After the week two blowout win against the Oakland Raiders, the Miami Dolphins running game has been becoming less and less of a factor this year. Reggie Bush is on pace for a 1000 yard season, however a lot of that is attributable to the previously mentioned Oakland game. This week the same Raiders let Doug Martin challenge the all-time single game rushing record. So running wild against them doesn’t mean a whole lot.
Bush has had no other 100+ yard games. Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller have not exactly picked up the slack either. Thomas has fumbling issues and isn’t providing bruising running to compliment Bush’s speed. Miller has not seen a lot of carries. Perhaps that should change in the coming weeks if Thomas and Bush continue to make the running game a non-factor.
The St. Louis Rams and Indianapolis Colts are not particularly strong run defenses, yet the task of scoring points fell almost entirely on rookie QB Ryan Tannehill in both of those games. Tannehill and the defense carried the team against the Rams, but the defense was not up to the task against Andrew Luck and the Colts this week. After three straight excellent defensive games, they were due for a letdown. The running game has no such excuses.
At 4-4, the Dolphins are still very much in the playoff hunt. Ryan Tannehill has exceeded rookie quarterback expectations, but hes not capable of carrying the team to the playoffs on his own yet. He needs Reggie Bush to have a lot more plays like his amazing touchdown run against the Colts.
Bush is in a contract year. The fins are facing the daunting prospect of Jake Long, Randy Starks, Brian Hartline, Sean Smith, and Chris Clemons all becoming free agents at the end of the season as well. Bush is not making a case for being very high on the “must resign” list right now.
Jake Long and the offensive line are certainly a factor in the running backs’ problems. Long is having his worst season as a pro, despite also being in a contract year. The pass blocking is not particularly good either, Luck had significantly more time on each play then Tannehill did. So there are issues that need to be addressed on the line as well. These issues were also present during the three game winning streak. Perhaps losing to Indianapolis will be the wake-up call the running backs and offensive line needs. The Dolphins will need both playing their bets for a playoff push to be possible.