Dolphins 2021 Week 3 Report Card

Breaking down how each position group performed during the 31-28 overtime loss against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium
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The Miami Dolphins put forth a much better effort against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3 than they did a week earlier, though it featured a pretty big lull in the middle of the game and the end result was a second consecutive loss.

Here's the weekly breakdown on how each position group performed:

Quarterbacks

Jacoby Brissett's first start for the Dolphins had its ups  and downs, though he deserved big-time credit for bringing the team back at the end of regulation and even in overtime after the Raiders kicked a field goal. His 27-yard completion to Mike Gesicki on fourth-and-20 in overtime was big-time stuff and he also made a nifty move on his touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Of course, it wasn't a flawless performance. For one thing, there were just an awful lot of short throws. Brissett badly missed a short swing pass to Myles Gaskin when the running back had plenty of open field in front of him and there was the throw to Jaylen Waddle on the safety when his pass was a bit high. Brissett's final numbers, including a 74.8 passer rating, probably didn't do justice to his performance. Grade: C+

Running backs

This was pretty much about Gaskin and Malcolm Brown because Salvon Ahmed was barely used on offense. Gaskin and Brown each had a nice run, topped by Brown's 24-yard touchdown but maybe not enough attempts in the final analysis. Brown also had a bad low-block penalty on the first drive of the second half. Grade: C+

Wide receivers

This was a nice bounce-back effort after a terrible outing against Buffalo because we didn't see any flagrant drops. Jaylen Waddle was a favorite target and he caught 12 passes, but those went for only 58 yards. And we'll take some points away from Waddle for jumping unnecessarily on the safety after not giving any kind of move to maybe try to push the defender off the line of scrimmage. DeVante Parker wasn't nearly as much of a factor as the Dolphins need him to be. Mack Hollins drw a DPI in the end zone to set up the game-tying touchdown and Will Fuller V added the two-point conversion and probably should also had drawn a DPI in the end zone in overtime. That no wide receiver had a gain longer than 15 yards is a problem. Grade: C+

Tight ends

Mike Gesicki probably was the best player on offense, finishing with 10 catches for 86 yards. The highlight, of course, was the overtime catch when he reached out and made a nice hands grab. None of the other tight ends caught a pass. The Dolphins averaged 4.9 yards per rushing attempt and there was some contribution from the tight ends. Grade: B

Offensive line

The Dolphins play-calling was very conservative against the Raiders and maybe some of it was due to what the Raiders were doing on defense but also some of it was attributable to trying to protect the offensive line. The Dolphins allowed only two sacks after giving up six against Buffalo, though Brissett was pressured fairly consistently. Austin Jackson and Jesse Davis deserve major kudos for the gaping hole they create on Brown's touchdown run, but Jackson again had issues in pass protection. But Liam Eichenberg and Jesse Davis each had worse pass-blocking grades against the Raiders, according to Pro Football Focus. The offensive line created zero movement on the fourth-down play when Brissett tried the quarterback sneak and again on the unsuccessful third-and-3 shovel pass to Gesicki in overtime. So, yes, there was progress, but still a lot of work to be done. Grade: C-

Defensive line

Zach Sieler had a really, really good game for the Dolphins and Christian Wilkins was a factor early on but not much after that. In fact, the whole line seemed to maybe wear down in the second half, and it's not a good sign that Raiders third-string running back Peyton Barber finished with over 100 rushing yards. Emmanuel Ogbah again had some moments in the pass rush, finishing with three quarterback hits. Grade: C+

Linebackers

Elandon Roberts had the big play on defense for the game with his 85-yard pick-six, which came as the result of great pressure from Eric Rowe and the Raiders tight end stopping his route. Roberts also later forced a fumble near the Dolphins goal line, though the loose ball went right to another Raiders player. The other linebackers were not terribly noticeable, though, even Jerome Baker had eight tackles and Jaelan Phillips had six in his most extensive action of his rookie season. Grade: B-

Secondary

Derek Carr passed for 386 yards for the Raiders, so the secondary will have to share some blame for that, though there were some completions made against good coverage. Brandon Jones had two sacks on blitzes, though had his issues in coverage. Xavien Howard uncharacteristically was beaten a couple of times by Henry Ruggs despite good coverage, though he did have a third-down PBU. Byron Jones and Nik Needham both had solid games in coverage, particularly when Jones was guarding Darren Waller. Rowe deserves a big assist for Roberts' pick-six because he forced an early throw by Carr. Justin Coleman had a rough game as the slot corner. Grade: C-

Special teams

Jason Sanders came up with the clutch 50-yard field goal in overtime (though it says here he never should have been called upon), though he did miss a 48-yard field goal at the end of the first half before making a 46-yard kick in the fourth quarter. Punter Michael Palardy had a relatively low net average of 36.5, but he did put three kicks inside the 20. There was no return of significance from either team. Grade: C+