Red Zone Blues Resurface

For four weeks it appeared the Miami Dolphins had finally cured the offense's red-zone issues. The rushing attack was scoring touchdowns, and new quarterback Matt Moore had led the offense to 11 touchdowns in the team's 16 red-zone opportunities during the past four games.

Then came Thursday night's 20-19 loss to the Cowboys, where the offense stalled all four times the team was inside the 20. The Dolphins kicked four field goals, but the common theme of this 3-8 season is that field goals equal losses.

"That was probably one of the most disappointing things in the game," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said. "Had we been able to finish one or two of those and turn them into points it would have been a completely different type of game."

That's been the story of this team's season.

The Dolphins desperately need to get the problem corrected before playing host to the Raiders on Dec. 4. If this team wants to help Sparano make a respectable case to keep his job the Dolphins have to finish 2011 with an 8-8 record, which means the team can't afford to lose another game.

But the only way to ensure that is by making sure Sparano's team isn't holding a field goal fest in the final five games.

"We got two turnovers in the first half and only came away with three points. We've got to be better in that area," running back Reggie Bush said. "Anytime a team turns a ball over that many times, usually the odds are on your side. We didn't do a good job in converting them to points."

The team's play-calling and use of personnel has to be evaluated. Too often this season the Dolphins have Bush in the game running between tackle. The two-tight end set, which has been the team's most efficient package this month, also wasn't used much in the red zone at Dallas.

"We got two turnovers, good field position, but we didn't turn them into touchdowns," said tight end Anthony Fasano. "Our Achilles' heel was settling for field goals and not touchdowns."

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