Upon Further Review: Dolphins Week 4

An examination of four hot issues from the Miami Dolphins' 38-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints:

Where the Dolphins stand: Last week, I mentioned several times that the “Monday Night Football” game against the Saints would provide a good measuring stick for the Dolphins. It turns out Miami isn’t close to being an elite team. At 3-1, the Dolphins are merely a second- or third-tier team finding its way. There’s nothing wrong with that for this young group. However, Miami was disappointed it didn’t at least have a better showing in front of a national audience. Losing by three touchdowns only furthers the national perception that the Dolphins aren’t a serious contender.

Ryan Tannehill lays an egg: We hadn’t seen it in a while, but the Dolphins second-year quarterback laid his first egg of the 2013 season against New Orleans. Tannehill threw for 249 yards, one touchdown and had four turnovers. Tannehill had a costly fumble and threw three interceptions. It’s extremely difficult to win on the road when the quarterback is turning over the football that much. Tannehill had been playing at an MVP level in the first three weeks. The Dolphins are only going to go as far as Tannehill takes them. So these kind of awful performances for the young quarterback need to be few and far between.

Protection issues: The Dolphins have struggled with pass protection in every game this season. Miami allowed another four sacks Monday against the Saints. Tannehill is the most-sacked quarterback in the NFL through four weeks with 18. The Dolphins must figure out a way to stop the leaks in pass protection soon before Tannehill gets injured. Once the Saints got the lead, they were able gear up against the pass and manhandle Miami's offensive line.

Champs up next: The Dolphins can’t sulk following their first loss of the season. Miami has another important game coming up against the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens at Sun Life Stadium. We are going to find out a lot about Miami and its ability to bounce back from losses. This is another golden opportunity for the Dolphins to make a statement in the AFC and improve to 4-1 before the bye week. The Dolphins have had a very tough schedule to start the season. If they can enter the bye with four victories, that will be a major accomplishment.