The game started off with the Dolphins just not getting the breaks that they needed to get some points on the board, or gain any momentum at all during the first half. Then, slowly but surely the wheels started falling off the bus.
Tyler Thigpen couldn’t get a drive going. Cory Procter got hurt, and Miami was forced to move their starting left guard, Richie Incognito, to center. Pat McQuistan came in in the place of Incognito at left guard.
The defense couldn’t get off the field. Benny Sapp and Al Harris were getting burnt in coverage all night long. Yes, Sapp had an interception, but he also got torched mutliple times.
Just when the situation seemed that it could not get any worse, Brandon Marshall self-distructs. First he drops a pass, then commits a taunting penalty for tossing a ball to Jay Cutler, then drops another ball. Marshall’s night culminates in him leaving the game late in the first half, and not returning due to a hamstring injury.
It was just one of those nights for the Dolphins. The lone bright spot was the performance of Cameron Wake, who finished with a sack, a forced fumble and five tackles. His trip to the Pro-Bowl should be sealed after he dominated the Bears offensive line. Wake single-handidly forced the Bears offensive line into a couple holding penalties, and what should have been many more also.
What seemed to be the theme of the night for me was really the lack of play makers that we had tonight. Our hired guns, Brandon Marshall and Karlos Dansby, had little to not impact tonight. The usual suspects, Davone Bess, Jake Long, Vontae Davis, and Sean Smith all had little to no impact on the game. While Jake Long was injured, he allowed three sacks by Bears defensive end Julius Peppers.
Thigpen was just completely ineffective as well. Whether it was errant passes, miscommunications, or just plain bad decisions, “Thiggy” showed that he clearly is not ready to be this teams quarterback. He has a couple more games to prove himself to this regime, but right now, based on what he has shown me tonight, he is not anywhere close to getting a new contract with this team after this year. If anything his performance is pushing Jeff Ireland to examine the first round quarterbacks a little more closely now.
While on the topic of offense, well, they did very little to help out their defense, who put in a rather proud effort for what their offense gave them. The offense failed to put any points on the board at home for only the second time in 40 seasons. When your running backs only combine for 7 carries for 12 yards, it is hard to place the outcome on the game on your 3rd-string quarterback.
The offense did not look prepared to go out for this game. They looked more worried dealing with their injuries than they did with their gameplan, which sums up the story of our season. The Dolphins time and time again cannot get their running attack going, and have to rely on their quarterback, and in this situation, putting the game in Thigpen’s hands was simply setting themselves up for failure.
I have to admit that I was excited about this game, and the opportunity it presented. Thigpen was getting a shot, and we all were getting a glimpse at what he brought to this team. The Bears have been somewhat inconsistent all season long, and I for one thought the Dolphins would be able to come in and at least contend with the Bears.
This was not the case though. While the defense gave it there all, the offense let their other unit down. The defense was on the field for 37:51, while the Miami offense only held the ball for 22:09. Ball control will now be the main problem for the Dolphins for the rest of the year, and simply, it has been for us all season. Last year we could turn to our running game to eat away at the clock, and this year our rushing attack never got going, and we do not have that go to ground game to keep the opposing team off of the field.
Going into the season I thought the Dolphins only had a few spots that needed filling after this year, but this season has only raised more questions than answering questions.
Miami now has a 10 day layoff before they travel to Oakland to face off against the Raiders. At this point the Dolphins would need to win out, and get some help to make the playoffs. Hey, I’ve seen crazier things happen, but after the 16-0 shutout the Bears handed us tonight, it’s hard to believe in the guys that we have playing right now.