A frustrating afternoon for the Dolphins in London on Sunday afternoon meant that for all the talent the team has, they couldn’t get any points on the board for their large UK fanbase in the second of this year’s NFL London Games.
They started brightly enough, and with their first drives down field, started to make inroads and for the 80,000 strong Wembley audience the possibility of a Touchdown early in the game seemed possible. However instead, Jay Cutler’s intended pass into the end zone for Julian Thomas was easily picked off by Ken Crawley and it seemed that with it all of the hopes for Dolphins drained away in that moment too.
It was a stop and start first half for both sides and neither really being able to make much of an opening. Wembley has seen plenty of 0-0 half time scores but no one, expected that this would be the situation at an American Football game. It took until the eve of the end of the first half for the deadlock to be broken with Wil Lutz scoring a field goal on the last play. They went into the long break 3-0 and plenty to think about.
Back on for the second half and the Saints had certainly done a great deal of soul searching (or praying) and seemed to be the more fired up and focused of the two sides. Well in the sense that they had two touchdowns via Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. But it was a scrappy game at best, summed up by a fumble by Jay Cutler in the fourth quarter, which saw the three nearest Saints players to it fail to grab the ball and it fell back to the Dolphins. However, such was the day they were having they couldn’t do anything with it.
The Saints are now 2-2 for the season but coach Sean Payton isn’t getting carried away with the result knowing there are a lot of things to work on. “It wasn’t perfect. The first half was fairly sloppy and there are a number of things we are going to have to clean up, but we won. That said, I thought defensively we did a lot of good things and getting the shutout was significant.”
The Dolphins, were to their own admission, embarrassed by their performance yesterday and the lack of distance they were able to achieve. London born Jay Ajayi said “We didn’t put any points on the board so it is extremely frustrating. It doesn’t make sense because we have the talent.”
Don’t press the panic button yet Dolphins fans, even if they are now 1-2 for the season. Last year they went 1-4 and still made the playoffs. But they need to get a better performance than they did yesterday. It’s not enough for the fans to be enthused by the mascots more than the players.