Jacoby Brissett, Miami Dolphins vow to be aggressive when the time is right

LAS VEGAS -- For more than three quarters of Sunday's 31-28 overtime loss against the Las Vegas Raiders, the Miami Dolphins offense looked, well, uninspiring.

Turns out, there was a reason behind that.

Making his first start at quarterback in place of Tua Tagovailoa, who is on injured reserve and will miss at least the next two games, Jacoby Brissett struggled for most of the game. Miami entered the fourth quarter with more rushing yards (82) than net passing yards (75) as Brissett attempted just one pass that traveled 20 or more yards downfield, per NFL Next Gen Stats.

When asked about his hesitance to push the ball deep, Brissett said it was part of Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley's scheme -- Las Vegas' 9.05 yards allowed per completion ranks No. 6 in the NFL, mainly because Bradley is intent on his defenders keeping the ball in front of them.

"Going against Gus ... it's like a sin for the defense to get the ball pushed behind them," Brissett said. "Early on, we had to understand and take what they gave us. Over time, they would get tired of it and we would have our chances down the field.

"As you see, we did have chances down the field towards the end. We just didn't make the plays and I think we will down the line. It was good to see how we would react in those situations."

The Dolphins struggled to gain yards on early downs and then converted just six of 18 third-down attempts, facing an average of 6.8 yards to gain per attempt.

In the fourth quarter and overtime, however, Miami was more willing to stretch the field.

Brissett set the Dolphins up for the game-tying touchdown when he took a shot 27 yards downfield into the end zone to Mack Hollins, who drew a pass interference penalty that gave Miami the ball at the 1-yard line. Brissett also nearly won the game in overtime with a pass to William Fuller V that travelled 45.1 air yards, per NFL Next Gen Stats; the ball ultimately fell incomplete but would have ended the game if Fuller had come down with it.

Aggressive plays like those are reasons why Miami gained 173 of its 330 total yards in the fourth quarter and overtime. It was not enough to win the game but Dolphins coach Brian Flores said he didn't consider the process of taking what the defense gives to be inefficient -- rather, it's necessary.

"Oftentimes what happens is when you take what they give you, if you continue to get first downs doing that, move the ball and they will change what they are doing and that's when you get your opportunities offensively," Flores said. "... I think we had some other opportunities where we could have pushed the ball a little bit."

The Dolphins will have a chance to be aggressive in their approach and take what the defense gives them in Week 4 when they play host to the Indianapolis Colts (1 p.m. ET, Sunday, CBS) and their vulnerable secondary. Indianapolis' 12.71 yards allowed per completion is the second-highest mark in the league and its pass rush ranks 26th in quarterback pressure rate at 27.5% on dropbacks.

The Colts also give opposing quarterbacks an average of 2.78 seconds to throw the ball, which is the 12th-longest in the NFL.

Brissett, who started 30 games for the Colts from 2017 to 2020, said the way Miami ended the Raiders game gives him confidence as he continues to fill in for Tagovailoa.

"I think in all phases of the game we took a step forward, I think we got better," Brissett said. "I think a lot of guys came up and made a lot of plays. We prepared well and I think some of it showed. We obviously left a couple plays out there, I know I did personally. ...

"There are no moral victories in this league, but I think we have a lot of stuff to build off of."