Thoughts on the game

The Dolphins, as expected, put forth a great effort Sunday at Seattle, but in the end they were done in by the same bug-a-boo that has haunted them all season: the dreaded interception returned for a touchdown. But not all was bad on this day, and here are a few observations from the game.

-- Yes, it was bad luck for the Dolphins that kicker Olindo Mare aggravated his calf injury in pregame warmups, but shouldn't the Dolphins have prepared for this. Remember, they had three kickers on the roster for the Arizona game, but then let both Bill Gramatica and Matt Bryant go. We're thinking they should have held on to one of those two until they were fully convinced Mare was 100 percent. And that means Mare going through pregame warmups and an entire game without any problems. As it was, the Dolphins were left with Mare, whose kickoff were short, whose maximum distance for a field goal attempt was 43 yards (that's what he told interim coach Jim Bates). Mare refused to blame the injury for his missed 34-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, but one has to wonder.

-- Classy move by Jeff Zgonina, who let Dario Romero start in his place at defensive tackle because Romero was playing in front of a lot of family and friends. The Dolphins rotate their defensive tackles, so the playing time is spread out pretty evenly no matter what, but letting Romero get out there at the start was a nice gesture by the very quiet Zgonina.

-- The Dolphins made an adjustment on defense to shore up their run defense, and it worked very well against Seattle and star running back Shaun Alexander. The Dolphins brought safety Sammy Knight close to the line of scrimmage to have eight men in the box. The result was that Alexander was held to 96 yards on 29 carries after rushing for 160 yards or more each of his previous three games.

-- Because of injuries, Morlon Greenwood was flanked at linebacker in the second half by youngsters Eddie Moore and Derrick Pope. Considering the Dolphins allowed only 82 yards after halftime, there obviously wasn't any kind of major drop-off.

-- This has nothing to do with what happens on the field, but it struck us as funny nonetheless: Didn't Jim Bates look an awful lot like Lou Holtz when cameras caught him pacing up and down the sideline?

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