Final Game 15 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' 38-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

-- After three weeks of low-scoring victories, the Dolphins gave us an old-fashioned shootout Sunday in Kansas City, but it wasn't like the Dolphins were throwing the ball downfield on every down. It was more a matter of picking their spots and also converting in the red zone.

-- Kudos for that would go to Chad Pennington, who again was splendid, and to tight end Anthony Fasano for his great hands and his breaking tackles all game.

-- Speaking of Pennington, does it infuriate anyone else as it does me when a national writer lists a bunch of names as potential MVP candidates and doesn't include him? What more does a guy have to do? I dare anyone to find a player who has been more valuable to his team than Pennington. Anyone. And that includes Peyton Manning, the so-called leading candidate. Why is it that he's the leading candidate? Because he's in half the commercials you see every game? Because he made one hilarious United Way spoof on Saturday Night Live (check it out on YouTube, it's awesome)?

-- Back to Sunday's game, nice to see yet another new wrinkle in the Wildcat because it was starting to get stale with just Ronnie Brown running left or Ronnie Brown running right.

-- And why is it that we haven't seen Brown throw out of the Wildcat anymore? He did throw a pass to David Martin at St. Louis, but that was because he couldn't throw back to Pennington as the play called because of penetration from the defensive line. After that pass he threw to Fasano in New England, Brown deserves more opportunities.

-- Then again, as well as Pennington has passed all year, why take the ball out of his hands?

Here's another argument for Pennington for MVP. The Dolphins are 10th in the NFL in total offense with Andy Alleman and Ikechuku Ndukwe starting at guard and a wide receiver corps that includes two former rookie free agents, a free agent bust and a former No. 1 pick who still hasn't come close to living up to that billing. Manning, meanwhile, has a wide receiver corps that features three former first-round picks in Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez, and a very good offensive line.

-- Those problems on defense in the first half of the Kansas City game, we can only hope it was a matter of the frigid conditions affecting the Dolphins before they adjusted. Either the Dolphins thawed out a little at halftime, or they just made good adjustments because they were able to hold the Chiefs to three points and less than 150 total yards after that abomination of a first half.

-- By the way, anybody seen Joey Porter lately? Other than that one sack in the final minute of the 49ers game, he did nothing in the last two games. You can consider him done when it comes to NFL Defensive Player of the Year. This is the time when the top candidates step up and he clearly hasn't done that.

-- Have a hard time believing the Dolphins struggled on defense because Channing Crowder was out with a knee injury. He's simply not that kind of difference-maker. It did, however, look like Akin Ayodele had a really bad at linebacker and we never heard Reggie Torbor's name.

-- For all the talk about the secondary, it just might be the linebacker corps that needs the most upgrading in the offseason.

-- Speaking of the secondary, Andre' Goodman is quietly having a tremendous second half of the season. Although he really wasn't that quiet Sunday with five passes broken up and a pick. It really wouldn't be a disaster if the Dolphins began next season with Goodman and Will Allen as their starting corners again.


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