The first half of last nights Miami Dolphins victory was ugly. So ugly that the 45 minute rain break was more fun to watch. The Dolphins defense somehow found a way to keep Tampa Bay to 6 points. It was Brian Hartline, the rookie 4th rounder who stood up to shine last night.
Hartline opened the 2nd half with a 59 yard catch from Chad Pennington…and it wasn’t a dink pass that Hartline caught and ran with. Instead it was a perfectly thrown in stride pass down the sideline. Hartline went down at the 5 and the Dolphins converted that into their only TD. It would be enough to win. Opening 2nd half drive TD and then energy drinks to stay awake.
The Phins offense was anemic most of the night and if not for the pass rushing attack of the Miami Defense the game would have been a complete bore. By the time Pennington gave way to Henne at the end of the 3rd, you were already probably waiting for the time to tick away.
QB’s: Chad Pennington missed more than a few balls. He threw balls at the receivers feet, into the ground and more than a couple sailed on him. Still, he came away with a FG drive and a TD drive. The TD drive looked good but unfortuanetly it was the only one of the night as the entire offense struggled. Chad Henne gets the “Mumble” award for last nights game. His “Happy Feet” routine did him no favors and he opened his game with 2 series of incomplete passes. On the night, Henne never really settled down and seemed to dance in the pocket. On one play he rolled out and immediately tucked the ball and sprinted to the sidelines for no gain. In the 4th quarter he actually began to show some some calm but ended the drive with an interception at TB 13 yardline. It was picked by a D-lineman. On the night, Pat White looked the best. He stood on the sidelines with his hat slightly cocked to one side and held the clipboard. O.k. I only wrote that to irritate those who haven’t liked my opinion on White’s play thus far. It’s a joke. He was not going to play last night.
RB’s: Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams ran into the TB defense and never got their game going. Mainly because the Oline couldn’t get them running lanes. Brown came out and was an important part of the 2nd half opening TD drive but then was gone. He and Williams did nothing on the night after that. Patrick Cobbs saw 4 carries and while he shined as a hard worker, his runs only netted a few yards here and there. All eyes were on Lex Hilliard however and Hilliard got some time in with the first teamers in the 2nd half. He bounced his way around and then gave up a fumble in Tampa territory. He walked to the bench with HC Tony Sparano screaming at his back. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for someone that is trying to make the team. Overall, the RB’s faired o.k. but nothing worth writing home about…or writing a recap on.
TE’s: Let’s just say this. Nalbone caught a ball, Fasano finally caught a ball…a TD of course, and David Martin had his thrown just out of his reach. The rest of the time the TE’s were blocking.
Oline: Poor evening for the offensive line. Jake Long was called for a hold and the rest of the line could never completely open up enough of a gap for the rushers to gain much yardage. Pass protection wasn’t much better. Pennington felt the pocket collapse several times and found himself with less than adequate time and Henne hit the dirt a few times as well. Not the showing you would expect from a unit that just had 2 depth players traded away. They looked good on four drives all night. The 3 point FG drive in the 2nd quarter, the TD drive to open the 3rd, the Lex Hilliard fumble drive, and the Chad Henne INT drive. The rest of the evening was nothing worth mentioning.
WR’s: Ted Ginn looked good for the small amount of time he saw a ball thrown his way and Davone Bess had the best catch of the night…but it was out of bounds. Everyone knew tonight was about Brian Hartline.
Hartline caught a 39 yard pass early but was flagged for interference. After that, he was drawing the penalty. A 55 yard pass down the sideline to Hartline set up the Phins only TD and it was surprising to see how much speed he actually has. Hartline was everywhere last night and the TV broadcast did a good job of focusing on him as well.
Brian drew 2 critical penalties that kept the Dolphins moving the chains and in the 2nd half he had the CB’s playing off him. When they tried to jam him at the line, Hartline had little issue getting off the jam and getting open. While he only caught 3 passes, he was thrown to quite a bit but was unable to hold on to the underthrown, overthrown, and in the dirt passes. I think he had one drop on the night.
Greg Camarillo impressed in his most action of the pre-season as well. His knee is fine. He caught a ball on the sidelines and was able to plant his feet and duck his head allowing the defender to go over top of him and then sprinted upfield for a long gain of about 40 yards.
Patrick Turner wasn’t heard from last night and much like Vontae’ Davis is being way overshadowed by a rookie drafted after him.
ST’s: Let’s just say this. The shortbus is still parked outside the Dolphins facility. The Phins special teamers didn’t give up a TD on a punt or a kick-off return but they sure didn’t do anything else. The Tampa return units made good yardage on the Phins defenders and it was usually the last line that were able to stop them. In the Phins return game, I will only say they seriously need to find someone that can return kicks or punts. Ted Ginn runs to the sidelines and then tries to run up the field. How much does he do this? Well, the ST coach for the Buc’s was miked and you could hear him yelling “Watch the sidelines, watch the sidelines” when Ginn was back there. Ginn ran to the sidelines. Davone Bess is not much better. He still struggles with making the first guy miss and that slows him down. He then seems to try and figure out where he is going to go instead of actually going. It boils down to neither one being able to do anything without a little luck in the process.
My defense review will be coming tomorrow.