The San Francisco 49ers face the Miami Dolphins in Week 12, and the 49ers defense will continue to try and get back on track. The defense has shown some good things at times, but inconsistency is a huge problem. Well, that and the lack of a solid pass rush.
The 49ers face a Dolphins team that has won five straight games. The Dolphins defense, and pass rush in particular have been key to that win streak. But what about the offense? They have averaged 25.5 points per game this season, and it has been a fairly even split between the two halves of the season. During their 1-4 start, the Dolphins scored 25 points per game. During their five game winning streak since, the Dolphins have scored 26 points per game.
Ryan Tannehill has been up and down, while Jay Ajayi has offered some kind of punch to the ground game. I spoke to Kevin Nogle of The Phinsider to get his thoughts on the Miami offense. Here’s what Kevin had to say.
Early in the season, I think it was a combination of the team still trying to get used to Adam Gases's offensive system, both with Tannehill and the receivers working to get on the same page, as well as Tannehill trying to survive behind an offensive line that just was not blocking well. The team could not properly protect Tannehill, and they could not open running lanes for Jay Ajayi. Once the offensive line got healthy, the protection increased and Tannehill could find the open receiver, while Ajayi began ripping off huge chunks of yardage.
This past Sunday, the team started the game without Branden Albert and Mike Pouncey, then lost Laremy Tunsil in the second quarter. Suddenly, a dominant offensive line was playing with 60 percent backups, and it was blocking like it was playing with 60 percent backups. Ajayi could not find space, and Tannehill was constantly under pressure. Somewhere in the fourth quarter, the offensive line started giving Tannehill an extra beat or two, and he started completing passes, eventually making the come back to win.
All of that said, Tannehill does still make some questionable decisions. He will hold the ball despite being outside the pocket, taking the sack rather than throwing it away. He also will try to force passes sometimes, giving defenders at least a shot at the interceptions.
I think the Dolphins' offense, overall, is still a work in progress. There are still wrinkles of Gase's offense that do not fully work, because the team is still trying to learn it all. That said, it is much better than it was over the first few weeks of the year, and, if the offensive line can block, Tannehill, Ajayi, Jarvis Landry, and DeVante Parker can get into an exceptional rhythm.