Final Game 7 Observations

The Dolphins get back on the practice field Wednesday afternoon to begin their preparations for Sunday's game at Kansas City. Before we turn the page, though, let's take one final look at the 20-17 loss to the New York Giants.

-- Guess we have to start with the inability to hold on to a fourth-quarter lead, which now makes it two games in a row that's happened. The initial reaction always is to blame the defense, but it's really the offense that let the team down at MetLife Stadium.

-- This team simply has shown this season it's incapable of generating any offense when it needs a comeback of its own. After New York scored to go up 20-17, the Dolphins had the ball twice. One drive began at the 45 after Steve Slaton's impressive kickoff return, and the last drive quickly reached the 40 after a completion from Matt Moore to Davone Bess. But after that? Zilch. In fact, the Dolphins went backwards from there, with Moore getting sacked twice on each series.

-- It's like what happened in Cleveland. The focus was on the last touchdown by the Browns, but the Dolphins got the ball past midfield to begin their next series but couldn't move a yard.

-- All in all, it wasn't a bad performance for Moore, whose passer rating took a hit when he threw an interception on a desperation fourth-and-23 pass. But he wasn't bad at all.

-- Moore was particularly impressive in the first half, more so with his ability to avoid pressure and scramble for big gains.

-- The Dolphins went 5-for-7 on third down in the first half, but 0-for-6 in the second half. That's your ballgame right there. Makes you wonder why the Dolphins threw deep on a particular third-and-short in the third quarter. As bad as the Dolphins had been at converting third downs, the last thing they should be doing is going for low-percentage plays.

-- Nice outing by Reggie Bush, and it was nice to see the Dolphins finally throw a couple of swing passes to him. That's how he should be used.

-- Not much to say about the wide receivers, who were pretty quiet. We have to mention the pass interference call on Brandon Marshall when the Dolphins led 17-13 in the fourth quarter. In a word, actually two: Horrible call. Barely any contact was made. Just goes to show, when things go bad, you don't get calls. Combine that with the non-call on Darrelle Revis on his interception return for a touchdown and it almost makes you wonder whether the officials have something against Marshall. Just saying.

-- Moving to the defense, it was the same story. Can't stop the pass. And that's partly because can't pressure the quarterback.

-- Really, much has been made (and rightly so) about the inability to create turnovers, but turnovers often start by getting pressure on the quarterback and the Dolphins just haven't done that very well this season. There was the sack fest against Denver, but that's because Tim Tebow isn't a real quarterback and hangs on to the ball in the pocket forever. In the other six games, and particularly against the Giants, the Dolphins pass rush just isn't cutting it.

-- The CBS announcers just made it a point to indicate that rookie Jimmy Wilson was getting worked on in his first NFL start, and that's partly true. But that doesn't change the fact this kid is going to be a very good player.

-- Linebacker Kevin Burnett has taken a lot of flak for not making enough plays this season, so it's only fair to point out he had a very good game against the Giants.

-- Bottom line is the Dolphins again couldn't make enough plays at the end to win the game and, worse, there was a feeling of inevitability as the fourth quarter arrived. Yes, the team has talent, but it just seems a given now that they'll come up short at the end. Somehow, someway, somebody has to step up and be a difference-maker in the final minutes.


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