Red-zone Failures Doom Dolphins

Poor execution in the red zone troubled the Miami Dolphins during the 2010 season and things haven't seemed to change much two games into the 2011 season. The Dolphins again suffered from miscues in the red zone during their 23-13 defeat in Week 2 against the Houston Texans.

The Dolphins scored a touchdown on just one of their four trips inside the 20-yard line against the Texans. Chad Henne was on target with a would-be touchdown pass that Brandon Marshall dropped during the Dolphins' attempted second-half rally.

At least the team settled for a field goal then. The Dolphins entered the red zone two other times and failed to come away with anything. Dan Carpenter missed a 34-yard field goal and the Texans blocked another attempt.

"We didn't score in the red zone enough, so that's obvious," a frustrated coach Tony Sparano said after the game on Sunday. "We just didn't score in the red zone. We didn't execute. You were watching the same thing I was watching. We didn't execute."

Had Marshall caught the touchdown pass and had Carpenter connected on the two short field goals, the Dolphins might have won. As it was, they were instead lamenting their 11th loss in 12 games at Sun Life Stadium, where tens of thousands of seats sat empty on Sunday.

Both Sparano and quarterback Chad Henne said that red-zone offense would be a point of emphasis in practice this week. While in the red zone, Henne and the Dolphins' passing offense received a lot of pressure from the Texans, and the Dolphins didn't appear to handle it well.

"We've just got to do better in practice," Henne said. "We've got to execute better. I think we got to be on the same page a lot of the time. Teams are going to bring us pressure (and) we've got to get the ball out."

The Dolphins' lone score in the red zone against the Texans came during the third quarter, when Henne threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Marshall. Later in the third quarter, the Dolphins added a field goal to cut the Texans lead to 16-13.

On the Texans ensuing drive, though, they drove 63 yards on five plays and regained momentum on Matt Schaub's 23-yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson. Sparano was as frustrated with that defensive sequence as he was with the struggles in the red zone on offense.


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