Dolphins spoil Moss’ Titans debut in Fins 29-17 win

In what may have been the strangest game I have ever watched, in a game where 6 different people were under center and threw a pass, in a game where five different quarterbacks were used, and in a game where the running game was absolutely ineffective, the Miami Dolphins somehow found a way to pull out the win, led by their aerial attack.

It seems that this team has decided to almost abandon the running game as a whole. They threw the ball a total of 37 times, as opposed to only 30 times on the ground.

A lot of that gameplan though can be attributed to the teams horrid run-blocking. Seriously, something needs to be done about this, and in the off-season this area needs to be re-evaluated, because whoever thought that we would be fine with Joe Berger as our center should be fired.

Only 88 yards were amassed on the ground, and 49 of those were out of the Wildcat formation, which saw a rebirth of sorts in todays game. The Dolphins used this formation close to the end of the 3rd quarter when Chad Henne went down with a left knee injury. If the Fins would have sent in 3rd-string quarterback Tyler Thigpen before the start of the 4th quarter, Henne or Chad Pennington would not have been able to re-enter the game. So Miami turned to the Wildcat to end the 3rd quarter, and the formation gained 49 yards of total offense.

But back to the QB injuries. The Chad Pennington era was short-lived, in what was an almost eery start to the game. Pennington banged his right arm off of the back of Jake Long as he went down, on the first play of the game for the Dolphins, and never returned. Henne then proceeded to lead the Dolphins into the end-zone for the 7-0 lead.

In light of the benching of Henne for Pennington, Henne came in and had a very promising showing. Maybe the benching lighted a spark under Henne to get him going a little bit. Henne threw for 240 yards on a 19/28 showing. Henne also threw a 13 yard touchdown to Patrick Cobbs, and an interception that was intended for Brandon Marshall.

Henne seemed to get better as the game went along, but there were still some mistakes that should be corrected. Henne still seems to lock onto his receiver, and now that the rumors that he is calling for max-protection during most plays is out in the open, I did notice Henne only sending two receivers out on routes early on in the game.

But after Henne got into a groove, he found his receivers on a pretty consistent basis, hooking up with Anthony Fasano, and Brian Hartline for most of the day.

Fasano finished the day with 5 catches for 107 yards and the game clinching touchdown from Tyler Thigpen, and Hartline registered 98 yards on 5 catches, with a long of 54 yards off of a flea-flicker play call.

Gettin “Thiggy” With It:

With the loss of both of our top two quarterbacks, it was time for the 3rd string quarterback, Tyler Thigpen to come into the game and seal the win for the Dolphins.

After a sloppy over-thrown pass to Davone Bess on his first attempt, Thigpen finished the night 4/6 for 64 yards and a touchdown pass to Fasano.

What was re-assuring and promising in Thigpen’s one quarter audition was he seemed that he had the “It-Factor” that the Dolphins regime has been looking for at quarterback for years, ever since the departure of Dan Marino. Thigpen led the Dolphins down the field, 85 yards, and showed that he has what it takes to be in the competition for the starting quarterback job.

After both Pennington and Henne were injured today, it will be more than likely that Thigpen will get the start against the Chicago Bears on Thursday night, with Henne getting an MRI at 6:30 pm tonight.

Defense Makes Plays:

Throughout most of the season the Dolphins defense has had trouble coming up with turnovers, forcing two fumbles and one interception. Granted, the interception came on the Titans last series, with rookie Reshad Jones picking off a Vince Young pass in the endzone to end the Titans threat. Jones finished the game with 2 tackles, one sack, and an interception.

The secondary also shutdown Randy Moss during the game, only allowing him one catch for 26 yards, and that was in zone coverage, in the zone of Al Harris. The only other impact that Moss had on the game was a pass-interference call against Vontae Davis. Other than that Moss was completely shut down by Davis, Harris, and Sean Smith. The secondary is improving and it clearly shows. They stepped up and shut down one of the best vertical threats in the game not once, but twice this season, and in two games against Moss, have held him to one catch for 26 yards.

Rollout:

  • Yeremiah Bell finished the game with 8 tackles, one sack, and a forced fumble. After going through a mostly disappointing season, it was nice to see him return to his Pro-Bowl form.
  • Brandon Marshall was frustrated much throughout the game against single coverage courtesy of Tennessee’s Cortland Finnegan. Marshall was held to 34 on 3 catches.
  • The Dolphins caught a rather large case of the injury bug today, with Pennington, Henne, Joe Berger, Cameron Wake, Kendall Langford, Yeremiah Bell and Chris Clemons all suffering injuries during todays game.

The Dolphins impressed me today, and came out with a rather convincing victory over a good, quality team in the Titans. The Fins now play the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football, and with a short week, and only three days to come up with a gameplan for Tyler Thigpen at the helm, Miami will be looking to move to 6-4 by the end of the week.


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