The Miami Dolphins improved their record to .500 following Sunday’s 16-10 victory over the Tennessee Titans at Hard Rock Stadium. The defense once again led the way as the offense and starting quarterback Jay Cutler sputtered for the third straight week.
Miami coaches and players say Cutler isn’t to blame. But the facts are he’s played three consecutive sub-par games. Here is a film breakdown of Cutler’s outing against the Titans:
Stats: 12-of-26 passing, 92 yards, one touchdown, one interception.
Best throw: There were at least four drops by Dolphins receivers, and one of Cutler’s best throws was wasted in the first quarter as a result. Wide receiver DeVante Parker injured his ankle in the first quarter and didn’t return. Smallish backup Jakeem Grant took Parker’s place and was targeted twice. One of those targets was in the red zone as Miami was driving for a touchdown. Cutler threw a 23-yard laser to Grant in between two defenders, but Grant couldn’t hold onto the ball and was hit by Titans defensive backs. Miami settled for a field goal.
Worst throw: Cutler had a “Bad Jay” moment Sunday during his lone interception. On first down, Cutler was pressured, didn’t set his feet and threw a bad pass to tight end Anthony Fasano through double coverage. The ball was tipped and intercepted by Tye Smith.
What I liked overall: Once again, there wasn’t much to like from Cutler in this game. The four drops were mostly good throws that could have made a difference for Cutler and the offense. Drops came from Grant, tight end Julius Thomas and receiver Kenny Stills. Chemistry is still an issue.
What I didn't like overall: Last week it was body language. This week is was standing tall in the pocket. More and more, Cutler is getting nervous behind his offensive line. Some would say you can’t blame Cutler after the beating he’s taken so far. Others would say it’s his job to take the punishment if it means completing more passes. Cutler’s accuracy, ball placement and mechanics continue to be off. He throws off his back foot too often, despite his arm strength. Cutler was only sacked once. However, Cutler was feeling the pressure, whether it is legit or not, and constantly tucking the ball a second early and not challenging the defense downfield. Cutler averaged just 3.5 yards per attempt, which is his lowest since the 2013 season.
What’s next: Cutler and the Dolphins (2-2) will travel to play the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons (3-1). This is the sternest test for Miami thus far.