Dolphins coach Adam Gase said that the Dolphins were being more patient with their offense than those who wanted them to “bench everybody” after a pair of three-and-outs in the preseason opener, but he did bench a couple of starters from that game.
First-round pick Laremy Tunsil replaced Dallas Thomas at left guard and Jermon Bushrod got the start at right guard in place of Billy Turner. The change didn’t lead to immediate dividends — a sack by Cowboys defensive lineman Jack Crawford ended the first possession after three plays — but things got better as the night progressed.
Ryan Tannehill hit Kenny Stills in stride for a 55-yard gain to kick off the second possession and would have had a touchdown if tight end Jordan Cameron was able to hold onto a pass he should have caught in the end zone. The third drive finally brought the starters their first points of the year when Tannehill connected with Stills for a 13-yard touchdown to cap a 75-yard drive.
Tannehill played one more drive, facing Cowboys backups for the most part by that point, and threw another touchdown to Stills a play after Jarvis Landry dropped one in the end zone.
Tannehill wound up 12-of-20 for 162 yards and two touchdowns for a more encouraging outing than he had against the Giants. He didn’t get much help on the ground as Jay Ajayi ran six times for 19 yards and Arian Foster lost five yards on two carries in his first game appearance with the team.
There’s still work to do, but the night was a better one for the Dolphins offense.