Olivier Vernon – Vernon finished the day with 2 sacks, the biggest one coming late in the 4th quarter as the Rams were trying to move into position for the game-tying field goal. Vernon left the game in the 1st half with an injury, but thankfully was okay and able to return. The Dolphins rookie defensive end has been playing better as the season goes on and could eventually be the pass rusher opposite Cameron Wake that we’ve been waiting for.
Joe Philbin – Philbin has taken his share of criticism this season. However, it appears that the players like him and will play hard for him. I liked the aggressiveness Joe Philbin showed in the 4th quarter, in his own territory, calling a fake punt. Philbin is seen as a passive aggressive coach, which set up the Rams to be fooled by the fake punt. Jeff Fisher never saw it coming because of Philbin’s demeanor. Great call by the coach to bleed the clock more in the 4th quarter. I’ll admit, this play shocked me and I’d probably be killing coach Philbin if it didn’t work!
Dan Carpenter – Carpenter didn’t miss a field goal against the Rams, whoo hoo! Actually, is field goal in the 2nd quarter ended up being pretty important because that is exactly the margin by which the Dolphins won. We can only hope that Carpenter’s early season struggles are behind him.
Marlon Moore – Moore only caught 3 balls, but one of them was for a very important touchdown that gave the Dolphins a 7-6 lead. Moore ran by the cornerback and was wide open. Tannehill hit him in stride and got the Dolphins on the board. Moore took a small step on Sunday. With Jabar Gaffney (hopefully) being able to step in after the bye week, the Dolphins receiving corps might be getting a little bit better.
What I didn’t like
Reggie Bush – Tannehill did not have a solid running game to help him out against the Rams. The Dolphins, once potent, offense has been lackluster since Reggie Bush hurt his knee against the Jets. Bush, who was averaging 5.5 yards per carry earlier this season, was held to just 17 yards on 12 carries (1.4 yards per carry). Reggie seems to be dancing a bit more behind the line of scrimmage than he was earlier in the year. That will hopefully improve as his health improves and he has 2 weeks to get healthy during the bye week. The Dolphins running game must improve to help Tannehill and the rest of the offense.
Offensive Line – The Dolphins offensive line must do a better job of opening running lanes for running backs. Reggie Bush, as mentioned above, it also to blame. However, the Dolphins offensive line must do a better job of putting a helmet on a helmet and sustaining their blocks. They also must do a better job of avoiding penalties. There is a ton of talent on this offensive line and they are better than what they showed on Sunday. Richie Incognito, a personal favorite of mine, needs to do a better job of playing smart. Before coming to Miami, Richie had a history of taking personal foul penalties. For the most part, he’s done a great job of playing smart football. On Sunday, he played like the old Richie and took a pointless personal foul penalty.
Run Defense – The Dolphins had the top rushing defense in the NFL entering week 6. Apparently they left that rush defense at home on Sunday, as they allowed the Rams to rush for 162 yards and 1 TD. The Dolphins gave up way too many yards on the ground and too many long runs. The Dolphins have succeeded at stopping the opponents running game and forcing them to be one dimensional. If they want to continue to win games, they need to get back to playing dominant rush defense.
Overall, the statistics weren’t in the Dolphins favor on Sunday. But the one that matters, the final score, was in their favor. The Dolphins got a home win that the needed in the worst way. Now they can head to the bye week, get healthy, and prepare to travel to New York in 2 weeks to take on the Jets. Between now and then, the Jets will travel to New England to take on the Patriots in Foxboro. The Dolphins can sit home, relax, and get ready for what should be a great divisional game.
We’ll be sticking to our normal schedule here at PhinNation, but will have a few new features this week. Including an interview with Jake Long’s wife Jackie! Jackie was nice enough to tell us all about her charity work and give us some inside info on Jake! Check back later this week to see the interview.