Not to long ago, the defense of the Miami Dolphins was the strength of the team. In fact, prior to the Ravens game, I asked could the Dolphins defense be the real deal. Unfortunately now, we know the answer is no, they are not. The defense was previously ranked 12th in the NFL. Defense had been a major factor in their victories, especially in the comeback wins over the Falcons and Jets.
However, the defense has given up 133 points in their last 15 quarters. They have given up an average of 37 points in the last three games. Linebacker Kiko Alonso has been exposed in the last several weeks in pass coverage and run stopping. He, as well as the other linebackers were responsible for allowing Raiders tight end Jared Cook to destroy the Dolphins. They followed up a terrible performance with another one, allowing McCaffrey and Stewart to run wild on both run and pass plays. Panthers tight end Ed Dixon also had his way with the defense at times.
The Dolphins allowed a season worst 294 rushing yards as well as 548 total yards. Once the Panthers got rolling, they never stopped. The Panthers only punted twice in the entire game, and did not punt at all in the second half. The Dolphins could not get off the field on third down, letting the Panthers easily convert third downs and continue to march up the field. Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh were completely neutralized against the Panthers. Wake was able to get close a few times, however Cam Newton was often able to scramble away and make plays with his legs. The return of safety TJ McDonald did make much of a difference. He almost had an interception, but the ball hit the ground. He had several big hits, however, the receivers held onto the ball. While the fresh energy is always appreciated, it doesn’t mean much when the defense as a whole was assaulted.
The Dolphins clearly were not prepared for the all out attack from the Carolina Panthers. The defense has been exposed and embarrassed on nation television for the past three weeks. While they have a chance to get redeem themselves next week against a Ryan Fitzpatrick led Buccaneers team, don’t be surprised if the defense gets exposed again. At least this time, it won’t be on national television for everyone to see.