REPORT CARD

Here's a breakdown of how every unit on the Dolphins performed in the 24-22 victory over the Denver Broncos.

QUARTERBACK — Jay Fiedler didn't have it easy against a very good Denver defense, but the bottom line is he moved the Dolphins 39 yards in the final minute to set up Olindo Mare's game-winning field goal. Yes, he was fortunate on the huge pass to Dedric Ward, but Fiedler also deserves some credit. He didn't play a great game, but he also wasn't bad. His first-half interception came because he failed to see defensive lineman Montae Reagor dropping back in coverage. He also had a couple of throws that easily could have been intercepted. But again, the Dolphins had problems with the Denver defense but still managed to pull it out. So Fiedler obviously did some things right. Grade: C

RUNNING BACKS — Ricky Williams didn't put up big numbers against Denver's excellent run defense, but he did score two touchdowns and he did make some plays in the passing game. Rob Konrad wasn't much of a factor and neither was Robert Edwards. Nothing came easy for the Dolphins on this night, but Williams did some good work anyway. Grade: B-

RECEIVERS — Just when we were ready to say Randy McMichael had his first bad game of the season, he came up with a huge, huge catch on the final drive on a pass that was thrown behind him. Then Dedric Ward made a clutch grab on the very next play on a pass that went through the hands of Denver linebacker John Mobley. That's some kind of concentration there. Chris Chambers left the game early after suffering a concussion. James McKnight didn't catch a pass, but he made a terrific move when he ran the ball on a reverse. Oronde Gadsden had a good night. McMichael was the only one who dropped passes and he also was called for a couple of penalties. But the last drive almost made up for everything. Grade: B-

OFFENSIVE LINE — The Denver defensive line is big and active, and it gave the Dolphins fit throughout most of the evening. Based on the naked eye, it looked like Todd Wade simply couldn't handle defensive end Trevor Pryce, and Todd Perry and Tim Ruddy also were beaten badly on a couple of other plays. It looked like Marcus Spriggs did a very good job in pass protection in his second start for Mark Dixon. There were not many holes created in the running game, but the pass protection was generally adequate, and it held up at the most crucial times in the game. Grade: C+

DEFENSIVE LINE — Is Jason Taylor some kind of player, or what? The man was all over the place. He was every bit as dominant for Miami as Pryce was for Denver. The Dolphins had a good night when it comes to pressuring Brian Griese and they held up pretty well against the run. The one negative was a couple of offside penalties when Griese went to a hard count. Grade: B

LINEBACKERS — Denver moved the ball fairly successfully throughout the game, but the Dolphins still made a lot of plays on defense. The linebacking crew had a reasonably good night, led — as always — by Zach Thomas. Derrick Rodgers and Morlon Greenwood both came close to getting to Griese on a couple of occasions. Grade: C+

DEFENSIVE BACKS — Patrick Surtain and Sam Madison have the reputation as one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL, and they showed why on Sunday night. Madison, in particular, was spectacular. Yes, he was called for a defensive holding early in the game and he dropped a potential interception, but his coverage was outstanding throughout the game and he came up with a pick in the second half. Surtain made a mistake when he let Ashley Lelie get behind him for a big gain on Denver's last drive, but he also played well and had the big interception return for a touchdown. The safeties didn't make any big plays and you will be happy to know that Jamar Fletcher didn't give up any big plays. Grade: B

SPECIAL TEAMS — Olindo Mare missed a 48-yard field goal attempt in the first half, but he more than made up for it with his game-winning 53-yarder. There were many other highlights for the special teams, including Travis Minor's 65-yard kickoff return and Ward's 34-yard punt return. But there also were a couple of low points, notably a 55-yard kickoff return by Denver's Kevin Kasper to open the game and a shanked 13-yard punt by Mark Royals. But the Mare field goal was huge. Grade: B


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