Final Game 13 Observations

Tuesday is the one day off for every team in the NFL; for us, it's the day we take a final look at the most recent game before we start focusing on the upcoming opponent. So here are some final thoughts about the 38-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Yikes, we're just running out of things to say here. I mean, how many times, how many different ways, can we talk about this team bumbling, stumbling its way to a perfectly miserable season?

The opening minutes of Sunday's game at Buffalo were nothing short of embarrassing as we watched Ted Ginn Jr. drop a punt, John Beck get sacked twice and then simply lose the ball attempting to throw and Buffalo quickly get off to a 21-0 lead.

It was as though we were watching one of those college mismatches on Saturday afternoon. And the sad part is that, for all their spunk and resilience, the Bills are NOT a particularly impressive team.

That, of course, doesn't say much for the Dolphins.

BUMBLING BECK: It was bad enough that Beck struggled badly, the worst part was that he looked rattled. That was troubling. He looked like he had no clue what to do with Buffalo's blitz. That's why we said Sunday there was some merit to getting him out of the game for a while even though we thought Cam Cameron was wrong not to put him back in after halftime.

WOE LINE: What has happened to the offensive line, that same offensive line that was such a pleasant surprise for the first 10 games or so? Those guys are playing poor football the last couple of weeks, and virtually everybody shares the blame, from Vernon Carey to Samson Satele to Rex Hadnot. The Dolphins benched veteran guard Chris Liwienski in favor of Cory Lekkerkerker last week, but it didn't help. It's just what the Dolphins need, another area to worry about.

MIS-HIT ON MARTIN: If the Dolphins thought they were upgrading the tight end position by signing David Martin to replace Randy McMichael, they were wrong. We're not saying McMichael shouldn't have been replaced because he never really developed into a stud at the position, but he clearly was much better than what Martin has been this season. It's bad enough that Martin has been dropping passes way too often this season, his pass blocking at the line of scrimmage has been dismal. Again Sunday he was cleanly beaten for a sack. Tight end definitely is a position the Dolphins will need to address again in the offseason.

UNDER PRESSURE: There have been a lot of disappointing aspects to this season, and one of them near the top has to be the pass rush. As in, lack thereof. Where has it been? Think about it, how often can you recall the Dolphins getting pressure on the quarterback lately without having to send a defensive back on a blitz. The guys up front flat out have not gotten it down when it comes to applying pressure and, yes, that includes Jason Taylor. In fact, his numbers look a lot more impressive than his production really has been. But this goes beyond him, the Dolphins have gotten nothing up front in terms of pressure from anybody else. In fact, after Taylor's eight sacks, the next-best total for any Dolphins player is Matt Roth's three. Unacceptable.

RUN FOR COVER: Was it that long ago that Travis Daniels looked like a decent, if not spectacular, defensive back? Man, has his play fallen off. It actually was depressing to watch him sprawled to the ground after getting toasted by Lee Evans on that game-breaking 70-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. An ankle injury was a problem last year, but he's been healthy this year. He's just been bad. And he might not be in Miami much longer unless his play picks up considerably.


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Alain Poupart is the Associate Editor of Dolphin Digest and DolphinDigest.com. To read him every day, visit DolphinDigest.com and become a Miami Dolphins insider.