The Sun Sentinel’s Dave Hyde and Safid Deen recap the Dolphins’ 31-12 loss to the Packers in Green Bay.

Can a bye week come at a better time for the Miami Dolphins?

Their offensive line is in tatters. They lost two more receivers on Sunday. And they put up a noble, if underwhelming, fight on Sunday in a 31-12 loss to the Green Bay Packers.


They started the season 3-0.

They’ve gone 2-5 since.

Here are 10 thoughts on Sunday’s game:

1. Stat of the game: Zero touchdowns. The Dolphins haven’t scored a touchdown since the third quarter against Houston. OK, that’s not so much a stat of just Sunday. But it’s also a larger statement about more than just injuries. They moved the ball on Sunday, too. They had 224 yards of offense in the first half — far more than the 145 yards they’re averaging. But they had just three field goals to show for it. That point total doesn’t include the 50 yards on their opening drive that ended with a bad snap and fumble. Let’s face it, in today’s NFL you need to score points and when Aaron Rodgers is on the other side you really need to score points. The Dolphins going two straight games and nine quarters without a touchdown shines a light on what’s sinking this season.

2. The Dolphins sunk to the worst run defense in the league on Sunday after giving up 195 yards on 25 carries. They were gutted again, in other words, and it wasn’t Aaron Rodgers who did the main damage. Rodgers put up pedestrian numbers for him — 19-of-28 passing for 199 yards and two touchdowns. The Dolphins defense entered giving up 136.1 yards a game rushing. Only Cleveland’s defense was worse at 138.9 yards. But on Sunday Cleveland only gave up 71 yards to Atlanta and the Dolphins … well, as Ndamukong Suh tweeted in the preseason after a big run: “right up the gut, lol.” Aaron Jones went right up the gut for 67 yards, part of his 145 yards on the day. There are a lot of reasons for a bad run defense, of course, but here’s a central one: Your middle linebacker can’t be fifth on the team in tackles. That’s what Raekwon McMillan was entering Sunday.

Hyde: A grand opportunity in Green Bay squandered by same glaring Dolphins' problems | Commentary

A punch-less offense and toothless run defense cost the Miami Dolphins a chance at a big surprise in Green Bay against the Packers

3. The Dolphins’ offensive line consisted of three back-ups and a player just off the injured reserve in center Jake Brendel. And say this: It was better than expected. It didn’t ruin the day, in other words. It gave up six sacks, sure, but … (I can’t believe I’m glossing over six sacks) … but some of those came from Brock Osweiler holding onto the ball and not finding a receiver. The only regular starter on the line in the lineup was right guard Jesse Davis. Tackles Laremy Tunsil and Ju’Wuan James worked out before Sunday’s game and it was decided their injured knees weren’t in shape to play. Given all that, it looked a given that an offense that had trouble mustering points would struggle just to move the ball on Sunday.

4. Even bad Sundays need some good news and for the Dolphins it their special teams again. Special teams coach Darren Rizzi deserves the assistant of the year award — if, of course, there is such a thing. A week after the Dolphins’ punting game effectively won it against the Jets in a field-position game, the special teams were at it again. A fake punt converted into a first down in the third quarter on a Leonte Carroo run. A blocked punt in the third quarter by Branden Boldin gave the Dolphins the ball at the Green Bay 28. That set up a field goal. A.J Derby and Mike Hull forced a fumble on a Packers punt return, and Carroo recovered at midfield. That led to another field goal. Then there’s the continued play of kicker Jason Sanders on those field goals. It sure looks like Rizzi found the right guy to replace Cody Parkey. Say all you want about the Dolphins settling for field goals on Sunday, but say this too: Sanders keeps making them. He was 4 for 4 Sunday. That makes him 15 of 16 on the year. He was only 25 of 35 in college when the Dolphins took him upon Rizzi’s request with a seventh-round pick. Sure, they got points off after Green Bay paid back the Dolphins with a fake punt of their own that went 26 yards (Caroo got blocked to spring the run). Still, in a a season where the offense and defense have struggled to be consistent, the special teams excels week after week.

5. Let’s be honest. The Packers didn’t play that well. They really didn’t. Aaron Rodgers was off on more throws than his Hall of Fame career is built on. He and lead receiver DeVante Adams had several miscommunications. Rogers had only 98 yards passing at half. The Dolphins offense moved the ball effectively on the Packers defense. Green Bay only led, 14-12, in the third quarter. And … well, that’s part of the disappointment here. We can be realistic about the injuries and all. But this is the big leagues. Winning matters. And the disappointment to Sunday is Green Bay didn’t have to play its ‘A’ game to beat the Dolphins handily.

6. Injuries? Yeah, they kept piling up. Cornerback Bobby McCain left with a head injury after being the recipient of a cheap shot, a blindside block. On back-to-back plays in the fourth quarter, they lost two receivers running similar post patterns. Jakeem Grant had an Achilles issue coming into the game, and left on a cart for the locker room in tears after what looked like a serious injury. On the next play, DeVante Parker left the game with a shoulder injury. The Dolphins already were down Albert Wilson from this group. They ended Sunday with Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola and Leonte Carroo as receivers.

7. Adam Gase said last week he wanted to get Kenyan Drake the ball more. Then came Sunday and Frank Gore was the centerpiece to the offense again. Gore was productive, too. He had 10 carries for 84 yards in the first half with a 39-yard run on the first series. It’s hard to come off a guy when he’s producing like that. He finished with 13 carries for 90 yards He also had two catches for 12 yards in the first half. Drake? He had four first-half carries, but as the game got out of hand got some more action. He finished with eight carries for 27 yards.

8. Green Bay is the wonderful outlier of NFL destinations. Two hours from a major city (Milwaukee). A stadium in a residential neighborhood. And a pre-game look that runs from four-man bands playing to bratwursts grilling at every tailgate. The South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Safid Deen talked to Dolphins fans making the rare trip to Green Bay. I was more intrigued by the advertising for parking at houses.


9. Lost amid Sunday was Reshad Jones was punished for quitting last Sunday by being held out of the first quarter. That ends another in a string of odd dramas around the Dolphins again this year (Jordan Phillips being cut after wanting to play more, DeVante Parker’s agent calling Gase incompetent …). Minkah Fitzpatrick played safety the first quarter in a base defense with Bobby McCain as a boundary cornerback opposite Xavien Howard. The Dolphins went to nickel defense when Jones returned with Fitzpatrick moving to the boundary cornerback and McCain the slot cornerback.


10. Next week: Bye week. The Dolphins could have used that this week with all the injuries on the offensive line, but it will come in handy regardless. Not just the line, but quarterback Ryan Tannehill wants to play against Indianapolis after the break. Tannehill wasn’t throwing at all earlier this week and says he has pain just lifting his right arm about his shoulder. A week off, though, will do this franchise well.

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