On Sunday, Sept. 29, the Miami Dolphins played their third home game of the season against the Los Angeles Chargers. For the second consecutive game, sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen got the start. After giving up a field goal on the first drive, Miami would go on to score their second touchdown all season and uncharacteristically take the lead. The touchdown came off a 34-yard pass to a wide-open Devante Parker. Dolphin fans hated to admit it, but for the first time all season, the offensive line appeared to be gelling. Dolphin stalwarts were astonished. Even the run game performed admirably and Dolphin receivers were actually catching passes as Rosen could sit in the pocket and have some time to survey the field. Miami would have only been down one point at halftime had their usually reliable placekicker Jason Sanders did not miss two field goals. Could the team return in the second half and finish the job?
As it turns out, the answer was no. In the second half of the play, the Dolphins ceased to perform at the level they showed in the first half. Rosen threw an interception and was sacked multiple times. The worst part of the second half was the shocking statistic of just 12 yards passing — yes, 12! Fin fans would normally be shocked and in a stupor with these second-half statistics. Not this year;not in 2019. Our Miami Dolphins have been outscored this year (are you ready for this?) 81-0 in the second half of games. Fin faithful, sadly, have come to expect this second half implosion. A team that should have been leading after the first half would go on to lose to the Chargers 30-10.
Normally, I would say that the offensive line was to blame and the most disappointing unit on the team. However, this Sunday it was the underwhelming pass rush. Miami had only one sack the whole game and it came from newly acquired defensive end Taco Charlton. In addition, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers could have ordered room service before he threw a pass. Rivers used his free time to dissect the Dolphins defense and pile up the points and yards. Until Miami develops its pass-rushing personnel and dials up a scheme to pressure opposing quarterbacks, it won’t be easy to hold opposing offenses to under double-digit points.
Can Miami take anything away from this game to be optimistic about? Yes, the player of the game would be linebacker Raekwon McMillan. McMillan did not have a good training camp, but has been silently having an impressive year, especially stopping the run. Pro Football Focus ranks him as one of the top two highest graded linebackers in the NFL.
As far as the quarterback situation goes, when the offensive line held their own in the first half, Rosen looked good. However, when the offensive line struggled in the second half, Rosen threw for a dozen yards with an interception. Truth be told, no pocket passer in the NFL can truly showcase their full potential unless they are given the time by their offensive line. Therefore, I am hesitant to say whether Rosen is truly Miami’s future franchise quarterback; behind this Dolphins offensive line, even a great quarterbacks’ talents would be invisible.
Written: Jacob Meshel