Is it impossible to win a game while getting flagged 11 times for 107 penalty yards, the way the Miami Dolphins were on Sunday night?
No, the Miami Dolphins edged Arizona 26-23 last year despite being called for 14 penalties.
All those lost yards and all that lost momentum just make it tougher, however, to get anything
done, and the Dolphins offense, last in the league going into Sunday’s 27-24 loss to Oakland, doesn’t need anything to make life harder. What they need is better play on the offensive line, and better coaching in that room on the fundamentals of knocking other people around without knocking your own team backwards.
Here, in order, is a listing of the offensive penalties from Sunday night and how they tore great holes in whatever Jay Cutler was trying to build on a 34-of-42 passing night.
Illegal formation charged to Ju’Wan James: Wiped out a 14-yard gain and a third-down conversion on a catch by Jarvis Landry.
Holding on Mike Pouncey: Declined by Raiders because Miami was about to punt anyway.
Holding on Jermon Bushrod: Turned a second-and-10 into a first-and-20.
Holding on Jesse Davis: Wiped out an 8-yard run by Damien Williams that would have put Miami in a manageable third-and-2 situation.
False start by Jesse Davis: Came on the very next snap, turning a second-and-20 into something even worse.
Holding on Jarvis Landry: Wiped out a 30-yard gain to the Oakland 21-yard line on a swing pass to Damien Williams.
Holding on Mike Pouncey: Wiped out a first-down gain of 4 yards on a Kenyan Drake run.
Holding on Jermon Bushrod: Wiped out a fourth-and-9 conversion pass of 14 yards to Julius Thomas.
There were two other defensive penalties and a Terrence Fede holding call on a Miami kickoff return but the major problems are on offense, which is Adam Gase’s specialty area.
He’s the head coach who wants to shift into a more fast-tempo mode in his playcalling but is still trying to get his guys to do the basic stuff first. Gase talked last week about changing the way Miami practices and meets and slogs through walk-through sessions. He talked about finding a new way of teaching and of learning.
It’s clearly not working when every starting offensive lineman but Laremy Tunsil gets penalized in a close game that required crisp execution from start to finish.
Difficult to see the Dolphins topping .500 or Gase’s offense ever finding its promised high gear when the offensive line, the foundation of it all, is festooned in yellow flags.
Maybe next year, when Miami finds an offensive line coach with the authority and the skill to demand more professionalism in his room. This problem won’t fix itself quickly, and there was no hope of it ever happening under Chris Foerster, whose own lack of personal discipline got him fired and into rehab.