Going into tonight’s game against the New England Patriots, I predicted that the Dolphins would come out victorious, led by a defense that would put th pressure on quarterback Tom Brady, and limit the Pats no huddle offense.
As it turns out, Brady proved me out to be one of the worst prophets ever (hopefully this trend doesnt continue for the rest of the season).
In a game where I was expecting the defense to pick up the offense, it was quite the opposite.
Chad Henne quieted the doubters at least for the time being, in throwing for 416 yards and two touchdowns, on a 30-49 passing performance. Henne also threw and interception in the game, but this came on the last play of the game, on a hail mary.
Henne was also the teams leading rusher, which is not a promising sign, seeing as how that is why we traded for Reggie Bush and drafted Daniel Thomas, to run the ball. Henne ran for more yards (59) than Bush and fellow running back Lex Hilliard combined for (38). Thomas sat ou tonight’s game with a hamstring injury.
The passing game was a strength tonight, as everyone who caught the ball tonight had a positive impact on the offense. Star receiver Brandon Marshall hauled in 7 catches for 139 yards, Davone Bess registered 92 yards on 5 catches, Brian Hartline caught a touchdown pass, along with 4 passes for 47 yards. Bush also caught a touchdown pass, as well as 9 passes for 57 yards.
The positive on the offensive side of the ball, Henne looked as confident managing this offense as he ever has in his career. He was audibling, managing the clock, as well as making sure everyone got involved. Most importantly though, Henne did not make mistakes in this game. Sure, he did have the one interception, but that did not come until the last play of the game.
For Henne to be as aggressive as he was coming right out of the gate tonight has to be a indication that the quarterback may finally be getting “it”.
The bad news along the offensive side of the ball was the line. Henne was hit on numerous occasions, and often had to improvise, either by scrambling out of the pocket, or throwing the ball earlier than he would like. There was also multiple penalties that simply should not happen. While we knew the line would need some work, this cannot be a continuing problem for this regime. All of the tinkering that they have done over the past two years may finally be catching up to them.
While the offensive side of the ball had very few negatives, it was the defensive side of the ball that lost the game for Miami. In any other game that we play in, 24 points would be enough to pull out the win. But when a defense gives up 622 total yards, 517 of them passing, one cannot expect their team to win.
My biggest issue with the defense was the lack of pressure. Any quarterback can look golden when given enough time, but when Brady gets as much time as he did tonight, he looks like the best ever. Brady was hit on very few occasions, and was only sacked once, by Cameron Wake. By not getting pressure, this forced the linebackers and secondary who dropped back into coverage to work over time, and expend perhaps more energy than they would if they weren’t going full speed for the extra couple seconds every play.
The Patriots no huddle offense certainly did not help the defenses cause either. On multiple plays throughoutthe nigt the Dolphins were barely lined up before the ball was snapped. And the worst part was that Miami had gameplanned for the no huddle offense all this week!
The only players to stick out on defense for me were Benny Sapp, who got torched for two touchdowns, one a 99 yard to Wes Welked, along with Nolan Carroll, who did not look promising in cover duty for the cramping Sean Smith and Vontae Davis in the fourth quarter. Because of both of the Fins nickel corner backs, and their lack of physical play, it would not surprise me if Miami went out and re-signed Will Allen tomorrow morning.
With the Dolphins defense cramping up later in the game, and multiple others looking fatigued and ineffective because of this, I have to wonder what exactly Tony Sparano is doing in practice? We were worn down on our home turf, in the heat that we are supposed to be used to. Instead, the Patriots threw the ball all over us, and thus embarrassed the defense in the process.
With the Houston Texans coming up next week, I’m worried that our defense will repeat tonight’s performance, and cause our team to fall to 0-2, something which cannot happen.
Holding A Grudge:
Dating back to the last couple of seasons, the Dolphins cannot put together a solid game, where every aspect of the team puts in a solid performance. If the defense is playing dominating ball, it is the offense that lays an egg. If the offense is firing on all cylinders, it is the defense that cannot get a stop, or the special teams that can’t do anything right. The day that the Dolphins can put together multiple solid outings, is the day that they finally become true playoff contenders.