Final Game 11 Observations

The Dolphins continue to be a difficult team to figure out, the latest example being their 16-point victory at Oakland only 10 days after they were shut out at home for only the second time since 1970. We take one final look at the things that stood out in the 33-17 victory.

-- Really, now, who in their right mind could have seen this coming, a 33-point explosion in the first game after the shutout loss? After 19 consecutive games without reaching the 30-point mark? And all this while having to play without Brandon Marshall? It flat-out just doesn't add up.

-- Is it possible the Dolphins are better without Marshall? Uh ... no. The Dolphins just happened to play a very good, efficient game.

-- Of course, it helps when Davone Bess plays out of his mind the way he did against the Raiders. Then again, it's pretty much the same kind of game you always get from him. This isn't the first time I'm saying this, but he should NEVER be under-utilized. He is Wes Welker all over again.

-- Yes, I said it. Just as good as Welker. The exact same player. You put him with Tom Brady these last couple of years, and he would have done the same thing.

-- That was one great bounce-back effort by Chad Henne in his first start since being benched in favor of Chad Pennington. He really looked sharp in his throwing.

-- That said, he had the obligatory brain fart when he refused to accept that the play was going nowhere on a second down from the Oakland 11-yard line and tried to force a throw to Anthony Fasano into triple coverage. The first step in Henne taking the next step as a quarterback is to eliminate those bad plays.

-- The big story on offense, though, wasn't so much the passing game, but the re-emergence of the running game, which had been so bad in recent weeks. And it really had nothing to do with the Wildcat, which was used more often but without much better results. So we'll say it again, drop the damn thing already!

-- And how about Patrick Cobbs contributing a touchdown pass. Now, he's not a terribly fast running back, but he's faster than either Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams, and this offense often is SCREAMING for more speed. The bottom line: Keep using Cobbs more and more as a change of pace.

-- OK, enough with the offense because the defense more than did its share in this one. Again. Really, the Dolphins have been surprisingly good all season on defense. And that's a tribute to the work of Mike Nolan because we could challenge you to name one Miami defense -- other than Cameron Wake and Vontae Davis, even though Davis hasn't been as good of late -- who has had a great year.

-- Karlos Dansby might rank in that category, but he didn't play much at all in Oakland because he was limited by a wrist injury. Didn't matter, though, because Tim Dobbins stepped up in his place and had a great game. Repeat: A great game.

-- Yeremiah Bell has been solid all season, but this was the first game he made impact plays, and those sure came in handy.

-- Chris Clemons also had an interception in his return to the lineup, but that was more because Bruce Gradkowski took too long to throw a deep pass to Jacoby Ford and then underthrew him than it was Clemons' great play. Truth is, Clemons took way too long to come over to give Davis the deep help on the play and it should have been a long Oakland gain, maybe even a touchdown.

-- Lastly, we have to talk about that kickoff return for a touchdown to open the game. Ugh! How often are we going to suffer through this in 2010? Well, at least the Dolphins bounced back from it and contained Ford on returns the rest of the game.

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