The Miami Dolphins dropped to 1-2 on Sunday after falling to the Las Vegas Raiders in overtime. It was not a pretty game for the Dolphins, who struggled to find a rhythm throughout much of the contest and, even as they tried to make a furious comeback, seemed to luck into some plays more than they dictated the results to the Raiders. There were questionable calls, both from the referees and from the coaches. There were mistakes on the field. And there was another loss on the board as overtime ended.
There is still a lot of football to be played, but the Dolphins have to start figuring out some things quickly if they are going to salvage the season. There are winnable games coming up over the next few weeks, and the Dolphins have to take advantage of them.
Each week during the 2021 season, we will take a look at the Dolphins’ last game through the snaps played by each player. Below you will find charts for the offensive and defensive snap counts, along with the each player’s season total. Finally, some thoughts of each position group close out each side of the ball.
Quarterback was not a surprise as Jacoby Brissett played every snap in place of Tua Tagovailoa, who landed on injured reserve. Brissett should be the starter for at least the next two games, with the Dolphins returning to Tagovailoa whenever his ribs are healed. Reid Sinnett was promoted from the practice squad for the game, though he did not play.
Myles Gaskin played the most snaps for the Dolphins at running back, but the team jumped the snap count for Malcolm Brown as well. Gaskin carried the ball 13 times for 65 yards, while Brown only had seven carries for 31 yards with a score, but it sure felt like Brown, who started, was contributing a lot on Sunday. Gaskin played 52 percent of the offensive snaps, while Brown was on the field for 41 percent of the plays. Salvon Ahmed disappeared for the contest, showing up for just six percent of the available snaps.
Mike Gesicki again led the way for the tight ends, appearing in 66 percent of the contest. He caught 10 passes on the day with a team-high 86 yards. It feels like the Dolphins know they need to get Gesicki involved in the game plan, and it is starting to show up on the field, but they need to stretch him down the field some more – probably a statement that can be said for many of the receiving options on the team. Durham Smythe and Adam Shaheen both saw plenty of playing time on Sunday, with Smythe on the field 41 percent of the time and Shaheen out there for 34 percent of the plays. Rookie Hunter Long, who was inactive last week, played two percent of the game on defense, while Cethan Carter only saw special teams playing time.
At wide receiver, it appears Jaylen Waddle is establishing himself as the number one receiver, pushing DeVante Parker back to the number two role. Waddle played 88 percent of the offensive snaps, while Parker was on the field for 77 percent of the plays. Waddle caught a game high 12 passes on 13 targets, gaining 58 yards – again, they need to stretch the field more with Waddle. Parker caught four passes for 42 yards. Will Fuller made his Dolphins debut and played 61 percent of the game, with three receptions for 20 yards. Mack Hollins played 29 percent of the game while Jakeem Grant was on the field for two percent of the offensive snaps. The surprise in the group was the inactivation of Albert Wilson, who had a great training camp and was involved in the two games to start the season before Fuller rejoined the team. Preston Williams was also inactive, the second time this year he was not available during the game, though in Week 1 is was believed to be more about his foot injury than game-plan issues.
The offensive line played better on Sunday than they did against the Buffalo Bills a week earlier. The five starters played all 83 offensive snaps, with Austin Jackson at left tackle, Jesse Davis at left guard, Michael Deiter at center, Robert Hunt at right guard, and Liam Eichenberg at right tackle. It was not perfect, but it was definitely a big improvement on the day.
The defensive line continues to work around the injury to Raekwon Davis. Emmanuel Ogbah and Christian Wilkins saw the most playing time, at 76 percent and 70 percent, respectively. John Jenkins, Zach Sieler, and Adam Butler rotated into the interior of the line, for the most part, and each saw about half the playing time. Jenkins played 57 percent of the snaps, Sieler 51 percent, and Butler 49 percent. Sieler was definitely having an impact on the game, especially early, and he finished with a team-high nine tackles. Wilkins recorded a sack on the day, one of three times Miami was able to pull down Derek Carr.
Jerome Baker played all available defensive snaps, well ahead of Jaelan Phillips, who had the second-highest utilization at linebacker, playing 59 percent of the snaps. Elandon Roberts, who kept the Dolphins’ turnover streak alive at 25 games with a pick-six, was just behind Phillips, playing 57 percent of the snaps. Andrew Van Ginkel saw the field 41 percent of the time, while Brennan Scarlett played 22 percent of the game, Sam Eguavoen was on the field for six percent of the snaps, and Duke Riley played one percent of the defensive snaps. Phillips jumping up in snaps, going from just 18 played snaps in Week 2 to 49 snaps this week, should be a clear sign the Dolphins are starting to trust him as a linebacker and looking to get him involved in the pass rush more. Van Ginkel’s playing time dropped this week, which is a little surprising, but may have just been due to Phillips playing so much.
Xavien Howard and Byron Jones continue to dominate the cornerback snaps, with Howard playing 96 percent of the game and Jones on the field 93 percent of the time. Nik Needham played 69 percent of the game, picking back up after only appearing in three percent of the Week 2 action. Justin Coleman was on the field for 30 percent of the plays, down from 75 percent in Week 2. Noah Igbinoghene was active for the first time this year, but was limited to just special teams plays. Jamal Perry, who was a COVID-19 replacement in Week 1 and a practice squad elevation in Week 2, did not make it back up to the 53-man roster this week, while Trill Williams and Elijah Campbell were both inactive again.
Eric Rowe only played 40 percent of the snaps in Week 2 for the safety position, but then jumped back up to 78 percent this week. Jevon Holland continues to seeing majorities of the playing time, appearing in 51 percent of the snaps this week. Jason McCourty played 49 percent of the snaps, while Brandon Jones was on the field 43 percent of the time. Clayton Fejedelem made his first defensive appearance this year with one snap.