Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
The Miami Dolphins turned in a complete team performance on Sunday, dominating the San Francisco 49ers. The offense, defense, and special teams all crushed it, with the 49ers not able to find an answer to anything the Dolphins threw at them. Sacks. Touchdowns. Field goals. Interceptions. Deep passes. Effective runs. Solid tackles. This game had it all for Miami.
Dolphins 43 – 49ers 17
The Dolphins won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, giving the 49ers the ball to start the game. San Franciso could only pick up five yards on the drive, punting on the three-and-out possession.
Miami, on the other hand, attacked quickly, with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick looking for a long pass down the left sideline, with Preston Williams coming up with the 47-yard reception. Three plays later, Miami picked up 15 more yards on a Fitzpatrick pass to Isaiah Ford to convert on 3rd-and-11. After a horse collar tackle moved Miami to the San Francisco nine-yard line, Myles Gaskin picked up six yards before Fitzpatrick found Adam Shaheen for a three-yard touchdown pass. Dolphins 7-0.
The 49ers’ next possession started a little better for the 49ers, with Raheem Mostert picking up seven yards. A couple of plays later, on 3rd-and-3, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, returning from missing two weeks due to an ankle injury, connected with Brandon Aiyuk for 15 yards. After three more plays, including a sack by Dolphins defensive lineman Zach Sieler, the 49ers attempted a 4th-and-1 conversion, only to have Christian Wilkins fill the hole and give Miami back the ball.
The Dolpins started the possession at their own 44-yard line, hammering down on the gas again. After an incomplete pass toward Jakeem Grant, Fitzpatrick threw a jump ball to DeVante Parker who went up and caught the 28 yard pass. Four plays later, including a six-yard pass to Grant that then added a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty, Miami was set up on a 2nd-and-Goal from the one-yard line. Gaskin ran into the endzone for his first score of the year. Dolphins 14-0.
Deebo Samuels started San Francisco’s possession with a 15-yard catch and run, followed by two five-yard runs from Mostert. Miami linebacker Elandon Roberts found Garoppolo for the seven-yard loss on a sack, setting up 2nd-and-18. Garoppolo turned to tight end George Kittle on the next play, picking up 11 yards. After an incomplete pass on 3rd-and-7, the 49ers punted, following a false start penalty to back up another five yards.
Miami was unable to do anything after Jakeem Grant bobbled the punt and was forced to fall on the loose ball at the five-yard line. The Dolphins punted after a three-and-out.
The 49ers immediately found success as Mostert broke up field for 37 yards, with safety Eric Rowe catching him from behind, but being injured as he made the tackle. After another five yards from Mostert, the 49ers scored on a 2nd-and-5, seven-yard run from fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Dolphins 14-7.
Miami answered imediately, starting with a Fitzpatrick scramble up the middle for 17 yards, then a pass to Gesicki for 12 yards. Fitzpatrick looked deep again on the next play, finding Williams for 19 yards, then Matt Breida picked up five yards. Another deep shot, this time to the endzone for Williams, resulted in a defensive pass interference call, setting up 1st-and-Goal at the three. A clipping penalty and a sack pushed Miami back to a 3rd-and-Goal from the 22-yard line, but that was no issue for Fitzpatrick, who looked to Parker for the touchdown. Dolphins 21-7.
The 49ers picked up a first down on their first play thanks to a Mostert 11-yard run, then a 20-yard pass to Aiyuk. Miami responded with their third sack of the half, this time from Andrew Van Ginkel, to push the 49ers into a 3rd-and-14, a distance San Francisco could not convert leading to a punt.
Miami continued the onslaught on a possession highlighted by a 70-yard catch-and-run from Gesicki, setting up Miami at the San Francisco 10-yard line. Gaskin picked up four yards, but then Fitzpatrick was sacked for a loss of two. After an incomplete pass targeting Gesicki, the Dolphins settled for a Jason Sanders 26-yard field goal. Dolphins 24-7.
Looking to respond, Garoppolo threw two incomplete passes before looking deep only to have safety Bobby McCain play centerfield perfectly and come away with the interception.
Fitzpatrick would find Gesicki for a four-yard and a one-yard gain on the first two plays of the drive, then miss Williams deep to set up 4th-and-5 from the 49ers’ 32-yard line. Sanders crushed a 50-yard field goal to keep Miami rolling. Dolphins 27-7.
Garoppolo threw for no gain on first down, then incomplete on second down. Looking deep for Samuel, he overthrew the pass and Xavien Howard picked off his third pass of the season, setting up Miami with the ball at the 49ers’ 19-yard line.
With just nine seconds remaining in the half, Fitzpatrick found Isaiah Ford for eight yards, then threw incomplete in the endzone, allowing Sanders to turn the interception into points again. Dolphins 30-7.
Second Half Recap
Miami received the ball to start the second half. Matt Breida picked up four yards to start the drive, then Miami went to the Wildcat for the third time on the day, with Lynn Bowden picking up three yards on the direct snap. Fitzpatrick then looked to Gesicki for a four-yard gain. Breida was stopped for no yards before Fitzpatrick threw to Gaskin for seven yards. After an incomplete pass, Miami was forced to punt.
The 49ers benched Garoppolo, moving to C.J. Beathard at the start of the second half. Mostert started the drive with a nine-yard gain. The 49ers offense was able to start moving the ball, but they also were aided by two penalties called on the Dolphins, an illegal contact penalty on Nik Needham that negated a sack, and a roughing the passer penalty on Kamu Grugier-Hill who barely touched Beathard. The drive ended with a pass from Beathard to Kendrick Bourne for a 19-yard touchdown. Dolphins 30-14.
Miami’s second possession of the half responded to the 49ers’ score. After Fitzpatrick threw to fullback Chandler Cox for six yards, Grant attempted to run an end around, only to slip and lose 12 yards. Fitzpatrick then threw for 15 yards on 3rd-and-16. Miami lined up in punt formation, but a direct snap to Clayton Fejedelem led to a conversion on 4th-and-1. Fitzpatrick then threw short to Breida, who turned upfield for 31 yards. Gaskin picked up two yards on 1st-and-10, then Fitzpatrick looked deep down the middle to Williams for the 32-yard touchdown. Dolphins 37-14.
Beathard (and the refs) were able to move the 49ers again on the next possession. Beathard fond Mostert for 15 yards, but then two incomplete passes seemed to set up a 3rd-and-10, only to have a defensive pass interference penalty on Nik Needham give the 49ers a first down. On the next play, Beathard was again off target, but a defensive holding call on apparently no one was called to keep the offense moving. Jeff Wilson then picked up nine yards, followed by another nine-yard gain. Beathard looked to George Kittle for a 12-yard gain, followed by an incomplete pass on first down. Miami linebacker Jerome Baker then blitzed straight up the middle of the line and sacked Beathard – with no penalty called for once. The 49ers ultimately settled for a 37-yard field. Dolphins 37-17.
The Dolphins started the possession with two Gaskins runs, picking up five yards, then four yards. Another Wildcat play to Bowden picked up six yards, but a holding call on Shaheen negated the play and set up Miami with 3rd-and-11. Fitzpatrick looked down the sideline for Gesicki, who was run through, drawing the defensive pass interference penalty. The Dolphins turned to the running game after the penalty, looking to eat clock. Gaskin picked up 21 yards on the fist play, then Breida picked up two yards and 12 yards on either side of a neutral zone infraction penalty on the 49ers. Breida picked up another yard followed by Gaskin runs for four yards and one yard. Sanders then kicked the 31-yard field goal to extend Miami’s lead. Dolphins 40-17.
The 49ers’ next drive feature a nine-yard pass, a one-yard loss, and two incomplete passes as they turned over the ball on downs at their own 33-yard line.
Miami continued to simply look to kill the clock, running the ball three times. Sanders made his fifth field goal in the game. Dolphins 43-17.
The 49ers attempted to find a rhythm, looking to just put up a respectable score. After picking up six yards on seven plays, the drive ended with a sack from Emmanuel Ogbah, who stripped the ball out of Beathard’s hand and Christian Wilkins recovering the fumble.
Miami again simply ran the ball to eat the clock. Three runs from Gaskin, one for nine yards and two for no gain, took the clock to the 2-minute warning. Another Wildcat play allowed Bowden to convert the 4th-and-1 play, leading to Miami kneeling to kill the clock.
First Half Reactions
Where did Miami find this defense? Sacks. Run stuffing. Pass breakups. This defense came to play early today.
The offense is likewise on fire. Fitzpatrick is connecting with just about everyone early, and he is finding players deep. Clearly the 49ers are hurting at cornerback, and the Dolphins are taking advantage of it.
Honestly, I do not know what I am watching at this point. It is 24-7 at the 2-minute warning. The Dolphins are simply dominating this game. There is no other way to describe it. Offense. Dominating. Defense. Dominating. They could do more to stop Mostert, who has 75 yards on eight rushes, but other than that, the 49ers have no answers to anything Miami is doing.
Fitzpatrick 251 yards an 2 TDs
Gesicki 4 recs 87 yards
Parker 2 recs 50 yards TD
Williams 3 recs 74 yards#SacksOnTheBeach from AVG, Sieler, Roberts
Picks from Howard, McCain
Sanders 3 FGs.
— The Phinsider (@thephinsider) October 11, 2020
Second Half Reactions
That was an ugly loss by Grant. Danced too much and slipped for the 12-yard loss. Miami cannot take their foot off the gas here.
They did not take their foot off the gas. That long pass from Fitzpatrick to Williams was gorgeous. If Williams is starting to trust his ACL and will produce like this the rest of the year, Miami’s offense will be much closer to today’s explosive unit that what we have see so far this season.
These refs are calling everything and anyting at this point. Any positive play Miami’s defense makes, there is a flag to keep the 49ers moving.
Where are the stock down moments in this game? Matt Haack didn’t put a punt inside the 20? Seriously?
Sanders went 5-for-5 last week in field goals. He did it again this week – with the difference being Miami able to actually score touchdowns as well. Sanders is simply a great kicker.