Fourth down decisions were a big part of the Dolphins downfall on Sunday
On the other hand, had they converted on 4th down, they would have gotten a 20-3 lead in a game that Carolina won with 20 points.
A missed opportunity to put Carolina in a desperate situation.
In the second half, the Dolphins missed a 52 yard field goal on another 4th and short.
Team MVP Brandon Fields could have backed Carolina inside their ten yard line and allowed Kevin Coyle’s defense a chance to be aggressive.
The most likely outcome would have been a 3 and out and another set of downs for the offense in good field position.
Going for it on fourth down was the other way the team could have gone after a two possession lead to put Carolina on the ropes.
Another missed opportunity.
The Dolphins made intelligent football decisions if you look at it from a “one game at a time” perspective, but in the bigger picture, it does not look good.
The current logic gives them a chance to win almost every football game, but leaves them playing musical chairs at the end of each contest.
Experts have no better chance to predict the outcome at the beginning of the fourth quarter than the opening coin toss.
A toss up each and every week except New Orleans.
This week, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera stole the game when he faced a fourth and ten late in the game on his own twenty yard line, down by three points.
Traditional football logic would have dictated a punt in hopes of one last possession without timeouts for a chance at a long field goal to send the game into overtime.
He went for it and got it.
His team got a touchdown to win the game, albeit aided by a questionable late hit call on Cam Newton out of bounds.
The Dolphins almost won on a hail mary, but the lesson here was that 4th down decisions can define your season.
You want to go for it more often because a conversion is as good as a turnover, while a failed conversion is only a loss of yards.
However, the real 4th down power play for this team could be found by kicking less field goals.
If the Dolphins want to get on their own winning streak, they must focus on scoring at least 24 points per game.
There are only so many ways to do it if you take the safety and the two point conversion out of the conversation:
4 touchdowns = 28 points
3 touchdowns + 1 field goal = 24 points
2 touchdowns + 4 field goals = 26 points
1 touchdown + 6 field goals = 25 points
0 touchdowns + 8 field goals = 24 points
The chart makes it painfully obvious that the team needs to score at least three touchdowns per game to score enough to win consistently.
Most people accept the idea that a field goal is about half as good as a touchdown.
And that is how you lose games.
It takes three field goals to overcome a touchdown.
Be cautious, Miami Dolphins, of the seductive power of the field goal, those “easy” points are costing you dearly.