Dreadful Day on Defense

Joey Porter was very quiet, then he made some noise, and then he was quiet again after the game. Porter declined to talk to reporters after the 48-28 loss to New England, but there really wasn't a whole lot to say. The performance on the field said it all. And this isn't just about Porter, it's about the entire Dolphins defense.

Simply, the less said about the performance on Sunday, the better.

The Dolphins gave up a season-high 530 total yards, letting New England put together drives of 78, 87 and 80 yards the first three times they had the ball in the second half.

The Dolphins couldn't put pressure on Matt Cassel, they couldn't stop the run when New England bothered to run, and they most certainly couldn't cover, particularly Randy Moss.

They were beaten physically at every turn and it also appeared they were out-schemed.

The Dolphins tried a few different things to confuse and contain Cassel, sending DBs on blitzes on a few times, rushing only three or four other times, but nothing worked.

There also was the strange decision to match Jason Allen one-on-one on Randy Moss whenever Moss was lined up on the right side. Yes, Allen did a good job on two long passes thrown to Moss, and he even created an interception by knocking the ball out of Moss' hands into the air for Renaldo Hill to grab.

But for the most part Allen was overmatched. Badly.

And why wouldn't he be? Allen is a nickel back and clearly only the third-best cornerback on the team behind Andre' Goodman and Will Allen. So why not provide help?

Clearly that didn't work.

Then again, Goodman also got beat by Moss. But on that touchdown pass, the official let Moss get away with pushing off Goodman and, to make things worse, actually called Goodman for defensive pass interference.

It was one of a couple of atrocious calls by the officials, all of which went against the Dolphins -- not that we're suggesting they lost because of that because they didn't.

But it's worth mentioning. For example, on Wes Welker's 64-yard reception he was able to stay in bounds with little room next to Goodman because New England's Sam Aiken had a hold of Goodman's jersey with both hands. Last we checked, that's holding.

But we digress. This is about the Dolphins' defensive performance, or lack thereof.

We go back to Porter. As awesome as he was in the victory at New England in September, that's how unimpressive he was on Sunday.

And to make matters worse, his yapping got him back-to-back unsportsmanlike penalties, even though the outcome already had been decided by then.

Obviously, there was a lot of frustration hitting Porter at that point, just like there surely was for everybody on defense.

It's a group that's played a major role in the resurgence of the Dolphins this season. But we said all along that it wasn't a group without flaws, and those were exposed again on Sunday.

The focus for too long has been on a suspect secondary, and it still could use a playmaker or two, but there's also a lack of playmakers at linebacker and that also came to the surface on Sunday.

Still, this was only one game -- a really bad one -- and the hope is the defense can rebound next Sunday against a Rams offense that's been awful all year.

Despite the loss, the Dolphins still stand 6-5 and are still very much in the thick of the playoff race. But that won't be the case for long if the defense has too many more days like this one.


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