Fourth down decisions were a big part of the Dolphins downfall on Sunday
By Cyrus (@cyruslassus)
The Miami Dolphins gave their fans a lot to be happy about on Sunday as they looked every bit as good as the red hot Carolina Panthers.
Unfortunately, Carolina made use of the 4th down to edge Miami out of sole possession of the final Wild Card spot in the AFC, which the Dolphins held for a few precious minutes after the Jets loss became final.
Miami has been here before.
They beat the Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers the previous times it fell under .500 and now, with the AFC’s 6th seed seemingly in play for any team with a chance at 8 wins, they go on the road to play the equally below average New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Miami will have to change how they utilize the 4th down if they want to emulate the Panthers and get on a winning streak of their own and claim that playoff berth.
The Miami Dolphins have an outstanding punter and defense and generally make an excellent decision when they punt.
However, I question the convention that you must walk away with points every time you cross the 35 yard line.
The Dolphins had a 4th down and 4 from about the 5 yard line late in the first half with just over two timeouts left.
Rishard Matthews had just been laid out by Luke Kuechly, who was lucky that the flag for an unsportsmanlike hit on a defenseless receiver was picked up.
Philbin used a timeout to argue for a booth review to no avail and then the Dolphins settled for the kick and a 16-3 advantage.
The Panthers marched down the field without timeouts, thanks to a prevent defense, and Miami went into the half up only 16-6.
If Miami had gone for it and come up empty, the defense would have had Carolina in a dangerous spot with a strong chance to get the ball back to the offense. (continued on page 2, CLICK HERE)