MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins managed to win the first three games of the season with a subpar running game and weak pass blocking. But Monday night, both of those elements came back to haunt the Dolphins as Drew Brees and the New York Saints took the Fins apart in a 38-17 thumping.
The biggest problem facing the Dolphins was the intense pressure put on second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Fins pass blocking gave up four sacks to the Saints' relentless pass rush. For the season, the pass blockers for the Dolphins have let Tannehill get sacked 18 times through four games.
Projecting that pace over the entire regular season would see Tannehill get sacked 72 times. No quarterback, no matter how tough, will be able to withstand that kind of punishment for an entire season.
Plus, as David Carr can tell you, getting sacked that much has a tendency to make you gun-shy and turnover prone.
Tannehill hasn't been doing his blocking many favors either by holding the football for too long in the pocket waiting for his receivers to get open. His receivers haven't helped him either by consistently getting open or catching the ball when it's thrown their way.
For the season, Tannehill has still managed to complete 65.5 percent of his passes for 1,076 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions. But, he's already been sacked half as many times as he was through 16 games last year, and he's only played four games in 2013.
The pass blocking wasn't the only thing struggling for the Dolphins. Lamar Miller ran the ball well at times, but since the Fins were so far behind he only had 11 carries in the game for 62 yards and a touchdown.
While the Fins had success running the left side of the line (11 rushes for 85 yards), the Fins couldn't get much of anything going on the right side of the line (7 rushes for 35 yards). Plus, the Fins have no depth behind Miller because Daniel Thomas mustered just 4 rushes for 5 yards in the game.
The Fins did have one area to hang its hat on in the game against the Saints. New Orleans had almost no success running the football either. The Saints rushed the ball 24 times for 68 yards (2.83 yards per carry) and one touchdown in the game.
It didn't matter in the end because Brees was brutally efficient in the game, completing 77 percent of his passes for 413 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions, while only getting sacked twice.
While the Dolphins struggled in many areas, it's only one loss on the season and it has zero bearing on the team's playoff chances in the AFC. Still, it exposed many flaws in the Fins' game, but not many teams have a quarterback as good as Drew Brees when it comes to exploiting those flaws.
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