It was third-and-13 from the Baltimore 14-yard line. The Dolphins, trailing the Ravens, 28-7, midway through the third quarter, needed a touchdown.
The red zone offense, which the Dolphins only truly showed once in the opener against New England, had to make a play. It came through in a big way as quarterback Tua Tagovailoa hit tight end Mike Gesicki in the end zone for a touchdown, moving the Dolphins offense closer to an answer in that crucial category.
What did they learn about the red zone offense?
“We’ve got playmakers and we’ve got guys all over the field that can make plays, and we’ve got a quarterback willing to put the ball on the open guy,” Gesicki said.
The red zone wasn’t the only category where the Dolphins learned a thing or two about their offense.
The offense showed an ability to come back from a two-score second-half deficit. The offensive line showed it can deliver a commanding performance with a starter absent. And the running game, which gained 86 yards and averaged 4.8 yards per carry, showed it can be effective.
None of these are final answers. It’s too early for final answers.
But many vital aspects of the Dolphins offense showed exceptionally well in Sunday’s performance, especially in the second half.
Look at the comeback ability as an example of something they learned. The Dolphins came back from a 35-14 fourth-quarter deficit for that stirring 42-38 victory at Baltimore. Many teams think they can accomplish such a feat, but the Dolphins now know they can turn the trick.
Coach Mike McDaniel said having such an experience, and having that confidence, serves teams well.
“For every team, every year you kind of have to feel that before you can totally have complete and utter commitment and control over games moving forward,” he said.
The red zone offense offered another area for confidence.
During the season-opening 20-7 victory against New England the Dolphins’ red zone offense had two possessions, one of which was the game’s final possession when the Dolphins were running out the clock.
On that pivotal third quarter red zone possession against Baltimore, Tagovailoa dropped back against a nine-man coverage/two-man rush defense, waited patiently, then threw to Gesicki, who stretched his 6-foot-6 frame as far as it would go, extended his arms high in the air, and snatched the touchdown pass in dramatic fashion.
The Dolphins, who got two red zone touchdowns from wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, one from Gesicki and one from wide receiver River Cracraft, ended the Baltimore game 4 for 4 in the red zone.
The offensive line held together well despite missing right tackle Austin Jackson (ankle), who was replaced by Greg Little. Tagovailoa was only sacked once and the rushing game had holes to run through.
“Greg did a great job,” center Connor Williams said. “We have a great O-line group. We have a great room. Everyone is just going to step up and do as needed, and fit in where they’re needed. I think that’s O-line play at the end of …read more
Source:: The Mercury News