The Miami Dolphins had their chances in a 24-21 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium. Miami (1-3, 0-1 AFC East) again dominated early before squandering a double-digit lead as it against struggled to find a rhythm in the second half. It was the same story last week in a 23-20 OT loss to the New York Jets. But this time, rookie QB Ryan Tannehill was 26 of 41 for a franchise rookie-record 431 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. One of his interceptions proved costly, coming in overtime when he threw a duck at midfield that was easily caught by Cardinals S Kerry Rhodes. Arizona (4-0, 1-0 NFC West) needed only six plays to set up a 46-yard game-winning field goal.
Tannehill had a record-breaking performance and was only a yard off the league’s rookie record of 432 passing yards set by Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton. WR Brian Hartline set a franchise record with 253 yards and a touchdown on 12 catches. But the offense turned the ball over four times and it was a Tannehill interception that gift-wrapped the game-winning field goal. With so many fantastic individual performances, the unit must score more points.
Previous game's grade: C
The front seven was simply dominant. DE Cameron Wake had no sacks in the team’s first three games but had a career-best 4.5 on Sunday. Overall, Miami had nine tackles for loss and eight sacks as the Cardinals finished with 29 rushing yards on 15 carries. The secondary was again the weak point. Arizona QB Kevin Kolb hit WR Andre Roberts, who easily beat two defensive backs, on a fourth-down play that scored from 15 yards.
Previous game's grade: C+
Special teams: C
RB Marcus Thigpen made some awful decisions on fielding punts, and WR Davone Bess took over fielding kicks in the second half. Thigpen also had just 23 yards on his only kickoff return. K Dan Carpenter again struggled with hooking his kicks left as he pushed a 50-yard attempt wide early in the third quarter that could have provided a 16-0 lead.
Previous game's grade: F
The game plan of short, controlled passes to counter Arizona blitzes was fantastic, along with the decisions to take a few deep shots to loosen up the defense. First-year coach Joe Philbin also stuck to the running game as the Dolphins had 86 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. But too many blitzes from the Miami defense yielded big plays and the Dolphins still have not figured out how to mask a very weak secondary.
Previous game's grade: B
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