The Miami Dolphins had a shot at moving two games over .500 last night, keeping their playoff hopes very much alive, and showing a National TV audience that the two games the blew earlier in the year were nothing more than hiccups in the road. Instead, they played a game that was sloppy from the first series until the end of the game. Somewhere in the middle of the opening kick-off and the final gun, I lost faith in our coaching staff. Last night, to play of the starting QB’s name, was a complete Thigsty!
It started early when the Dolphins appeared as though they may actually have a gameplan. First drive, moving the ball, opening snap pass to Brandon Marshall, and then Henning calls an end-around to Brian Hartline who fumbles. Immediately the chat room asked why? Why then? Why the first series with a new QB who has had maybe 2 days of work with the first team unit? Some even asked why at all?
That would be the closest Miami would come to score. Tyler Thigpen generated nothing with his legs and nothing through the air that mattered. The Dolphins best chance to score came on a first possession play for Chicago when Jay Cutler could have been called for an intentional ground while standing in the end-zone. That was it, over, done.
The Dolphins were the team that was supposed to wear down the Chicago defense and the Chicago offensive line in the humidity of a 70 plus degree night. Instead, the Phins defense failed to stop Cutler’s offense and allowed them significantly longer drives as the night moved on keeping the Miami defense worn down. The Defense didn’t help matters by dropping several would be interceptions, missing tackles, and once again forgetting to cover key members of the offensive unit on 3rd and long. In other words, it was disgusting.
The Dolphins are 5-5 and after this weekend should be 3 games behind division leaders NY and NE. On paper, last nights game is simply a loss and in reality has little consequence in any tie-breaking scenarios that the Phins may face at the end of the year if for some reason they turn it around. It’s an out of conference loss and rarely do games on the other side of the NFL come into tie-breaking play. It won’t in the AFC East and it won’t in the AFC period. Last weeks game, had they lost, would have been worse. As it sits, the Phins can still talk about finishing strong and finishing 11-5 which is the best they can achieve, but last night proves that 6-10 is closer in reach.
Miami lost starting number 1 WR Brandon Marshall to a hamstring injury in the first half. He didn’t return and may miss significant time. Last night they also lost yardage, first downs, and momentum thanks to the recently whiny Marshall. A tossed ball to Jay Cutler on the sidelines cost the team 15 yards, a block in the back cost the Phins a first down, and Marshall dropped a couple of very catchable long yardage balls before exiting the game.
The game was made far worse by the fact that the Dolphins started 3rd string center Corey Proctor who himself was injured during the game in what will likely be a season ending knee injury. He was replaced by RG Richie Incognito who did a great job of snapping the ball into the ground and missing his blocking assignments. Hard to blame a guard who hasn’t played center since high-school. At one point late in the game, the Dolphins had no one left on the bench to sub in if anyone else got hurt.
All of that and no Wild Cat. With the offense struggling so much, it was surprising that Dan Henning didn’t go to the WC at least once. Considering that the team couldn’t pass, run, or block. Maybe that was a pre-designed play for when the offense ran their 30th play. I’m not sure if they got there.
The Dolphins laid a goose egg on the home field for the first time in 40 years, the first time in 9 years on any field. Despite the 3rd string units, the lack of depth, the miserable everything, the coaches need to be accountable regardless of missed assignments. And that will be the subject of my next article later today.