Final Game 3 Observations

Tuesday is the off day in the NFL, the day before preparations begin for the next game (unless it's the bye week, as is the case with the Dolphins). Still, we'll still take this opportunity to take a final look back at the most recent game, in this case the Dolphins' 38-13 upset of the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

-- By now, the "Wildcat" formation has been discussed ad nauseam, but it bears mentioning. The Dolphins used it six times in the game against the Patriots, and got four touchdowns and a 28-yard run from Ricky Williams out of it. Not a bad day's work. Of course, it's not always going to work that well, but for those who were looking to make the best use of Ricky and Ronnie, this was phenomenal. Yes, teams will be better prepared to stop it in the future, but there are enough options there that the Dolphins still should have success with it if they don't over-use it.

-- It wouldn't be a look back at a game if we didn't talk about Ted Ginn Jr. He was slightly more involved in the passing game against New England, but still was on the bench when it came time to returning kicks. From this vantage point, Ginn's straight-line speed makes him a better option on kickoff returns than rookie Davone Bess. But we still like Bess better on punt returns because of his quickness.

-- The play of the offensive line didn't get enough credit against New England. Not only was Chad Pennington not sacked in the game, but do you recall him getting heavy pressure many times that afternoon? Nope. A strong, strong effort.

-- The Dolphins not only were able to get the ball downfield in the passing game, there also were no drops by the receivers. Look, this group is never going to be great in the lines of the Cardinals wideouts or the old Rams corps, but just getting open and making the catches will make a big difference. As was evident against the Pats, the strength of the offense always has been and will remain Ricky and Ronnie. The passing game -- namely, the receivers -- just can't be a major hindrance.

-- Defensively, the secondary played much better than against Arizona (no duh!), but the biggest difference wasn't so much the coverage as it was the tackling. In particular, Yeremiah Bell was a big factor for the first time all season.

-- The change at free safety didn't make a huge difference, quite honestly, and Renaldo Hill turned what should have been a pick into a first-down completion for the Pats when he let the ball slip through his hands. The Dolphins will pay for that in other games.

-- Not quite sure exactly why the kickoff coverage was so poor against New England, but it's a tad alarming and bringing back horrible memories of last year. Bet that Tony Sparano will be spending a lot of time this week on getting that fixed.


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