The Miami Dolphins still have life heading into the final stretch of the season. With five games remaining, the team is pinning their hopes on more performances like the one they had yesterday in Oakland, Ca. If only their remaining games were against teams like the Raiders. The Dolphins will have weekly tests moving forward and even if they win their remaining games, they would still need a lot of help from other teams.
On Sunday, the Dolphins posted their first 30 plus point game in 19 consecutive games. It could have been more. Once again, the team settled for field goals instead of touchdowns throughout the game and even sure footed Dan Carpenter missed two. Chad Henne who posted one of his best games as a pro still tossed a red-zone interception. But he added two touchdown passes as well. All in all, it was major improvement of the game the team played a week ago last Thursday.
The Dolphins top receiver was homecoming California native Davone Bess who picked up 111 yards on 6 carries and came one tackle away from breaking a punt return the distance. Bess was catching everything thrown his way which was good considering the large contingent of family and friends in attendance. Bess purchased over 50 tickets for the game. Brian Hartline added 75 and almost broke two touchdowns of his own.
The start of the game had many fans shaking their heads as Jacoby Ford took the opening kick-off 101 yards for a quick seven point lead. The Dolphins defense would put the clamps on Oakland’s anemic offense limiting the 5th ranked rushing offense in the league to a mere 16 total yards. Darren McFadden accounted for 2.
The Phins defense was relentless stopping the run and the game would have been put away early had it not been for a Bruce Gradkowski completion in tight coverage over Chris Clemons to Jacoby Ford for a 44 yard touchdown. Ford finished the day with 108 yards, 52 of those coming on one play and 44 on the touchdown. Still, the Dolphins defense managed to keep Oakland’s QB in check, picking the QB twice, sacking him once, and keeping continual pressure on the pocket.
The story of the day however had to be Chad Henne. Benched three weeks ago in favor of Chad Pennington, then injured coming into the Tennessee game for an injured Pennington, missing one game to injury, Henne looked like a man on a mission. Crisp passes with the right amount of finesse, touch, and fire. Henne was able to take several hits and kept getting up. The only real question was once again the play calling of Dan Henning.
The Dolphins appeared to run the Wild Cat at the wrong times again, and for one series they actually pulled Henne in favor of using Thigpen on an option and a QB draw. While the WC had more life in it this week, the use of the formation on first and second downs then handing the ball over to Henne to convert third and long is not a recipe for offensive continuity.
With the weekend all but wrapped up, the Dolphins find themselves two and a half games out of the Wild Card chase. They are currently tied with Jacksonville and San Diego for the 7th, 8th, and 9th spot in the conference. Kansas City holds a one game lead over San Diego for the West Division while Indianapolis holds tie breaker rights over Jacksonville. Both of whom are 6-5.
Pittsburgh currently sits in the 6th and final playoff spot. The Dolphins lose head to head in a two team tie.