for a 41-yard gain, the Dolphins' longest pass play of the season. But the Dolphins gained only 5 yards on a pair of Daniel Thomas runs sandwiched around an incompletion, which moved the ball to the 30-yard line.

• Not great complaint here about the play-calling, other than the incompletion was a low-percentage pass deep to the left. It was intended for Hartline, who was targeted nine times against the Jets but caught only one pass. This was the time for a higher-percentage pass.

• The same goes for the end of regulation when the Dolphins had a great chance to win the game right then but had to settle for a game-tying field goal after three straight incompletions, most of them coming on deep throws.

• Going for too much was just one reason Tannehill completed only 16 of 36 passes against the Jets, but nothing was as egregious as the interception he threw that was returned for a touchdown. On that play, he stared down intended receiver Anthony Fasano and safety LaRon Landry just stepped in front of Fasano for the easy pick. That's the kind of rookie mistake that Tannehill hopefully will stop making as he gains more and more game experience.

• Not that Mark Sanchez was much better for the Jets. He was only 21-for-45 and missed several open receivers deep.

• Then again, the fact that the Jets were able to get behind Dolphins cornerbacks Richard Marshall and Sean Smith is a bit troubling. Smith, in particular, was very lucky because he was beaten on double moves on more than one occasion but was saved when Sanchez couldn't connect.

• Sanchez, however, did connect on the key play in overtime after Carpenter's miss, the 38-yard completion to Santonio Holmes. The talkative wide receiver easily got by Marshall at the line, and Marshall couldn't even save himself by grabbing a hold of Marshall's arm.

• It was overall a pretty solid performance by the Dolphins defense, although the pass rush once again didn't generate enough pressure.

• Offensively, the running game again was impressive, although there were two major bumps. One was the injury sustained by Reggie Bush after he was off to another great start. Bush's injury came on a first-and-10 from the Dolphins 20-yard line with 36 seconds left and Miami with only one timeout left. It basically was a throw-away play designed to do nothing but kill the clock. In that case, the Dolphins would be been better served by just taking a knee. Then there was the fumble by Daniel Thomas on the first offensive snap after Landry's interception. It's now two fumbles for Thomas in two games (remember, he sat out the Oakland game with a concussion). That's a disturbing trend.

• In the big picture, this was a game the Dolphins should have won and a 2-1 record would be pretty impressive at this stage. But, like Coach Joe Philbin said on Monday, that wouldn't have changed the fact the Dolphins would still need a lot of work. Let's face it, this is not a great Jets team the Dolphins faced on Sunday. And now they have to go on without Darrelle Revis.

• The Dolphins could much luckier with Bush, whose knee injury turned out to be minor. So there's that.

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