Final Game 8 Observations

Tuesday is the off day in the NFL, the day before preparations begin for the next game. It's also an opportunity to take a final look back at the most recent game, in this case the Dolphins' 26-17 victory over the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High.

-- Where to begin? Where to begin? So many points to be made so little space.

-- OK, we'll start with the run defense, the one that held Denver to 14 yards rushing. Sure, the Broncos don't have a stud running back on their roster right now, but 14 yards? It was the best showing in franchise history. And the credit has to start with the big guys up front, the guys who don't get to make that many tackles in a 3-4 but who are so important to plugging lanes and allowing the linebackers to come up and make plays.

-- Then there was the secondary, the secondary that was so maligned only a few short weeks ago. That was quite a performance turned in against the Broncos, especially Brandon Marshall, who was left to pout and take shots at Joey Porter after the game.

-- Really, Marshall's best move after being so quiet in the game would have been to remain quiet afterward.

-- Then there were the shots Marshall and cornerback Karl Paymah took at Greg Camarillo after he burned the Broncos for 11 catches for 115 yards. Marshall said he didn't even know who Camarillo was, while Paymah said he was just another receiver. Again, that looks real smart to rag on a player who has just burned you. Here's a suggestion to you, Broncos, cover the guy the next time.

-- The only issue we would take with the defense's performance was the inability to cover fullback Peyton Hillis. It looked like Matt Roth bit on play-action fakes on a couple of completions to Hillis, but the long pass that set up Denver's last touchdown was well defended by linebacker Akin Ayodele. That was just a case of Jay Cutler making a great pass.

-- Offensively, the running game was a little bit of a disappointment for most of the game because it got nothing outside of Ronnie Brown's 30-yard gain. Struggling against Baltimore and Buffalo is one thing, but Denver? Now, that's cause for concern.

-- Then again, maybe the Dolphins don't need to run if they're going to throw the ball as effectively as they did on that last drive. Just kidding.

-- Major kudos to offensive coordinator Dan Henning for a great play call on the third-and-19 on the final drive. The screen pass to Brown gained 18 yards and allowed the Dolphins to go for it on fourth-and-1. It actually should have gained even more, but Brown stumbled a little while making a cut and that allowed the Denver defender to make the tackle.

-- Joey Porter got another sack against the Broncos, but we have to give kudos to Denver rookie left tackle Ryan Clady, who handled Porter whenever they were engaged in a one-on-one matchup. Porter's sack came when he was being blocked -- not very well -- by tight end Daniel Graham.

-- Here's another example of what Ted Ginn Jr.'s speed and his performance against Buffalo can do: Paymah said the Broncos' game plan coming into the game focused on stopping Ginn and that's a big part of why Camarillo had such a big day. As for Ginn, he had a couple of nice catches, including a quick slant for a 13-yard gain. Ginn also dropped a pass, though. As did tight end Anthony Fasano.

-- It was bad to see Vernon Carey gets pushed back to the ground by DE Ebenezer Ekuban on a play where Ekuban got an easy sack of Chad Pennington. We expect Carey to be better than that.

-- We also were hoping the kickoff coverage team had turned the corner, but the 95-yard return allowed to Eddie Royal proved that's not the case. That play changed the momentum big time, and turned what looked early on like a rout into a game the Dolphins had to sweat out.

-- The bottom line is the Dolphins won, and now they enter the second half of the season one game behind the lead in the AFC East. And the schedule lines up nicely, with three games against division opponents and five others against teams that have combined for a 9-31 mark so far.

-- Is it too early to start saying the "P" word (and we don't mean parity)?


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