Up, then down. High, then low. Ascension, then freefall. Hope, then reality. These phrases define my overall feeling during the Miami Dolphins performance on Sunday. It’s baffling how the Dolphins ARE able do things right, but just don’t do them right enough of the time. They were able to address every concern I had for them at some point during the game. The problem is they only address it for a portion of the game.
Obviously, the D had to be the biggest question that you had to have for the Dolphins. How would they handle a dangerous Texan receiving core? Your answer, good…okay well alright…some of the time. Schaub went 21/29 for 230 yds and 2 touchdowns. 7 of those completions went to Andre Johnson for 93 yds and 1 TD. How do I even consider this an alright performance? First off, they didn’t let the Texans go for 500+ yds and 4TDs. Secondly, they were able to bend, but not break. The Dolphins were able to hold the Texans to a Red Zone efficiency of only 1/5, forcing the Texans to settle for field goals rather than TDs. The first Texan TD only came when they started on the Dolphins’ 6 yard line. Third, they “only” gave up 23 points to an explosive Texans’ offense. So yes, I can actually say that I was high on the defense’s performance, at first.
So we have the Dolphin defense playing better, holding them to field goals. Then we queue up a blown coverage that leaves Andre Johnson wide open in the end-zone. How do you blow coverage on ANDRE JOHNSON? It’s one thing if he physically beats you. He’s a superior athlete that can beat just about any DB, but how do you let HIM just go uncovered? We also just seem to give up enough yards for them to get a first down and extend their drive. The D played better, but in no way great. The Dolphins’ defense also cannot stay healthy throughout an entire game, as Davis and Dansby both missed time on Sunday due to injuries. The defense was undoubtedly up and down, much like the offense.
Dolphins Offense/“Special” Teams:
Before I actually get into the play of the Dolphins’ Offense, I must comment on a coaching choice. Why, after winning the coin toss, would we defer? Don’t get me wrong, I love getting the ball after half; I always do that when I play NCAA ’12, but after the way Henne came out on their first drive last week, why would you go on D first? I would just like to know the thought process there. Maybe it was the right choice, as the offense sputtered with a three-and-out on their first drive.
I had two questions for the Miami Dolphin offense entering the game on Sunday. The first was, whether or not Henne could continue his success. That answer was no. Chad went 12/30 (40% completion rate) for 170 yds for 1 TD and 1 INT that truly was not his fault. At times, Henne threw with good accuracy, making smart decisions. Once we get the redzone, he falls apart, throwing the ball out of bounds, giving his receivers no chance of making a catch. So again, we drive and drive, but can’t finish the job. The O-line showed weak pass blocking all day, getting Henne sacked twice, hurried all day, and hit while throwing; resulting in Henne’s interception. On the other hand, the Dolphins had their most momentum when the line opened up holes for Thomas to pound out an impressive 107 yds on 18 carries (5.95 y/c) debut; which answered my second question of whether or not the Dolphins could further their running game. They must have run that draw play 12 times in the third quarter. The Dolphins have a bad habit, though it worked on Sunday, of finding one play that worked twice and running far too many times. Just as Thomas is about to break 100 yards and the Dolphins are rolling, every Dolphins fan had to have that feeling of “here it comes” and it does with a Thomas fumble. It’s almost laughable…but overall, Thomas did look solid and might be able to be that “one cut” back that we love. Only time will tell.
I don’t even want to write this next part and you know what I’m talking about. My emotions went from anger, to disbelief, to a laughing fit of rage. I am not trying to be funny when I say I have seen high school teams with better special teams. I try to think about how this could happen in the NFL, where you get paid millions, MILLIONS to play a few downs a game and you can’t do it right? I’ll even let the one Carpenter missed go, but if he doesn’t kick the second one at the snappers head we are down by 7 and in the game at the end. Also, if Jason Trusnik is still in uniform this coming week, this organization is clueless. He wouldn’t be for the Pats or Jets.
Dolphins Key Player: Daniel Thomas. I was between Thomas and Marshall, but despite his fumble, I really like what I saw from Thomas who got NO help from Bush or the laughable LJ.
Texans Key Player: Dan Carpenter. Okay seriously, I’ll actually give it to Andre Johnson who had a good game, but I don’t think the Texans would disagree with my initial pick.
Defining Moment: Thomas’ fumble. It did not result in points for the Texans, but it absolutely killed any momentum the Phins were able to gather at that point in the game and you could just tell it was over once it happened.
Looking Ahead: This Sunday we head to Cleveland to face off against the Browns. Three pieces of good news come with this: 1. It’s the Browns. 2. It’s a back to normal 1pm start time. 3. Sadly, it’s a welcomed away game.
Final Thought: This game has become what we expect in a Dolphins game. They hang around, giving you hope they might pull it off then just disappoint.
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