Is the Miami Dolphins’ offense overrated when it matters most? – The Denver Post


Take an objective look at the Miami Dolphins’ offense, the one that’s ranked eighth in scoring at 24.9 points per game, and you discover a dirty little secret: They don’t consistently score touchdowns against good teams.

Late last season, when the Dolphins’ defense got hot, outsiders said it was because they did it against a lineup of second-tier quarterbacks.

The Dolphins’ offense has done something similar so far this year, beating up on second-tier opponents.

For all the credit thrown the Dolphins’ way, and rightfully so, for coach Mike McDaniel’s creative offense, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s accuracy and receiver Tyreek Hill’s greatness, this offense doesn’t consistently score touchdowns against good teams.

It’s an affliction it’s battled all season.

Brace yourself for a slew of numbers.

— In seven games against teams with a .500 record or better, the Dolphins averaged 21.1 points per game.

Subtract the 42-38 victory over Baltimore, and the Dolphins averaged 17.7 points in six games against teams with a .500 record or better.

— In five games against teams with losing records, the Dolphins averaged 30.2 points per game.

Subtract the 16-10 victory over Pittsburgh, and the Dolphins averaged 33.8 points per game in four games against teams with losing records.

Unfortunately for the Dolphins’ offense, this week’s opponent, the Los Angeles Chargers, have a .500 record.

— Looking ahead, only one opponent among the remaining five — Green Bay (5-8) — is below .500.

The Chargers (6-6) and New England (6-6) are right at .500; Buffalo (9-3) and the New York Jets (7-5) are above .500.

It’s a tough road to the playoffs, and, yeah, the Dolphins will need more from their offense.

The Dolphins are 3-4 against opponents with a .500 record or better. They’re on a four-game losing streak against opponents that are .500 or better, and a three-game road losing streak against opponents that are .500 or better.

The reason the offense must do more is because it’s the Dolphins’ strength.

We all know the Dolphins’ offense struggled earlier this season. It scored more than 21 points just once in the first seven games, and that was the 42-point outburst in Baltimore.

Then, for a stretch, the offense got hot, scoring more than 30 points per game in four consecutive games against struggling teams — Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland and Houston.

But last week the offense regressed with 17 points in a 33-17 loss to San Francisco.

The Dolphins’ offense must find a way to score more touchdowns.

The Dolphins’ 24 touchdowns, two of which are by the defense, rank fourth in the NFL.

However, in those seven games against teams with a .500 record or better, the Dolphins’ offense has scored more than two touchdowns only twice — six against Baltimore and three against Buffalo. In the other five games, the offense produced two touchdowns against the Jets, Vikings and 49ers, and one touchdown against the Patriots and Bengals.

None of this is meant to rip the Dolphins’ offense, or insinuate the Dolphins have a bad offense, or that the offense is overrated. This isn’t an offense vs. defense thing. And it’s not anti-Tua, anti-McDaniel, or anti-anything.

All of this simply adds up to the fact the Dolphins need more touchdowns from their offense when they play quality opponents.

Whether you consider the Chargers a quality opponent is debatable.

Yes, they’re a .500 team, but they’re 14th in scoring (22.7 ppg) and 30th in points allowed (25.8 ppg).

But when you consider the Dolphins’ offense might be without left tackle Terron Armstead, all bets are off. Pass protection suffers when he doesn’t play. So does run blocking.

Speaking of the run, it would help greatly if the Dolphins could run the ball. They’re 28th in rushing at 89.7 yards per game. Their 269 attempts are 30th.

Meanwhile, their 430 passing attempts are 12th. It’s a fairly predictable offense from that standpoint.

You could argue the run-pass disparity indicates the Dolphins’ offense is playing to its strength, which is a good thing. And we know the Dolphins’ offense is better than the defense, so again, go to your strength.

Let’s not let the defense off the hook. It must also be better. The defense has allowed at least 27 points in every road game this season. With Sunday’s game against the Chargers being on the road, this trend needs to change quickly.

The bottom line is the Dolphins’ offense needs to score more touchdowns in these remaining five games, which are mostly against winning teams.

You don’t want to think about the, “or else…”



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