If you had Week 1 in the "when will Miami's $30-million-man first complain about his number of targets" pool, congratulations! Please collect your prize. It's a turd in a paper bag.
The Dolphins looked, dare we say, impressive in their 23-10 road win over Cleveland. The defense recorded six sacks, and if the ground game didn't get going against the Browns' quality run defense, Ryan Tannehill made up for it with one of his better games as a pro by taking advantage of Cleveland's shallow secondary. With shutdown corner Joe Haden smothering Mike Wallace all afternoon, Dolphins receivers Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson were allowed to run wild on the mediocre likes of Chris Owens and Buster Skrine. Hartline reeled in nine of his 15 targets, Gibson seven of his 10. Wallace, serving a valuable role by drawing Haden, only got five looks for one reception.
Last week, head coach Joe Philbin foreshadowed this distribution. "How are they going to match up to your formations, your personnel groupings and how we could potentially take advantage of that?" he said. "Obviously Haden is an excellent player."
This was a strategy executed to perfection. Naturally, Wallace was furious Tannehill didn't try to force him more balls.
Jeff Ireland escorted a visibly angry Mike Wallace toward the Dolphins locker room Sunday afternoon, the general manager’s arm locked around the player’s waist as he led him away from other people. Ireland talked to the visibly upset and sullen Wallace the entire time as Wallace shook his head in disgust until they both disappeared into the Miami locker room.
As soon as the locker room opened up, Wallace made a break for the parking lot, reporters power walking to keep up. "I don’t feel like talking," he told them.
He was asked about not being targeted more.
"Ask coach. It's not my gameplan."
He was asked if he complained at halftime about not being targeted at all through the first 30 minutes.
Lovely. Wallace is understandably unhappy about being little more than a decoy (he had just one catch for more than 20 yards during the preseason), and it's worrying that he didn't get more looks while in single coverage for an entire game. But if this is how Wallace reacts after the Dolphins win, it could get ugly when they lose their next four.