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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Topics: 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