To say the Miami Dolphins' home opener was one to forget would be a massive understatement given they were on the wrong end of a 35-0 score against the Buffalo Bills, and it unfortunately was a pretty well rounded effort.
But did any unit fare better than the others? Let's dive in with the weekly report.
Tua Tagovailoa never had much of a chance in this one because the Bills went after him early and hard. Tua was sacked twice on the opening series by blitzing Bills defenders, though the argument could be made that maybe he shared some of the blame on the first one because he held the ball a bit after Buffalo took away his primary target (DeVante Parker) with bracket coverage and the blitzer came from his open side. Tua's day ended when he was planted into the ground by A.J. Epenesa as he was delivering a fourth-down pass that went incomplete. Jacoby Brissett didn't have much better luck because he was under constant pressure as well. Brissett made some nice throws, particularly his first one to Parker when he sidearmed the ball to avoid the arm of an oncoming pass rusher, and was victimized by a few drops. But he gave the Bills an easy interception when he put too much air under a sideline pass for Mike Gesicki and failed to see cornerback Levi Wallace ready to pounce on the play. It's also not good when a passing game's longest play is 18 yards, though there should have been a 32-yard touchdown to Parker had he not failed to make an relatively easy catch. Grade: C
Myles Gaskin had a really nifty move in the open field on his 18-yard run in the first quarter, a play that tied for longest of the game for the Dolphins. But that was pretty it in terms of highlights. Sure, Malcolm Brown had a 12-yard run, but that came in the final minutes with the outcome long decided. The running backs didn't get great blocking but didn't a whole lot on their own, either, the best example coming when Brown failed to get the first down on a fourth-and-2 run in the first half. The running backs also appeared to have been beaten several times when they were asked to pass-protect. And to top everything off, Salvon Ahmed dropped an easy fourth-down pass to end the final drive. Grade: D
This, remember, is supposed to be a very good group; it was anything but against the Bills. It would be easier to find guys who didn't drop a pass than those who did, but the only one we can find was Jakeem Grant and he had a costly fumble after a short reception in the second quarter. On the play before Grant's fumble, Albert Wilson dropped an easy pass in the flat that would have produced a first down and maybe even a touchdown. And that was on the drive when Parker failed to make the end zone catch. And Jaylen Waddle had two drops and Wilson had another drop later as well. Preston Williams didn't have a clear drop, but he also failed to make a contested catch on a fourth-and-2 when he ran his crossing route short of the first-down marker and he would have been tackled short even if he had made the catch. So, yeah, this was bad. Grade: D-
Mike Gesicki resurfaced in the passing game after going without a catch against New England, making three receptions for 41 yards. He did a nice job of going low on a couple of his catches. Cethan Carter caught the one pass thrown his way, though he took a big shot at the end of it. Durham Smythe was not targeted but had a false-start penalty. He did have a nice block on Gaskin's 18-yard run, though. Adam Shaheen had a catch, but it was nullified by a penalty. Grade: C-
We could go over everything that went wrong, but it would take up too much space. Let's just say it was a rough outing for this group. Austin Jackson, Solomon Kindley and Jesse Davis all looked particularly shaky in pass protection, though it's probably fair to suggest nobody had a good game in that department. Jackson also was flagged for being illegally downfield, while Hunt had two false starts. Dolphins quarterbacks were sacked six times and pressured countless other times, and while it's not all on the O-line, that group clearly was the biggest culprit. And the run blocking wasn't anywhere near good enough to make up for lack of pass protection. Grade: F
We'll start with a general statement about the defense and that it wasn't nearly as bad as the 35 points allowed might suggest. In fact, the defense multiple opportunities to climb out of the 14-0 hole, though the offense just couldn't get it done. Emmanuel Ogbah was by far the most visible Dolphins defensive lineman, as he finished with three QB hits and shared the team's only sack with Andrew Van Ginkel. Zach Sieler also had a solid outing, but Christian Wilkins did little of note outside of batting down a pass at the line of scrimmage and Adam Butler was largely a non-factor despite getting the most snaps at the position along with Ogbah. Nose tackle John Jenkins saw limited action, but he got moved out badly on Devin Singletary's 46-yard touchdown run. Grade: C
After leading the team with 12 tackles at New England, Jerome Baker had a very quiet game against Buffalo despite playing almost every snap, although he did force a turnover when he knocked the ball loose from running back Zack Moss after a short completion in the first quarter. Van Ginkel probably was the most effective linebacker (two QB hits) because Brennan Scarlett and Jaelan Phillips did little of consequence in limited action and Sam Eguavoen got very little playing time, though he did force an incompletion with pressure. Elandon Roberts also didn't get that many snaps (19) and is one play that stood out came when he had that nasty goal-line collision with Zack Moss on Moss' second touchdown that left him a bit banged up. Grade: C
Josh Allen passed for only 179 yards, so it's not like he lit up the Dolphins secondary, and Xavien Howard did come up with yet another fantastic interception. Jevon Holland had a productive game with a fumble recovery and two QB hits in only his second NFL game, though he failed to slow down Moss on his first touchdown run. Brandon Jones led the team in tackles with five, but he got himself out of position on Singletary's long touchdown run. Byron Jones had a really game in coverage with two pass breakups. Howard's second half wasn't nearly as good as his first, as he was flagged for holding, failed to come up with what should have been an easy interception, and then gave up a 41-yard completion despite good coverage when his misstep kept him from being able to jump at the right time. Overall, though, this was not a bad performance against a very good passing game. Grade: B-
This didn't start out well for the Dolphins, who gave up a 20-yard return after a 48-yard punt by Michael Palardy after their first drive. The other notable play, of course, was the fumble by Jaylen Waddle when he muffed a punt, recovered and then lost the ball when tackled. The one good play on special teams was Jakeem Grant's 31-yard kickoff return, but since he fielded the ball 5 yards deep into the end zone, the Dolphins got the ball only at their 26 instead of the 25 for a touchback. Jason Sanders was not used outside of the second-half kickoff, though one wonders why the Dolphins didn't have him try a 56-yard field goal attempt late in the first half instead of punting from the Buffalo 38. Grade: D