Grading the Dolphins

Here's a look at how every unit performed in the Dolphins' 20-13 loss at Buffalo.

QUARTERBACKS -- The heavy wind made it difficult for Jay Fiedler, who doesn't have the arm strength to deal with those types of conditions. Overall, though, Fiedler had an OK game. But again bad mistakes were Fiedler's big problem. He had one interception returned for a touchdown and easily could have had another, but was bailed out when cornerback Nate Clements dropped the ball. Fiedler did have one nice scramble. Grade: C-

RUNNING BACKS -- Sammy Morris had by far the best performance by a Dolphins running back so far this season. He ran very well and probably cemented the starting job for a while. Rob Konrad got his hands on one screen pass and he was the target on the interception that was returned for a touchdown. The Dolphins need to make better use of him. Brock Forsey spelled Morris at times and looked OK. But this was the Morris show. Grade: B

RECEIVERS -- Derrius Thompson was able to hang on to Fiedler's pass in the end zone this week, and the result was a touchdown. Chris Chambers had a pretty quiet day, but he drew a pass interference penalty that turned a second-and-18 into a first down. Randy McMichael continued to be effective, and Marty Booker caught only one pass. There weren't any clear drops, but not enoug big plays, which might not be the fault of the receivers. Grade: B-

OFFENSIVE LINE -- By Miami standards, this was a great performance by the offensive line. There were some holes opened up in the running game, which led to Morris' productive day. But the pass protection left to be desired. It looked as though Damion McIntosh, Seth McKinney and Taylor Whitley were cleanly beaten for sacks at different times. Vernon Carey, by all appearances, had a decent game. McKinney, at first glance, really looked like he struggled. Grade: C-

DEFENSIVE LINE -- David Bowens had his best game of the season by far, but it was not a great day for this unit overall. Bowens had the Dolphins' only sack against Drew Bledsoe, who had been sacked 19 times in the first four games. Tim Bowens made his first appearance of the season, but wasn't much of a factor. Defensive tackle Jeff Zgonina was a major presence in the middle. Grade: C

LINEBACKERS -- Zach Thomas was all over the place, as he usually is. His biggest play was dropped Willis McGahee on third-and-goal in the fourth quarter. Morlon Greenwood totally bit on a play-action fake, leaving tight end Mark Campbell wide open in the end zone for a touchdown. Junior Seau was very quiet. The Dolphins defense had its worst game of the season and a big problem was allowing McGahee to gain too many yards after contact. Grade: C-

DEFENSIVE BACKS -- The Dolphins pass defense showed some vulnerability for the first time and a big problem was keeping up with Eric Moulds on crossing patterns. Antuan Edwards didn't have a great game, and he had an interception nullified by a defensive holding penalty on Sam Madison. Madison had great coverage on rookie Lee Evans on one bomb, but he gave up a big cushion on a comeback pattern -- although he was bailed out when Evans dropped the pass. Patrick Surtain was beat once, but he wasn't tested very often. Grade: C

SPECIAL TEAMS -- Matt Bryant did a good job as Olindo Mare's replacement, making both of his field goal attempts. Matt Turk didn't have much success when he was punting against the wind. The return game, as usual, provided no help whatsoever as Wes Welker usually gained about 20 yards on kickoffs and about 6 or 7 yards on punts. The Dolphins right now really could use a big play on special teams, but they're simply not coming. Grade: C

Dolphins Report Top Stories