How Did Miami Lose to the Browns?

In my last article, I raised the question … How could Miami have lost to the Browns?  How could they have lost that freaking game?

In this article, I offer my opinion answering the question … How did Miami lose to the Browns?  I believe the following factors were key in the loss:

1).  Bottomline – With 3:23 remaining in the game, Browns QB Colt McCoy drove his team 80 yards for the winning TD.  With 0:43 remaining in the game, Dolphins QB Chad Henne could not drive his team a mere 18 yards for a potential game winning FG try — he failed to complete a single pass.  Despite having a horrible first half completing just 5 of 14 passes and an overall poor game completing just 19 of 39 passes, McCoy was better at crunch time.  Dr. Henne was good for the most part of the game, but Mr. Chad-duh could not deliver in the red-zone and in the fourth quarter.  This is one thing that seems to be consistent with Henne — his failure to lead his team at crunch time.

2).  Inside LB Play — Despite Vonte Davis being out with a hamstring injury, the Browns’ wide receivers only caught 8 passes for a mere 99 yards.  However, the Browns tight ends caught 8 passes for 92 yards with Ben Watson catching 5 passes for 64 yards.  And, Browns RB Hardesty caught an additional 3 passes for 19 yards and added 14 rushes for 67 yards.  If you watched the game, how many times did you see Kevin Burnett running behind Browns TE Watson, who was running the same damn route across the middle of the field.  Burnett only had 2 tackles for the entire game — both tackles were on Watson after he caught a pass.  Karlos Dansby only had 2 tackles for the entire game.  That means the Dolphins two starting ILBs made four tackles for the entire game against the Browns.  For the entire season of three games, the tandem only has 21 total tackles.  This is really unacceptable.  To put it into a season perspective, the starting ILBs for the Ravens have 35 tackles, for the Steelers have 43 tackles, and for the Redskins have 41 tackles.  The Dolphins ILBs can’t cover TEs and can’t stop RBs.  I ask you … what in the hell are they good for?  It was a good thing we kept the 5 TEs and let A.J. Edds go to the Patriots.  The Dolphins need to place an ad in the newspaper … HELP WANTED!  An experienced NFL ILB who can cover NFL TEs.  Starting Annual Salary $6 million.  Stephen Ross has money to spend.  He should spend it on an ILB — or trade for one.

3).  Penalties — The Dolphins had 10 penalties in the game against the Browns for 93 yards.  Ladies and Gentlemen, that is 9.3 yards per attempt – if the Dolphins had QB who could pass for 9.3 yards per attempt, they would be a Super Bowl contender.  The Dolphins had 8 penalties for 78 yards in the second half alone.  And, the timing of the penalties was a real killer.  Dolphins TE Anthony Fasano had a holding penalty on a first down 8 yard run by Reggie Bush on the Dolphins first drive of the game.  DE Igor Olshanky had a roughing the passer penalty on a sack of Colt McCoy in the 4th quarter with the ball on the Browns 12 yard line.  The Dolphins have to stop beating themselves.  I say, management should start handing out fines for penalties or make the perp do 100 push ups for each penalty — maybe, that will get their attention.

4).  Offensive Line Play — The Dolphins QB Chad Henne was sacked 5 times for a total loss of 24 yards.  Henne ran away from a potential 3 additional sacks and actually gained 15 yards.  For the season, Henne has been sacked 11 times for a total  loss of 67 yards and carried the ball another 13 times — and, there are not many designed run plays for Henne, as he is NOT Michael Vick.  The right side of the offensive line is like a screen door in a submarine.  Opposing DEs and OLBs are drooling at the prospect of going against Dolphins RT Marc Colombo.  At this rate, Henne could be sacked as many as 59 times this season for 357 yards — that is a whole game of passing for heavens sake.  Tony Sparano’s experience and expertise is in offensive line play.  He needs to be held accountable.  In fact, I think Sparano should focus solely on the offensive line leaving the rest of the offense to Daboll and all of the defense to Nolan.

5).  Decision Making — Dolphins WR Brian Hartline was born in North Canton, Ohio — close to Cleveland.  This was a homecoming for him.  He delivered by catching 4 passes for 87 yards — that is 21.8 yards per catch.  His success was largely a result of the Browns having only one good CB (Joe Haden), who spent the day covering Brandon Marshall.  However, in the 4th quarter with the game on the line, Chad Henne threw no passes to Brian Hartline — that is, ZERO.  Why?  Why not put Marshall and Bess on one side of the field and throw to Harline on the other — all day?  Why not throw at least one pass toward Hartline during the last drive of the game where Henne threw two incomplete passes to Bess, one incomplete pass to Clyde Gates, and one pass to Brandon Marshall that was intercepted?  For heavens sake, Henne threw a pass to the rookie Clyde Gates when the game was on the line and the Dolphins only needed 18 yards for a game winning FG try!  I just don’t understand.  I would like to know if this was Henne’s decision or Daboll’s play calling.  Either way, the decision making was very suspect.

I believe the combination of these factors were the reason the Dolphins lost the game to the Browns.  These are all correctable problems.  But, most of these are problems which have persisted for the last two plus years — two plus years of losing close games the Dolphins should have won.  And, please take note that there is a theme in my analysis.  First is Chad Henne.  Second is the Dallas connection (Colombo, Fasano, Olshansky, and Burnett).  Third is Tony Sparano.  Something has to be done.  And, firing Dan Henning did not solve the problem.

What do you think?   Is the solution to the problem firing Tony Sparano?  Is the solution to the problem firing Jeff Ireland?  Both?

Personally, I would like to see Mike Nolan get a chance to coach this team — I do not blame him for the poor performance of the Defense.  He was dealt the hand he is playing with which is not very good at ILB and FS.  I say, if the Dolphins lose to the San Diego Chargers this week, it is time for the rest of the Trifecta to go during the bye week!  Hand over all the keys to the team to Mike Nolan.  See what he can do.  If he cannot make a difference, then hire a new coach and new general manager in the offseason.  And, for all those people who say it is bad to fire a coach in the middle of the season, think about the Dallas Cowboys — they did it!

I have had enough with Sparano and Ireland.  I have had enough with Chad Henne.  They have had their chances.  It is time to move on.


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Tags: Anthony Fasano Brandon Marshall Brian Daboll Brian Hartline Chad Henne Cleveland Browns Clyde Gates Dan Henning Davone Bess Igor Olshansky Jeff Ireland Karlos Dansby Kevin Burnett Marc Colombo Miami Dolphins Mike Nolan NFL Tony Sparano

  • drumzan

    They need to get the TE’s more involved in the game, using two TE sets, focusing on them more in the red zone. That’s my biggest complaint. They brought in Daboll who’s a TE specialist. I mean, come on! Fasano is one of the most sure handed players on offense. Use him! I realize Clay is a rookie, but he barely played on Sunday. He’s a versatile player that deserves some opportunities. And Bush is a weapon that they’re not using properly. Get him more involved in the short passing plays. His strength is yards after the catch in open space.

    The biggest mistake Miami has made in the last two years is not drafting Earl Thomas in the 2010 draft . Not that I don’t think Odrick is a good player, but Free Safety is too important of a position these days. Clemmons and Jones aren’t cutting it…Phins need a ballhawk to make game changing plays.

  • Lespaul

    Hard to argue with that assessment. The pick up of Burnett has had me shaking my head ever since they acquired him. He sucked in San Diego and he sucks in Miami. I am blown away by how many penalties this team had on Sunday. It’s a discipline thing and has more to do with accountability than anything else. Not sure how they do it in the pros, but when I blew an assignment I ran two stadiums, penalty I ran three stadiums, missed a tackle we ran 4 stadiums. Hard to picture that Nolan could do worse, but this is the same gaggle that Sporano is working with, so I don’t expect much.

  • twynn27

    @Mike_Fahle good ol brownies

  • Cornerss

    is it really hennes fault he has had 3 td’s in the endzone dropped so far this year along with 11 sacks and hes still producing and now showing hes mobile?

    Short memories, all of you. This is happening because players and the media were critical of sparano being too tough during practices and mettings. This year, to try something new, he changes things up and loosens practices and meetings up. Now you folks blindly blame him, when it was the players combined with their lack of self discipline during the lockout that added tot his mess. Please listen to the player, it really is their fault for their lack of preparation and not being able to keep up in the 4th quarters from being gassed.

  • Cornerss

    ” if the Dolphins had QB who could pass for 9.3 yards per attempt, they would be a Super Bowl contender.”

    Henne had an 8.8 that game yet you talk as if it was his fault because he could’nt put points on the board with 40 seconds left. The dude has 100 yards rushing already and nobody is talking about his complete turn around because other players on the team are failing at their jobs. It was a dumb mistake to cut sapp and edds, and i think that had a large roll, along with players lack of dicipline and practice during the offseason. I really dont think its sparanos fault

  • Cornerss

    “Why not put Marshall and Bess on one side of the field and throw to Harline on the other — all day? Why not throw at least one pass toward Hartline during the last drive of the game where Henne threw two incomplete passes to Bess, one incomplete pass to Clyde Gates, and one pass to Brandon Marshall that was intercepted?”

    Yet all last year and last few games people were whining why wasnt marshal getting the ball in the redzone? Why are we throwing to hartline on 3rd down?

    Now your all whining about the results. Funny. Guess you got to print something

    Im in complete agreemant about columbo, and im curious whos really responsible for keeping him starting at rt.

    I dont think its sparano. People keep digging him about the offensive line, but thats not his main job. Whos job is it to fill those postions? Who trains them after?

  • Cornerss

    “he biggest mistake Miami has made in the last two years is not drafting Earl Thomas in the 2010 draft”

    I so compltly agree. We really needed a qb back at FS, but missed bad on that one. Im more puzzeled then convinced burnett is a dude yet. He had a great season last year 6 sacks 2 ints and 2 ff’s, but you could argue it was one good year. But if our ILB play is bad in a 3-4, should’nt we also be looking at the NT Solia? Anyone else relieved we didnt give this guy franchise qb money now? Hes been MIA this whole season so far, he did’nt deserve Wilfork money and i’m happy he thought he did and did’nt sign now@drumzan

  • abbeynormal

    Why is it always a moving target with you guys when it comes to the QB position? Cornerss is right had he thrown to Hartline and that not worked you would come up with some other bs like they should have thrown to Bush out of the backfield. You say Henne can’t close, and McCoy can based on the last drive of each. The difference is McCoy was throwing at our soft ass D when it counted and Chad wasn’t. Won’t even discuss the sieve called an Oline in front of Chad. BTW if McCoy were slightly more accurate than a Scud missile we would have been buried in that game. Maybe you should watch it again with out your anti-Henne bias, ref. There’s a joke there but I’ll leave it alone.

  • jweev

    Penalties? Come on buddy, browns had 8 for 85, which is 10.6 per penalty and only 8 fewer yards than the Dolphins. The roughing the passer by Jabaal Sheard in the endzone on third down not only took two points off the board for the browns, but also kept alive a drive that resulted in a fg for the dolphins. Another roughing penalty on Phil Taylor kept another scoring drive alive. The dolphins didn’t beat themselves, the Browns won, here’s why:

    1) Red Zone Defense….fgs instead of tds…simple enough.

    2)Joe Haden….absolutely locked down Brandon Marshall (TJ Ward, Sheldon Brown and Dimitri Patterson are solid dbs too, contrary to your assertion)

    3) Browns D-Line…accounted for 4 out of 5 sacks, including Jayme Mitchell’s 1.5 sacks and forced fumble allowed by your precious Jake Long.

    4)Colt McCoy….had his worst game as a pro, until the last 3 minutes, dude stepped up.

    5)Montario Hardesty…4.8 ypc, probably should have gotten more than 14 carries.

    The Browns simply had more talent on the field and wearing headsets, deal with it.

  • Lespaul

    @jweev penalties killdrives and limit your play calling. Second and 20 or third and 20 kill your ability to run different plays that keep the defense guessing. So, yes….the Dolphins penalties are an issue. maybe not the main reason, but definitely an issue that needs tone addressed. I would agree that the Browns played quite awful in the first half, but they made plays when they needed to and the Dolphins didn’t.