Monday, October 18, 2010

Took A Bit Longer Than Expected...

Well not only did my computer crash at the start of the Dolphins game yesterday, and take several hours to repair, but the Dolphins took longer than expected to beat the Green Bay Packers, with a 23-20 overtime win.  That scoreline was pretty close to my prediction of a Dolphins loss of 23-20 in OT.  And in fact, after winning the OT coin toss and electing to receive the ball, the Dolphins almost did lose the game after a three and out to start the extra time.

But the Dolphins defense stood up and got the ball back and the Dolphins are back to having a winning record.  Unfortunately, the Jets and Patriots also won, keeping Miami in 3rd place in the AFC East.

However, there was enough going on in the game to keep the learned fan busy regardless of the division relevance.  For one, the Dolphins still made some bizarre mistakes:  Bobby Carpenter missed another block on a punt formation, leading to a deflection on the kick (if he isn't cut already, he should be); with 4 seconds left in regulation, and the ball near midfield, the Dolphins coaches called for a knee.  Surely a Hail Mary would've been the obvious option with very little risk involved;  and despite a better turnout by Nolan Carroll, he missed some obvious running lanes and could've had a couple of huge runbacks on kickoffs.  Chad Henne made about 4 really poor reads and about 6 poor throws.  And there were three costly holding penalties -one on a FG, and two drive stoppers.  And one more issue I had with the game was newly crowned Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi acting like a 12 year old on the sidelines.  He spent almost every ST play up in the face of Head Coach Tony Sparano, and seemed to be shouting, "Hey Dad, What Happened Dad?  Dad look at me!  Hello, Dad, er, I mean Tony, Me Me Me ME ME!!"

However, there were some very positive aspects of the game, besides the W of course.  For one, this was the first Dolphins game of the season where they came out from the get go and looked to have an actual game plan.  Granted that game plan included a lot more passing than I would've liked, but the passing game definitely opened up the run later on.  Of course, they did at times call some ridiculous ill-timed plays, but they seemed to be ahead of the Packers Defense for most of the game.  Secondly, the O-line may have had an easy task what with half the Packers defense on the bench, but they didn't allow a single QB sack or knockdown (I'm not sure they even had any QB Hurries).  Jake Long was unstoppable and there were no injuries to any O-linemen.  At times, both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams looked shifty and bruising (though I still pray one day Ronnie will get more carries - if you're going to let Henne throw the ball 40 times, why not let Ronnie run it 25 times?).

Ultimately the game was not perfect but it was a huge boost in confidence after the drubbing by New England two weeks earlier.

I hate to end on a sour note but there were some issues on Dolphins Defense, and they need to be mentioned:
Vontae Davis had a horrible game, and Sean Smith seems incapable of catching the ball after he dropped an interception - he played 'Hot Potato' with the ball.  He wasn't very good for the rest of the game either.  Benny Sapp made a couple of good plays but was also very shaky overall.  And why Yeremiah Bell is playing deep while Chris Clemons plays the 'rover' role is beyond me.  Jason Allen got picked on at times but for the most part made tackles, intercepted the ball, knocked down another - he seemed to be the only one in the secondary really trying for the first half.  In fact, if it wasn't for the impressive pass rush up front, I think Aaron Rodgers could've had a career day against our secondary.  While or tight end, Anthony Fasano got wide open on his touchdown play, there were Packers receivers that open all game.  Twenty yards here, thirty yards there, another twenty, fifteen, twenty five, etc., the Dolphins continue to get beat deep and seem to be doing nothing about it from a formative standpoint.  I'm convinced that the secondary is wearing cleats that are too long, as they seem to keep getting their feet stuck in the turf on cutbacks and hook routes.  I'm also convinced that the Dolphins will have to go all defense in the 2011 draft again, since we'll need 2 DBs, 2 LBs and a DT or two.

This team is not there yet, but after the previous game, this is one to celebrate.

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