Grading the Dolphins

Here's a look at how every unit performed in the Dolphins' 24-10 loss at New England.

QUARTERBACKS -- Jay Fiedler might have had his best performance of the season before he left the game because of a rib injury, but he still made a couple of mistakes that proved costly. The interception he threw in the first quarter was a case of throwing to fit the ball when his receiver was totally covered. The fumble, on the other hand, was more excusable because he was fighting for a first down on a third-down scramble. As usual, Fiedler faced a lot of pressure. He wasn't the major problem on this day. Grade: C

RUNNING BACKS -- Leonard Henry didn't get much accomplished before he was replaced by Brock Forsey in the first half. Sammy Morris also got some carries, but Forsey was by far the most impressive of the three. There wasn't a tremendous amount of running room (as usual). Grade: C

RECEIVERS -- Marty Booker had by far his best game with the Dolphins so far, catching seven passes, including a 45-yarder in the fourth quarter. Chris Chambers and Randy McMichael also were fairly active. On the down side, Derrius Thompson dropped a touchdown pass on a beautifully thrown Fiedler on fourth down. McMichael also was called for a false start. Grade: B-

OFFENSIVE LINE -- Different week, same result. This offensive line continues to be somewhere around mediocre. At first glance, we can point out at least one major mistake by every starter on the line except for Taylor Whitley. Rookie Vernon Carey started at right tackle and he was beaten cleanly for a sack by Willis McGinest. Center Seth McKinney was flagged for moving the ball before a snap and later was slow to slide down the line and pick up Rodney Harrison on a blitz, and the result was a sack that moved the Dolphins from the Patriots 1 to the 13 and also knocked Fiedler out of the game. Left guard Jeno James was beaten cleanly for a Vince Wilfork sack, and left tackle Damion McIntosh was flagged for a false start and let linebacker Rosevelt Colvin breeze right by him to deliver a crushing hit on A.J. Feeley on the Dolphins' last offensive play of the game. In other words, yuck! Grade: F

DEFENSIVE LINE -- This was like every other game. The opponent put up good rushing numbers, but that's because the opponents know they don't need to take chances because the Dolphins offense can't score enough to beat many teams. Jason Taylor was very active, but the rest of the defensive line was pretty quiet, although Dario Romero had a sack. Grade: B-

LINEBACKERS -- Zach Thomas had another tremendous active day, but Junior Seau had his worst performance of the season. Seau was flagged for offside once and it looked like he was the one responsible for covering tight end Daniel Graham, who was wide open in the end zone for an easy touchdown. Morlon Greenwood had a couple of nice plays, but he had a key pass interference penalty in the end zone. Grade: C

SECONDARY -- Cornerback Patrick Surtain got things started off on the right note for the Dolphins with an interception on the first drive of the game, and the secondary played well throughout the afternoon. Sam Madison made a key break-up near the goal line on a bomb and had good coverage most of the day. Safety Sammy Knight had a silly roughness penalty when he threw a punch at a New England wide receiver at the end of a running play. Overall, though, not much to complain about here. Grade: B+

SPECIAL TEAMS -- Kicker Olindo Mare missed the game because of a calf injury, but emergency replacement Wes Welker might have been the only bright spot for this unit. Welker didn't have much success on either punt or kickoff returns, there were way too many penalties, including an offside on Brendon Ayanbadejo that gave New England a first down in the fourth quarter. And, of course, there was Matt Turk's ill-advised decision to try to run for the first down on fourth-and-7 in the first half. Grade: D

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