A new low

The Dolphins' disappointing season reached a new low on Sunday when Miami was shut out, 22-0, by a mediocre Cleveland team. To make matters worse, the Dolphins might have lost the services of linebacker Zach Thomas for a while.

Thomas left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury and did not return. He was in obvious pain after hitting Cleveland quarterback Charlie Frye on a blitz.

It was another injury that really crippled the Dolphins on Sunday, the finger injury to quarterback Gus Frerotte.

Sage Rosenfels got the start for the Dolphins because of the injury to Frerotte, but Rosenfels was so bad Frerotte was inserted into the game in the third quarter. It didn't make much of a difference.

The Dolphins were shut out for the first time since 2003 when they lost 12-0 at New England, coming up empty after driving inside the Cleveland 15-yard line on their last two drives.

It was only a 39-yard completion from Frerotte to Bryan Gilmore late in the game that prevented the Dolphins from beating the dubious team record of only 26 net passing yards.

The Dolphins running game had some success, but couldn 't overcome one of the worst passing performances in recent franchise history.

The defense actually didn't play that poorly after an atrocious start, Reuben Droughns' 75-yard touchdown run on the Browns' first play from scrimmage.

A missed extra point left Cleveland with a 6-0 lead at that point, and two field goals made the score 12-0 at halftime.

It may as well have been 122-0. The Dolphins ran all of six offensive plays in the third quarter and gained a paltry 4 yards.

In the meantime, the Browns added a touchdown pass from Trent Dilfer to fullback Terrelle Smith and a third Phil Dawson field goal for the final margin.

The only question that remained was whether the Dolphins would avoid the shutout. An incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal from the Cleveland 10 took care of that.


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