Playing in what could only be considered a ‘must win’, the Miami Dolphins played their most complete game of the 2010 season. Yes, they were hurt. Yes, they gave up a 101 kickoff return on the games opening play. BUT, the Miami Dolphins managed to continue fighting in their 33-17 route of the Oakland Raiders.
The Dolphins held the ball for over 41 minutes in the game and controlled it throughout. Even though they down 14-13 at halftime, they still felt like they were doing things right. The ground game was held in check early, but unlike previous weeks, they stuck with it. Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown combined for 180 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Chad Henne, back from his knee injury, had his best game of the year, throwing for 2 touchdowns and 307 yards. He did have one brain cramp when he threw into zone coverage and was easily picked off at the goal line. But the Dolphins were resilient and played like this game was a playoff game.
The defense was the even bigger story of the day. They held the Raiders offense to just 16 yards on the ground. This is impressive considering the Raiders came into the game as one of the league’s best rushing teams. Since one TD was given up on a kickoff return, the defense only surrendered 10 points, all the while getting off the field when they needed to. Additionally, the Dolphins turned the Raiders over 3 times (int’s by Bell and Clemens and a fumble recovery by Bell).
The Dolphins put up their highest point total on offense without Brandon Marshall. They could’ve had another 6 points if their usually reliable kicker didn’t miss two field goals. Overall a great game that the Dolphins desparately needed. They improved to 5-1 on the road and now must turn their attention to taking care of business at home.
With the Pats, Jets, Ravens, and Steelers all winning this weekend, the Dolphins still find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture. BUT, if they can win this weekend against the Cleveland Browns, they will move closer to 2 of the teams they are chasing. The Ravens play the Steelers and the Jets play the Patriots. While the Jets and Pats are both 3 games up on the Phins, they could move to within one game of the Pittsburgh Steelers or Baltimore Ravens. 1 game out with 4 to play; I’d say they’d be playing meaningful games in December, wouldn’t you?