Miami Dolphins Fail To Rally Around Henne


By the time that Miami Dolphins QB Chad Henne ran onto the field, the Dolphins were already down 13 to 6.  The Chargers would tack on another field goal so that the 2nd year veteran would have to score 10 points instead of 7.  Something that the Phins couldn’t do under Chad Pennington.  Blown opportunities early that included a fumble on the SD 1 yard line kept Miami’s red-zone struggles vivid in the minds of Phins fans.  Still, in the end, like the 2 previous games, the Dolphins were in it and couldn’t close the deal.  This time, the team failed to rally behind a QB they only saw glimpses of in a regular season game.

Chad Pennington went down in the 4th quarter of Sunday’s game and it’s unknown to what degree his injury is.  All that is known is that he injured the same shoulder that he has twice before had surgically repaired.  Not a good sign.  The Dolphins were playing their normal vanilla offense yesterday with a mix of Wild Cat.  It had netted a total of 6 points.  The Dolphins offense, as in the two weeks prior, just couldn’t get on a roll that led to points.  When Pennington went down, the question was who would trot onto the field.

The answer was Chad Henne and the sight of Henne entering the game immediately spoke about Pennington return.  There wouldn’t be one.  As the emergency 3rd QB, once Henne entered the game, Pennington could not return and Pat White could not line up behind center as a QB.  Tailback yes, QB no.  It was the scenario that was the subject of much off-season discussion.

The Dolphins were only down by 7 when Henne came into the game but it wouldn’t last long.  Henne took some early hits but held on to the ball but it was the false starts that moved the Dolphins in the opposite direction.  Two off-sides by WR’s didn’t help either and Ted Ginn was his normal self dropping two tough but catchable balls that would have moved the chains.  Henne looked confused as the Chargers changed defensive tactics and threw all out blitzes into the young QB’s face.  Henne threw two passes that were batted down at the line of scrimmage as a result and then floated a nice 75 yard touchdown pass to a wide open TE.  Of course he was 4 yards over the line of scrimmage when he threw it.

The team seemed to take on a different personality once Henne entered the game, it almost appeared as though they gave up.  The defense stopped playing tight and Phillip Rivers connected repeatedly down field for 50 plus yard pass plays and the offensive line that had blocked so well through out the game suddenly couldn’t handle the pressure of the blitz.  Henne stood firm in the pocket, rolled when he had to, and danced when he didn’t need to.  All the while, the game was still in reach.

An errant pass by Henne put an end to that when the Chargers picked off a flats pass for 6 points.  The play had Henne looking long and when the outlet receiver flared off his assignment to the outside, the defensive player moved up to cover.  Henne never looked at the receiver but instead immediately checked down to him and threw it.  He didn’t look to see where the defender was at.  It was a mistake made by an inexperienced QB.  For Dolphins fans however, it brought back the nightmares of A.J. Feeley, Jay Fiedler, Cleo Lemon, Trent Green, and Dante’ Culpepper.

Despite the pick, something seemed to settle in Henne on the next series.  He stopped dancing as much and led the team on an 80 yard scoring drive that put the score to it’s final ending of 23 – 13.  The game may look like a blowout but in reality the Dolphins held the Chargers in check for 3 quarters before surrendering the outcome.  Henne looked good after the pick and there is some promise there to build on.  In fact, it could open an entirely new offensive system should Henne improve and Pennington is out for any length of time.

For now, it’s simply another loss and missed opportunities.  The Dolphins can’t get any closer than they have in their first 3 games and despite poor play that has cost the team victories they at least have been in the games.  It’s a tiresome trend that needs to be fixed.  We will see how that plays out in the coming weeks and with the results of an unwanted MRI on the teams starting QB.