When the Miami Dolphins lost starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the season to an ACL injury and talked Jay Cutler out of retirement, there was hope that Cutler’s knowledge of coach Adam Gase’s system plus an impressive cadre of teammates on offense led to hope that Miami would be fine.
That has not been the case.
The Dolphins were shut out by the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in a penalty-flag-filled game in London, 20-0. They’ve scored just six total points over their past eight quarters (they scored a last-second touchdown against the New York Jets last week to avoid being shutout and missed the extra point), and if not for a missed field goal by Los Angeles Chargers rookie Younghoe Koo in Week 2, they would be 0-3.
It’s the first time Miami has been shut out since Week 16 of the 2013 season, and the first time in 19 games in London that there has been a shutout.
The Saints, for the record, came into the game with the 31st-ranked defense in the NFL in terms of yards allowed, and have been no better than 28th in the league in that category over the last three years.
Cutler and Miami started off well against the Saints, taking over eight minutes off the clock in 12 plays, moving the ball despite their coach-to-quarterback communication system being down and Cutler having to trot to the sideline to get plays from Gase.
But on first-and-goal from the Saints’ 4, Cutler attempted an end zone corner fade for Julius Thomas that was picked off by cornerback Ken Crawley.
It was all downhill from there; Miami didn’t cross midfield during any of the eight possessions it had the rest of the game. After picking up six first downs on that initial drive, it had just five the rest of the game. The Dolphins converted just one of eight third-down tries, and are now an abysmal 7-for-33 on third down for the season.
They’re only three games into the season, but Cutler – who was the definition of disinterested during an early Wildcat play – isn’t in danger of losing his job, at least not yet. Gase told reporters after the loss he won’t be changing to Matt Moore.
The Dolphins’ defense is doing its job, for the most part; the Saints and Jets each had 20 points, while the Chargers had 17. Allowing 57 points in three games is certainly more than respectable – 24 teams gave up more over their first three games (remember, Miami’s season opener with Tampa Bay was postponed because of Hurricane Irma) – but the offense just isn’t doing its part.
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