The second week of the NFL season is now past us. For the Miami Dolphins’, it has been a different type of start for the 2016 season. Playing well in some areas, the Dolphins’ offensive and defensive units have definitely been a tale of two teams for the first two weeks of the regular season.
Struggling for much of Sunday’s game, there will of course be losers. There are also a few players and units that could be described as winners following the game considering their play and that of those around them. So that’s we are going to do here, let’s take a look at the winners and losers from the Miami Dolphins loss on Sunday against the New England Patriots.
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1. DeVante Parker
Bouncing back from injury, Miami Dolphins’ wide receiver DeVante Parker had an excellent game against the Patriots. Making eight catches for 106-yards, Parker played a pretty important role in the Dolphins’ offense, Making his own catches, Parker also allowed for Landry to see single coverage and perform at his best throughout the contest.
As long as Parker can remain healthy, he looks to have a major role with the Dolphins offense for both the present and the future. That is a big if though given his struggle to retain fitness over the last year and a half and who knows if that will change.
2. Kiko Alonso
While the injury to New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garappolo was unfortunate, Kiko Alonso did nothing wrong and played well for most of the contest. If there were any questions over how Alonso would play in his second game with the Dolphins following two injury filled seasons, the middle linebacker definitely helped quite some of his doubters.
Recording 11-total tackles and one tackle for a loss, Kiko Alonso was the most important player at times in the Miami Dolphins defense. He undoubtedly looks to be the leader in the linebacking corps and I personally am excited to see what the rest of the season has in store of Alonso.
3. Kenyan Drake
The problem with most of the Miami Dolphins’ players during this game was hardly any played a complete game. Both the offense and defense struggled in the first half while both found some success in the second half of the game. With so many players’ having a two-face game, I feel it is only right to give this spot to someone who accomplished a career milestone.
Scoring his first NFL touchdown, rookie running back Kenyan Drake — who missed almost all of the preseason — scored on a seven-yard run late in the fourth quarter to bring Miami within one possession. A change of pace back, Drake showed his strength on this run and pounded his way through tacklers and into the endzone.
1. Arian Foster
Struggling to produce any yardage in the run game, Arian Foster left Sunday’s contest early with a groin injury and did not return. The fact that Jay Ajayi also struggled to run the football should be of some sentiment, but the fact that Foster is injured again has to be a concern of the Miami Dolphins’ coaching staff.
Struggling with some problems during the week which limited his practice, I wouldn’t be shocked if this is just the beginning of Foster’s injury problems this season. Depending on this week goes, I could even see Foster lose his starting role to Ajayi just because of health concerns for both the present and the future.
2. Offensive Line
This one was number two last week and is number two again this week. Despite some improvement across the offensive line, the unit again struggled to protect Ryan Tannehill and could not for the life of them run block when needed. A bad snap from Anthony Steen really capped off what has been a tough two weeks for the offensive line.
Taking on the Browns this week in their first home game of the year, the offensive line should have some relief coming there way. If they can build some momentum, they may still have a shot at providing moderate protection for Tannehill this season.
3. Cameron Wake
Now a backup for the Miami defense, Cameron Wake has struggled to make an impact during the first few weeks of the season. Having a sack negated by a penalty during Sunday’s game, Wake’s season total now sits at zero tackles, zero sacks, and one quarterback hit.
If Wake is to continue as a monster pass rusher, he will have to find his attacking ways once more in the coming weeks.
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