Grading the Dolphins

Here's a breakdown on how every unit performed in the Dolphins' 31-14 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

QUARTERBACKS — By far Jay Fiedler's best game of the season. His quarterback rating was 154.8, just short of the ultimate rating of 158.3. He threw two touchdown passes and completed 13 of 17. He had one ball that should have been intercepted, but it went through the hands of Rams safety Aeneas Williams and straight to Randy McMichael. Fiedler was sacked five times, but that was due to shaky pass protection and he did well in not trying to do something stupid. Grade: A-

RUNNING BACKS — Sammy Morris had another solid performance, even though his average of 3.0 per carry doesn't really show it. Travis Minor played for the first time since the opener and ran well. Rob Konrad caught one ball out of the backfield. Grade: B

RECEIVERS — A big day by this group, starting with Marty Booker's 48-yard flanker pass to fellow wideout Chris Chambers. Chambers added a 71-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, and Randy McMichael had a 42-yard touchdown among his four receptions. Booker also caught the ball well. The only negative here was a Chambers fumble that was reversed after the Dolphins successfully challenged the ruling and the official determined Chambers never had possession of the pass. Grade: A-

OFFENSIVE LINE — Even though the offense played much better, it still wasn't a great performance by the line. But it was slightly better than usual, particularly in the run game. In pass protection, Taylor Whitley and Damion McIntosh continued to have problems. But at least there were no penalties. Grade: C+

DEFENSIVE LINE — The Dolphins did a nice job against the Rams offense and the defensive line contributed with sacks by Jason Taylor and Jeff Zgonina and some nice coverage by David Bowens on a back downfield. The run defense wasn't great as the Rams managed 5.4 yards per carry, but nothing is perfect. Grade: B-

LINEBACKERS — Zach Thomas sacked Marc Bulger on the Rams' last offensive play and he, as usual, led the team in tackles. Morlon Greenwood later had great coverage on a tight end downfield. Junior Seau was very quiet until he left the game with a groin injury. He was replaced by Eddie Moore, who also was very quiet. Grade: B-

SECONDARY — This group had a tremendous performance. The highlights included holding Torry Holt to only one catch for 4 yards and also Sammy Knight coming up with an interception in the end zone. Bulger passed for 295 yards, but the longest gain was 36 yards, and that came with the Dolphins holding a comfortable lead in the fourth quarter. Grade: A-

SPECIAL TEAMS — This unit hasn't been that good this season, but it was very impressive against the Rams. The highlight was a kickoff return where Wes Welker handed off to Bryan Gilmore for a play that netted 63 yards minus 15 yards for a roughness penalty on Dario Romero. Welker later had a 20-yard punt return on a play where rookie Tony Bua absolultely leveled Rams defensive end Bryce Fisher with a crushing blindside block. Matt Turk averaged 45 yards per punt and the kick coverage was nothing short of outstanding. Matt Bryant also made his only field goal attempt, from 43 yards out. Last but not least, the Dolphins got a first on a fake punt when Morris gained 6 yards and taking a direct snap as the up-back.

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