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Fins Dominate Line of Scrimmage, Stomp Patriots 33-20

It’s been over a decade since the New England Patriots lost their season opener. It happened back in 2003 and now again in 2014, courtesy of the Miami Dolphins. Few gave Miami a shot leading into this one, as they seem to be eternal underdogs when it comes to facing the AFC East powerhouse that is New England.

Sunday’s tilt started off in favor of the Fins after an early blocked punt by Dolphins LB Chris McCain led to a Lamar Miller touchdown. Things got a bit dicey for the home team after that, though. Brady methodically led his squad back up the field and had the Patriots leading the Dolphins 20-10 at the half.

Then, the second half rolled around. Whatever Joe Philbin told his players in the locker room at halftime worked like a charm. Miami came bursting out of the gates in the 3rd quarter, finally establishing a strong run game that has been seemingly extinct for over a year now. Once Bill Lazor and the offense began handing the ball off to newcomer Knowshon Moreno, the script flipped in a major way. Moreno began to gash the patriots for big gain after big gain and the momentum was clearly in favor of the Fins. The success in the run game was a sight for sore eyes for Dolphins fans. Last year, Miami only enjoyed two games where a single running back eclipsed 100 yards. In the week 1 opener, Moreno rushed the ball 24 times for 134 yards and a touchdown. While the run game did its damage in the second half, it was really that revamped offensive line that paved the way for the Dolphins victory. The offensive line beat down and bullied New England’s D-line, making them look withered and winded. Not even big Vince Wilfork could stop Miami from moving the ball, as the Dolphins went on to score 23 unanswered points after being down by 10 at the half.

Let it be known, the Dolphins don’t just owe this victory to their O-line but to the D-line as well. There’s no getting around the fact that this entire game was won at the line of scrimmage. Olivier Vernon and Cameron Wake made the legendary Tom Brady look like a rookie in week 1 with constant, unrelenting pressure. Cameron Wake broke through the line for a total of 3 sacks in the win. This helped Ryan Tannehill out-duel Brady and cause the future hall of famer to finish with only 249 yards and a lone touchdown pass.

Brady needs to man up and shut off the tear factory, it was one game.

If Miami continues to control the line of scrimmage this season, the team can certainly hope to enjoy a great deal of success. Even when Mike Wallace is dropping balls and Lamar Miller is fumbling, the battle at the line of scrimmage takes precedent and it is where the Miami Dolphins will live or die in 2014. When the O-line is performing well, it opens up the run game. When the run game is picking up big chunks of yardage, the passing games endures more success and Mike Wallace & company have a greater chance of getting open.

If this week 1 win is a sign of things to come, Miami should have no problem improving on last season’s mediocre record and making some serious noise come playoff time. For now, Fins fans are looking up and the future seems bright.

Miami hopes to continue its success next week in Buffalo versus a Bills team that stomped Miami twice last year behind backup quarterback Thad Lewis.

Miami vs Buffalo Game 2

 

Key Performances:

Knowshon Moreno: 134 yards, 1 touchdown.

Cameron Wake: 2 sacks.

Mike Wallace: 7 catches, 81 yards, 1 touchdown.

Miami Dolphins: Five Things to Look Forward to in 2014

The Miami Dolphins season is on the horizon and another shot at greatness is within reach. A fresh football season comes with new opportunities and a renewed hope for glory. Let’s take a look at 5 things we can all get excited about this upcoming Dolphins season.

1. Improved Offensive Line – It shouldn’t be news to Dolphins fans that, last year, Miami’s anemic O-line allowed a league-worst 58 sacks. The front line struggled mightily on and off the field. As if the 3.6 sacks allowed per game weren’t disappointing enough, the Dolphins organization was also rocked by a now infamous “bullying scandal” that wound up costing the team Richie Incognito at guard and Jonathan Martin at offensive tackle. Look for things to shape up this season for Miami’s front line. With newcomers like first round draft pick Ja’Wuan James, or as I like to call him, Ja’Wuanny Football, and veteran stalwart Branden Albert both signing with the team this offseason, Miami should have a good portion of their pass-blocking issues shored up going into 2014. This means that Tannehill should be given more time to work and the run game, including key offseason addition Knowshon Moreno, will have a better chance of breaking through to the secondary. The catalyst for any team’s offensive success begins with a sturdy offensive line and the Dolphins franchise, as well as their fans alike, hopes to see a moderate improvement in that area this upcoming season.

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2. The Tannehill – Wallace Connection – Up and coming franchise QB Ryan Tannehill and speedster Mike Wallace could never seem to get, or at least stay, on the same page last season. Balls to Wallace were often overthrown by Tannehill (albeit he was under constant pressure to get rid of the pigskin) and Wallace seemed confused about routes and play calls. As the 2013 season went on, the duo seemed to become more comfortable with each other, connecting on a few bombs that were sights for sore eyes for Fins fans everywhere. With another year of learning each other’s tendencies, studying the playbooks and building a relationship, these two look to be on the same page early and often in 2014. Wallace finished last season with less than 1,000 receiving yards, — somewhat of a letdown after high expectations for the former Pittsburgh wide out. With an improved O-line and more fluid offensive chemistry, the Tannehill-Wallace connection should have no problem hooking up for more big plays and improving on their 2013 numbers. Fingers crossed!

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3. Jarvis Landry – Speed. Agility. Toughness. Talent. Those are all words used by coaches and teammates to describe rookie Jarvis Landry’s game. Landry is coming off a season where he led LSU in both receptions and receiving yards in 2013. Jarvis will likely get some action as the 4th wide receiver on the depth chart but looks to make a bigger impact right away in the return game. The Miami Dolphins just cut consistently average return “specialist” Marcus Thigpen and handed the return-game reigns over to Landry. He is faster, more explosive and has a knack for making big plays, all areas in which Thigpen could never seem to deliver. Thigpen averaged 7.8 yards per return last season, which is maddeningly pedestrian. Look for the former LSU Tiger to have a strong season in 2014 and wow fans and teammates with his playmaking abilities.

In the meantime, check out this nasty 48 yard return for Jarvis Landry against the Atlanta Falcons.

4. New Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor – This offseason, the Miami Dolphins parted ways with offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, who was quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s OC in his Texas A&M days. After a disappointing season in which the Dolphins finished 27th in Offense, Miami turned to Bill Lazor to fill the vacancy. Lazor was the quarterbacks coach for that high-flying Philadelphia Eagles team last season. He successfully helped trained Nick Foles into a star after he replaced Michael Vick. Foles went on to turn the Eagles’ season around and win them the NFC East. Let’s hope Lazor can have similar success with Ryan Tannehill this season, who is certainly poised for a breakout year.

5. A Distraction Free, Post-Bullying Scandal Season —The #1 thing the Dolphins can ask for this season is a chance to focus on football without internal distractions weighing the team down. Last season, the unfortunate Incognito-Martin bullying scandal gained national attention and proved to be a major focus-breaker for an offensive line that was already under intense scrutiny for vastly underperforming. Miami’s front line had to battle a relentless media frenzy, constant alterations in positioning and opposing D-Lines that. Frankly, made them look like they didn’t belong in the NFL. All of that is in the past now. Ask any veteran or coach — locker room issues can become the bane of a team’s existence, crippling a squad from the inside out. This year, look for a more focused and disciplined football team that will attempt to capitalize on the addition of some new weapons, new coaches, and new offensive schemes. In 2014, the Miami Dolphins can look forward to focusing on what matters most — the game itself.

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Notable Mention:

The Cornerback Tandem of Cortland Finnegan and Brent Grimes –Finnegan and Grimes are looking forward to turning some heads this year. Grimes is becoming one of the most exciting young defensive weapons in the AFC and Finnegan is a proven veteran with an aggressive style and a never-let-up attitude that coaches and teammates love. They will certainly make their presence felt in the secondary.

The Miami Heat Add Andre Dawkins to Training Camp Roster

The Miami Heat added one of their summer league guys, Andre Dawkins, to their training camp roster. He’s a 6’4 guard, out of Duke just like Battier, Deng, and McRoberts, and shot 12 of 30 from 3 during the Heat’s Orlando Summer League.

His agent John Spencer said: “He had about 12 or 13 teams who had expressed interest, but we had already agreed a while back that he was going to be with them come training camp.”

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Then there is this really tough story that SI detailed, if you want to learn more about Andre: After personal tragedy, Andre Dawkins shares emotional journey

We’re looking forward to seeing what he can do and maybe he’ll snag a spot on the roster, but, its somewhat unlikely.