IT ALL STARTS UP FRONT

Say what you want about Patrick Surtain making a huge difference in the secondary — and he does — but the real reason the Dolphins defense was so impressive against the New England Patriots was because of the work up front.

The Dolphins beat the Patriots on Sunday because they won the battle at the line of scrimmage. They totally shut down any running lanes for a mediocre New England running game and they harassed Tom Brady enough that they made him look like a very average quarterback.

It was pretty obvious to anyone watching just how much of an impact a healthy Jason Taylor can make. He simply was the difference in the first half with two sacks on New England's first two drives.

The first one stopped the Patriots on third down after they had recorded a first down. The second forced a fumble that was recovered by Adewale Ogunleye, the turnover setting up Miami's first score.

Zach Thomas is a tremendous linebacker and the leader of the defense. Surtain and Sam Madison are tremendous cover corners.

But if you're looking for the most important player on the Dolphins defense, stop at Taylor. The guy just has a knack for making momentum-swinging plays.

Sunday's forced fumble was an example. So was his sack, fumble forced, fumble recovery against the Jets. And who can forget his play against Cincinnati a couple of years ago?

But it can't be just Taylor. The Dolphins need contributions up front from other sources this season if they are to attain their goals.

David Bowens got a sack on Sunday, and he's a guy who looks like he's making something happen every time he's on the field.

He needs to be used more often, assuming the knee injury he sustained in the second half of the New England game isn't serious.

Adewale Ogunleye has shown flashes of becoming a serious pass rusher, but he needs to do it more consistently.

The Dolphins are stopping the run very well this year, and it's obvious the trio of Larry Chester, Tim Bowens and Jermaine Haley will get the job done in that department.

What the Dolphins need on defense is getting enough pressure to make the quarterback jumpy.

They didn't get any pressure on Kansas City's Trent Green, and got burned all day. They got plenty on Brady, and pounded the Patriots.

Any questions?


Dolphins Report Top Stories