The Dolphins struggled through some rough patches in the first half of tonight’s preseason game at AT&T Stadium, but showed upside on offense at times with Kenny Stills showing up as a major playmaker.
Here are five key notes from the early action, when each side had most of their first-team players on the field:
1. The Dolphins’ passing game was hit and miss outside of Stills
The highlight of the night for the first-stringers was Ryan Tannehill’s 55-yard bomb to Stills on the second possession when Stills flew past Dallas safety J.J. Wilcox. Tannehill hit Stills three times for 71 yards and two touchdowns. Other than that, it was shaky. The Dolphins went three-and-out their first time on the field, and the rest of the wide receivers totaled 44 yards before Tannehill exited late in the second quarter. Jordan Cameron and Jarvis Landry each dropped a pass in the end zone, and there was a near-interception on a tipped ball that ricocheted to Landry for a nine-yarder.
2. Kiko Alonso had a rough stint in pass coverage
Dallas tight end Jason Witten has given plenty of people trouble over his 13-year career, and Alonso struggled to keep track of him tonight. Witten was key to the Cowboys bouncing back from a haphazard first possession and got away from Alonso for a pair of 12-yard catches the second time out. Those gains set up an Alfred Morris touchdown run.
3. This team already misses Lamar Miller badly
With an offensive line still solidifying itself, it’s hard to size up the running backs precisely. That said, Jay Ajayi and Arian Foster did nothing against the Cowboys. Ajayi had a six-yard run, and his other five attempts totaled 13. Foster went for losses of one and four in his only two carries.
4. One positive: Miami was the more composed team
Overall, the action at AT&T Stadium tonight was sloppy and chaotic, but the Dolphins held their poise better than Dallas. While Miami played a fairly clean first half with four penalties before picking a couple up in the final minutes, the Cowboys piled up 100 penalty yards on 10 flags. They had at least two others that the Dolphins declined.
5. Jakeem Grant showed some nice moves in the return game
There was nothing spectacular about Grant’s overall numbers — 10 yards on a punt return and a net of 24 on two kick returns in the first half — but he showed the elusiveness and awareness necessary for the job. He shook a couple of defenders on a 30-yard kick return early.