After two home losses, the Dolphins will take their show on the road looking for their first win of 2011, as they head to the Dawg Pound Sunday in Cleveland to take on the 1-1 Cleveland Browns. Cleveland got its first win Sunday, beating the Colts in Indy 27-19.
The Fins first challenge entering Cleveland will be to stop Colt McCoy, the young Browns QB who played well in the teams win over Indy. Opposing quarterbacks have a 120.4 rating against the Dolphins in the two games, but those were Tom Brady and Matt Schaub, who all-star QB’s who are well over the class of McCoy.
Miami needs to get pressure on McCoy, and not let him get out of the pocket and escape. Against the Colts, McCoy showed some speed escaping some of the rushes from the Colts solid D-line, and running for a first-down at one point in the second half when the Browns were ahead and trying to close the game out.
This is the fifth time in six years Miami has started 0-2, but the Dolphins play their next three on the road, where they went 6-2 last year. “Us being in an 0-2 hole, it’s kind of like a must win,” safety Yeremiah Bell said. “We’ve got to turn this thing around. It’s on the players.”
Miami needs to run the ball with success if they are going to have a shot to beat the Browns. The Bengals ran well in week one against Cleveland, and with Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush, the Dolphins have to get at least a 150 on the ground between the two backs to keep Cleveland’s offense off the field and get a win.
Chad Henne will get the start again under center for Miami. After passing for 416 yards in the opener, he was mediocre last Sunday, going 12 of 30 for 170 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Miami has been limited to four TDs in 10 red-zone opportunities and has scored just 60 percent of the time, tied for 30th in the league.
It’s going to be up to that run game to help out Henne, as last week in the loss to the Texans, Thomas had 18 carries for 107 yards. Bush had seven touches for 21 yards after getting 20 touches in the opener.
Miami also has to keep track of Cleveland on special teams, as Josh Cribbs is coming off another big week of returns against the Colts, and he was the Special Teams player of the week. The Fins can’t lose track of where he is at all times on punt and kick returns, and have to not give up a cheap one to him Sunday.
The Browns have won three straight over the Dolphins, but those have been in Miami, and the Dolphins seem to play with a lot more confidence on the road. They were 6-2 last season, and against a sub-par Cleveland team, they will get a close win with the run game doing enough to pull out a victory to get to 1-2. Miami 21 Cleveland 17