While an opening win by blowing out your opponents is a nice way for the Miami Dolphins players to welcome Dan Campbell to the head coaching position, it was just the Tennessee Titans they beat.
It did turn into a blowout, beating the Titans 38-10, but it’s a 1-4 (now) team with a rookie quarterback, who shined in a win against another atrocious team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but has looked mediocre at best in the rest of this season’s games.
And even against that opponent, Ryan Tannehill managed to throw two interceptions, the protection around the quarterback was far from perfect and the Dolphins are far from the place they wanted to be in when this season began.
One thing that was impossible not to notice was the aggressiveness. The Dolphins were being blamed for playing too softly in the opening weeks under Joe Philbin. Some accused Olivier Vernon of intentionally injuring Marcus Mariota, although Mariota himself said he didn’t feel like there wasn’t anything malicious about the hit.
The Dolphins have shrugged off the notion that they were too physical, because there’s no such thing in football, and considering the main complaint about their football through the first five weeks was being soft and not showing enough passion, it’s funny that now they’re showing too much of it.
It’s not just the person on the sidelines that’s changed, although it does seem like the players feel more motivated now. The offensive philosophy was more about running early and establishing that before leaning too hard on Tannehill. They entered the game with the least rushing attempts in the NFL, but ran for 180 yards against Tennessee, with Lamar Miller going for 113.
Tannehill threw the ball 26 times, the fewest he’s had to all season. He completed 22 of those throws for two touchdowns but also two interceptions. Both of his interceptions were aimed at tight end Jordan Cameron. One of them was completely Tannehill’s fault.
The Dolphins have some catching up to do with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, while the class of the division, the New England Patriots, are still waiting for someone to come out and beat them. One win over a team as bad as the Titans doesn’t make the Dolphins the main challengers to division supremacy all of a sudden. It’s simply a small step in the right direction.