Grading the Dolphins

Here's a breakdown of how every unit performed in the Dolphins' 24-23 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

QUARTERBACKS - Jay Fiedler was having a very good day until he pinched a nerve in his left shoulder when he was taken down after releasing a pass. He did force a couple of throws and was lucky to not to throw a pick, but he didn't. A.J. Feeley made some good throws after replacing Fiedler, but he had too many passes tipped at the line of scrimmage. One of those was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by cornerback Duane Starks, and that obviously was a big play. A decent overall effort, but nothing great. Grade: C

RUNNING BACKS - The Dolphins ran the ball pretty well overall against the Cardinals, and Travis Minor had a nice outing with 90 yards. Sammy Morris also ran hard. Fullback Rob Konrad caught a short pass on fourth-and-inches and the play turned into a 20-yard touchdown. The Dolphins had success moving the ball and everybody contributed. Grade: B

RECEIVERS — After complaining about not getting the ball often enough against the Jets, Chris Chambers was the target throughout the first half when he had six catches. Marty Booker also had a nice game, with a big 38-yard catch down the sideline and another 35-yard gain that set up Morris' 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. But Booker was injured on his 35-yard catch. Tight end Randy McMichael had his most quiet game of the season, although he did catch a two-point conversion. Bryan Gilmore dropped an easy ball on Feeley's first pass of the game. Grade: B-

OFFENSIVE LINE - This actually was one of this group's better efforts of the season, except for guard Taylor Whitley, who was brutal once again. Left tackle Damion McIntosh also had problems, getting beat for a sack and getting called for a false start. The pass protection was spotty at best, but the run blocking actually was pretty good this time, although it must be pointed out Arizona is not very good against the run. Grade: C-

DEFENSIVE LINE - Jason Taylor had a very eventful day, but not all of it was good. He took a bad unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when he kicked the ball after an admittedly very weak roughing-the-passer call on the Dolphins. He also had a key sack in the final minute nullified by a holding penalty on Sam Madison. Taylor did have a sack and also dropped wide receiver Bryant Johnson for a big loss on a reverse. Jeff Zgonina also was pretty active against the run and Bryan Robinson had a big tackle on a third-and-short, but David Bowens was invisible, except for another questionable roughing-the-passer penalty. Grade: C

LINEBACKERS - This may have been Zach Thomas' worst game of the season. His number wasn't called very often and he didn't make any significant plays. Eddie Moore was very quiet in his starting debut, while Morlon Greenwood also didn't do much. Grade: C-

SECONDARY - The secondary was having a good day until the fourth quarter when a bad breakdown and two big penalties really changed things. First there was Surtain's roughing-the-passer penalty, even though in his defense it must be pointed out that looked like a terrible call. Then there was the breakdown on the 48-yard completion that set up Arizona's game-winning touchdown when Surtain let Larry Fitzgerald get behind him and safety Antuan Edwards didn't provide help quickly enough. Finally, there was the big holding penalty on Madison when he grabbed Anquan Boldin's jersey and killed Taylor's sack. Reggie Howard also dropped an interception in the first half. Grade: D+

SPECIAL TEAMS - Bill Gramatica did the kicking with both Matt Bryant and Olindo Mare injured and he made all three of his field goal attempts, but he botched an extra point -- obviously a big play in a one-point loss. Punter Matt Turk had a good day. Wes Welker did a good job on special teams, with a couple of tackles and one good punt return. Eddie Moore forced and recovered an Arizona fumble on the opening kickoff. Grade: B-

Dolphins Report Top Stories