Give the Miami Dolphins credit, they haven’t given up on the 2011 season…although many Dolphins fans have. On Sunday, the Dolphins beat up on the injury ravaged Buffalo Bills, en route to a 35-8 victory. The Dolphins took control of this game early and never took their foot off the gas pedal. The Bills moved the ball well on their opening drive, getting on the board first with a field goal. But after that, the Dolphins defense tightened up and the offense made the most of their possessions. The Dolphins immediately answered the Bills’ field goal with a 12 play, 87 yard touchdown drive. The Dolphins defense forced the Bills into a 3 on the next possession and the Dolphins offense took the ball right back down the field for a touchdown. The Bills next possession ended in a turnover, when Nolan Carroll intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick’s pass. Again, the Dolphins turned the turnover into points, capped off by Charles Clay’s first career TD reception.
Matt Moore had another very good day. He completed 14 of 20 passes for 160 yards and 3 TDs (133.3 QB rating). Moore looks much more relaxed and in control of the Dolphins offense than he did earlier this season. Moore’s excellent day improved his QB rating for the season to 85.8. And, FINALLY, a Dolphins QB has more TDs than INTs (7 to 5). Give Moore credit, he’s making the most of his opportunity, showing improvement and guiding the Dolphins to victories. Do I think he’s the future franchise QB of the Dolphins? Of course not. I still think the Dolphins need to invest an early draft pick in a QB. BUT, Moore is under contract for 2012 and is making a serious case to remain on the team, at the very least, as the backup QB next year.
Brandon Marshall had a surprisingly quiet day, catching only 1 pass for 5 yards. Charles Clay led the Dolphins receivers, catching 4 balls for 69 yards (17.3 avg) and a TD. The Dolphins running game wasn’t very effective, but with a big lead, they stuck with it, totaling 95 yards on 33 carries (2.7 avg). Daniel Thomas was the leading rusher, carrying 15 times for 50 yards (3.3 avg). Reggie Bush added 15 carries for 32 yards (2.1 avg) and a TD.
The Dolphins defense again showed why so many NFL analysts thought they would be a Top 5 unit this year. They held the Bills to 247 yards and forced 2 turnovers (INTs). The Dolphins defense also kept the Bills from converting ANY 3rd down conversions. The Bills were 0-12 on third down on the day. Nolan Carroll and Yeramiah Bell picked off Fitzpatrick. The Dolphins also sacked Fitzpatrick twice (Odrick and Taylor). Odrick’s sack allowed the 2nd year DE to show off his Pee Wee Herman Dance again.
The Dolphins special teams weren’t to be outdone. Chris Clemons blocked a punt, which traveled all the way to the Bills goal line, where Lex Hilliard covered up and scored a Dolphins touchdown. Earlier this weekend, the Dolphins signed Shayne Graham due to Dan Carpenter’s injured groin. Graham didn’t have to kick anything but extra points (5).
Overall, the Dolphins played another well-rounded game, which is encouraging. But, we have to keep in mind that they did this against 3 teams that aren’t exactly world-beaters. The Dolphins are keeping their dream for the playoffs alive, but they’ll need to win their next 6 games to have a shot. We don’t think this is likely, but the players and coaching staff certainly do. Here’s the link to Tony Sparano’s post game speech. If they continue to play well, there’s no reason they can’t beat any team in the AFC right now. But, like we said last week, it’s still hard to talk about the playoffs when the team is still 4 games under .500 (3-7). The Dolphins will have a short week this week, as they travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Get ready for highlight after highlight of the Leon Lett game!