James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer 14d

Dolphins' Jay Cutler falls flat for second straight game



The Miami Dolphins fell to 1-2 on the season with a 20-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints in London’s Wembley Stadium. With quarterback Jay Cutler under center, Miami was shut out for the first time since Dec. 22, 2013.

After a decent regular-season debut in Los Angeles, Cutler has put together back-to-back poor performances. After studying the film, here is a breakdown of Cutler’s outing against the Saints:

Stats: 20 of 28, 164 yards, one interception, 71.1 passer rating.

Best throw: Cutler had 20 completions. But similar to last week, most of them didn’t make much of an impact. Cutler’s best throw was a smart read to tight end Julius Thomas over the middle on a busted play by New Orleans. Thomas was left open in the middle, and Cutler found him in stride to allow Thomas to get yards after the catch in what turned out to be a 23-yard completion.

Worst throw: Cutler threw an interception for the second straight game, and it was another bad throw that took the air out of the offense. The Dolphins were in the process of driving for a touchdown on their first drive, and on the 15th play of the drive Cutler threw a bad lob to Thomas from the 4-yard line that was intercepted by Saints corner Ken Crawley. Cutler failed to set his feet and threw a flat pass inside, which made it tough for Thomas to make a play.

What I liked overall: Cutler is completing passes at a pretty high clip. He had a 71.4 completion percentage against the Saints. Cutler continues to have a solid chemistry with receiver DeVante Parker, who had six receptions for 69 yards. Their slant routes are among the best plays Miami has had on offense this season.

What I didn’t like overall: Cutler didn’t look confident for the second straight week. Bad body language is showing more and more as the offense struggles. There was a Wildcat play in the first quarter where Cutler looked completely disinterested in being a decoy. Despite a solid completion percentage, Cutler’s accuracy still needs to improve. He is not putting the ball in spots for his receivers to make bigger gains. Cutler also is not challenging defenses deep, which is a strength of his, and isn’t handling the blitz with consistency because at times he holds the ball too long. Cutler was sacked a season-high four times against New Orleans. He also fumbled, but it was recovered by Miami.

Grade: D-minus

What’s next: Cutler and the Dolphins (1-2) will play their first game of the season at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans (2-2). Tennessee is coming off its worst loss of the season, a 57-14 drubbing by the Houston Texans.

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