Final Game 11 Observations

It's Tuesday, which means it's time for our customary final look back at the previous game ... even if it was played five days ago. There was a lot to like about the Dolphins' performance at Dallas, even though it wasn't good enough to produce a victory.

• For the loss, you can blame the inability to come up with a touchdown in four red-zone opportunities. That'll get you every time.

• Oh, and that's not even mentioning another drive where the Dolphins had a first down at the Dallas 24-yard line. That technically was not a red-zone opportunity.

• But you get the point. Four first downs inside the opponent's 20 + 0 touchdowns = loss.

• It's a shame because the Dolphins played toe-to-toe with the Cowboys, and you could almost make the argument they were better.

• The defensive effort was very impressive, even more so when you consider that Tony Romo made a couple of incredible plays to turn negative situations into good gains for Dallas.

• The touchdown pass to Laurent Robinson at the start of the fourth quarter was a great example. Romo was sliding to his left and he threw a strike just past the outstretched arm of Sean Smith, who actually had good coverage on the play.

• That said, don't like what happened on the biggest play of the final drive, the short completion that Jason Witten turned into a 20-plus-yard gain. Will Allen blitzed on the play but didn't get there on time, and Jared Odrick was the closest defender to Witten at the second level. Jared Odrick? Like he's going to be able to stay with Witten.

• Don't know if that was a flawed design on the play or a busted coverage, but that should not have happened.

• Sorry, but count me among those who felt the Dolphins should have let the Cowboys score a touchdown after DeMarco Murray ran for a first down to the 17 with just over a minute left and the Dolphins out of timeouts. Sorry, but Dan Bailey was not going to miss that short field goal.

• What gave the Dolphins the better chance to win? A) Hoping Bailey missed the chip-shot field goal? B) Hoping for a bad snap or a mis-handle of the snap? C) Hoping for a fumble or mis-handled snap while the Cowboys were running the ball to set up the kick? D) Driving 80 or 75 yards with about a minute left and no timeouts. Now, all scenarios are bad, but I'm thinking D might be the best option.

• On to the decision to kick the extra point after Brandon Marshall's touchdown made it 15-10. Sure, there's a chart and it says late in the third quarter is too early to go for two. But you also have to have a feel for the flow of the game, and this game didn't figure to feature a lot more scoring. Just saying.

• Then again, who's to say the Cowboys wouldn't have scored a touchdown on that last drive. They got inside the Miami 20 pretty easily and would have had a lot of time left to get into the end zone. So to suggest the Dolphins lost because they didn't go for two is foolish.

• The Dolphins no doubt would have gone for two had they scored a touchdown earlier in the fourth quarter after having a first-and-goal from the 3. But they had to settle for a field goal. Bad.

• Not as bad, though, as going three-and-out the last time they had the ball. With the lead. And under 5 minutes left. Do the math: You get one first down, Dallas has to burn its timeouts. You get two first downs, it's game over.

• Matt Moore made some nice throws against Dallas, but he also was off the mark more than he had been in recent weeks. That was the time he needed to come through, but it didn't work out. His third-down pass to Davone Bess on a third-and-9 was behind him. Here's the really sad part: Even had the throw been on the mark, Bess had a defender right on top of him on the crossing pattern and he was 2 yards short of the first down. Exactly why would he be running a route in front of the first-down marker? Doesn't make sense.

• Sadly, this was another example of the Dolphins season where they don't play a bad game but just can't close. It's the same thing we saw against the Browns, Broncos and Giants. Hmm, think about it: Go 2-2 in those four games, and the Dolphins are 5-6 and very much in playoff contention. As it is, we're looking at 3-8 and virtually no hope.

• Frustrating indeed.

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