Saturday night was quite a night for both football and meteorology enthusiasts. After nearly a two-hour weather delay, the Miami Dolphins went out and defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-26. It's the second-straight win for the Fins, and a second-straight week where they had to overcome a wrath-of-God Old Testament monsoon. Ah August football in Florida. It's fantastic!
Here's what we learned:
1. Brandon Marshall is good: It took a while, but Brandon Marshall was finally able to show us why he's going to be the guy down here. While the stat sheet doesn't necessarily say so (4 catches, 65 yards), The Beast was the reason the first-team offense was able to get on the board with two touchdowns in the first half. Marshall's presence freed up tight end Anthony Fasano to score both TDs, and it was Marshall taking down two Jaguars with one block that helped Fasano to score the first touchdown, a 55-yard strike from Chad Henne. So even when he's not catching the football, Marshall is making plays. It's why they brought him down here. He proved that Saturday. EVERYBODY CAN RELAX NOW!
2. Chad Henne was almost perfect: Henne, who played most of the first half, finished the night 11-for-14, with 151 yards and two touchdowns. He would have been 14-for-14 had it not been for three dropped passes by his receivers. The only negative trends we've seen with Henne so far is that he's a slow starter and needs to get rid of the ball quicker. But once he gets warmed up, he becomes an efficient quarterback, throwing darts and moving the offense. It's almost as if the mechanisms inside his brain are slow to get cranking. But once he gets into a rhythm, he's almost unstoppable. If 1950's science fiction movies have taught us anything, it's that this is how robots operate.
3. The secondary is worrying: Hopefully it's just pre-season lethargy, but the Dolphins secondary looks pretty slow on all fronts. For the second straight week, cornerback Vontae Davis was beaten on a long completion (35 yards), while Sean Smith fell behind on a 22-yard completion. Both plays came in the same drive where the Jags eventually scored a touchdown. The young pass rushers are going to need both second-year players to sack up if this defense is going to keep Miami in games this year.
4. The special teams is looking rather crappy: So far we've got two blocked punts in two games, and a coverage team that gave up kickoff returns of 41 and 48 yards to the Jaguars. They have two weeks to clean up that mess before it becomes a year-long problem, or we'll sick Brad Pitt on their asses!
The Dolphins host the Atlanta Falcons this Saturday Friday for their third pre-season game. Expect more rain in the South Florida area Friday night because of this.