Final Game 11 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' 48-28 loss to the New England Patriots at Dolphin Stadium.

-- It's been suggested that the Dolphins losing their composure in the fourth quarter eliminated any chance they had of winning the team, but that's absurd. Yes, absurd. The Dolphins lost their composure AFTER the outcome no longer was in doubt. The Channing Crowder fight, the Joey Porter penalties, all of that took place after New England had put the game away.

-- The reason the Dolphins lost wasn't a loss of composure, it was a lack of defense. Plain and simple. End of story. It's ridiculous to suggest otherwise. New England racked up 530 total yards, scored 48 points and punted only once. Again, end of story.

-- We said it on Sunday and we'll say it again, the officiating was a joke, and it just seemed every bad call went against the Dolphins.

-- And another complain, this one against New England: Classy move to score a touchdown in the final minute already up by 13.

-- Those who have been clamoring for Chad Henne to get on the field got their wish on Sunday, but exactly why was he put in to hand off for one play before letting the clock run out? That just seems a little demeaning.

-- It also was disconcerting to hear Jason Ferguson say the Dolphins were taken by surprise by New England coming out with five receivers to open the game. It's not like Bill Belichick hadn't done that same type of thing with Tom Brady before. It doesn't speak well to the coaching staff's game plan for this game.

-- We also need to once again take issue with having Jason Allen left one-on-one with Randy Moss. Makes no sense. Allen did play it well on a couple of long passes, but he doesn't have the ball skills or the savvy to handle someone like Randy Moss. If he did, he wouldn't be a backup. So if the Dolphins didn't want to match up by having their corners switch sides, then they should have provided safety help for Allen.

-- It also didn't help that the Dolphins didn't apply much pressure on Matt Cassel, and that includes Joey Porter. Yes, he had one sack, but he also was kept away from Cassel more often than not. He was doubled-teamed and chipped on occasion, but also didn't get the job done in one-on-one matchups.

-- And, as always, there isn't anybody else on the team really contributing in the pass rush, so the Dolphins are in trouble if Porter is shut down.

-- That said, it obviously was wrong for Porter to get himself two late penalties and on top of that disobey coaches' orders and refusing to come off the field. Word is Porter apologized to Coach Tony Sparano and his teammates on Monday, and that's obviously the right step. What's left now is what kind of punishment Porter will get because an apology probably should not suffice.

-- On the other side of the ball, Chad Pennington was nothing short of brilliant, his fourth-quarter interception aside. He easily was the biggest reason the Dolphins were able to stay in the game as long as they did.

-- It clearly would have helped had the running game been able to do anything. As it was, Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams couldn't get much going, either in the Wildcat formation or from the base offense.

-- We've loved the play-calling of Dan Henning all season, but we would now like to see a play out of the Wildcat where Brown goes outside with the option to run or pitch it back to Patrick Cobbs. That would be a great twist.

-- Speaking of outside, that's where the Dolphins needed to go against New England. They seemed intent on running the ball inside and that clearly didn't work. The biggest reason it didn't is that Samson Satele got manhandled by Pats nose tackle Vince Wilfork.

-- In the passing game, the two biggest issues were a couple of dropped passes by Ted Ginn Jr. and the lack of involvement for tight end Anthony Fasano. Those two issues will have to be rectified with Greg Camarillo out for the season.

-- All in all, though, we can't complain too much about the Dolphins offense on Sunday because it did produce. The defense just got smoked. End of story.


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