Final Game 13 Observations

It certainly was no work of art, but it doesn't take away from the satisfaction the Dolphins and their fans took from beating the New York Jets Sunday at the new Meadowlands Stadium. It was, truth be told, an ugly game, one that features some tremendous performances by the Dolphins and some forgettable moments.

-- If we're going to start with the most positive aspects of this victory, we have to go with the defense. Then again, that's how it's been for practically the entire year.

-- Or we could go with punter Brandon Fields, who may have had the greatest game in the history of punters. Or close to it.

-- OK, we'll go with the defense first, which shut down a struggling Jets offense. Dolphins fans have gotten on Chad Henne's case on a regular basis lately, but Mark Sanchez ain't playing much better up in New York.

-- Just don't know where to start on defense because everybody really played well. You start up front with Paul Soliai, who is emerging as a stud at nose tackle, then can go on to Kendall Langford, Karlos Dansby, Channing Crowder, Sean Smith, Vontae Davis and, as usual, Cameron Wake.

-- Speaking of Soliai, it's about time the Dolphins sign the guy to a contract extension. His deal expires after this season and he's proven this year he can do the job.

-- Speaking of Smith, he really had a good game in coverage against the Jets, but is the guy ever going to catch an interception? Mind you, this is a guy who first arrived at the University of Utah as a wide receiver and got his share of picks in college, so hands aren't supposed to be a problem. Yet they have been at the NFL level — and then some. That's why he's only got one careeer pick instead of five or six.

-- Speaking of Crowder, he had by far his best game of the season against the Jets. As Tony Sparano is fond of saying, we really could feel him in that game.

-- You'll notice one name missing from the list of players we singled out, and that's Randy Starks. He had a Pro Bowl-caliber season in 2009, but really has taken a step back this year. Could it be that the temporary switch to nose tackle really messed him up? Mind you, he's not having a horrible season but he just hasn't made any impact plays.

-- Of course, we can 't talk about the defense without mentioning Nolan Carroll, who had his first career interception and continues to make great progress as a cornerback.

-- Yes, we have to discuss the incident he was involved in where he was kneed by the Jets' strength and conditioning while running downfield to cover a punt. Maybe the most amazing thing about the whole thing is that certain corners have tried justifying it as merely gamesmanship. Wrong, it was a bush league move of the highest order, and a suspension and fine certainly wasn't too harsh a punishment.

-- Speaking of harsh, there probably aren't words harsh enough to describe the ineptitude of the Dolphins in that game. Yes, it was raining, but still ... 130 total yards? Yikes!

-- Of course, the finger will be pointed at Henne, who was a frightening 5-for-18. To be fair toward Henne, he threw the ball away on a couple of occasions instead of taking a sack and he also wasn't helped by a couple of drops by Brandon Marshall.

-- The running game didn't do much, either, which shouldn't be surprising given the state of the offensive line. Think about it: The Dolphins' starting five was Lydon Murtha, Pat McQuistan, Joe Berger, Richie Incognito and Jake Long. Outside of Long, who is playing with one shoulder, mind you, this ain't exactly a Who's Who of NFL offensive linemen.

-- That said, it's pathetic that the Dolphins didn't gain a first down on any of their last five drives, gaining a whopping 7 total yards of offense during that time.

-- In retrospect, it really is amazing the Dolphins were able to win. Of course, they have to thank Santonio Holmes for dropping that easy pass in the end zone in the second quarter. Doesn't matter, though, the Dolphins will take it.


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