Dolphins' usual M.O.: find a way to lose
Another Sunday, another fourth-quarter collapse
for the Dolphins.
Back in Week 3, Miami allowed Cleveland
quarterback Colt McCoy to lead his team on a game-winning touchdown
drive in the final minute. In Week 7, Tim Tebow and the Broncos erased
a 15-0 deficit in the final minutes before winning in overtime.
And now the Dolphins can add another one to the
collection. They led the Giants throughout Sunday's game, and they led
17-10 entering the final quarter. Predictably, the Dolphins lost 20-17
after the Giants' Victor Cruz caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning with 5:58 to play.
That one play perhaps best illustrated the
Dolphins' problems Sunday: They had no answer for the Giants' passing
game. Miami also failed to make plays -- both on offense and on defense
-- when it mattered most.
The defeat leaves the Dolphins with an 0-7 record
-- their worst since starting the 2007 season 0-13 before finishing
with a single victory. Perhaps as important, it leaves the Dolphins
with another defeat of the debilitating variety -- the kind that has
the potential to sting worse and take longer to recover from.
Not that Dolphins coach Tony Sparano would
necessarily buy that.
"You guys can write this whatever way you want to
write it, OK?" Sparano said. "But that group in that locker room has a
lot of guts and a lot of courage. OK? You write it whatever way you
want to write it, OK, but that's the fact."
Sparano has adamantly defended his players
throughout his team's poor start. Likewise, his players have stood by
him. The Dolphins did play with an edge in the beginning Sunday,
scoring touchdowns on each of their first two drives.
Those marches went for 66 yards and 90 yards, and
both were among the Dolphins' most effective drives of the season.
After that, though, Miami scored just three more points. The Dolphins
had just three possessions in the first half and then failed to move
the ball as effectively after halftime.
"And I guess that's where it started to turn, if
you will," quarterback Matt Moore said. "We just were not moving the
ball like we were earlier. Nothing I can figure out right now, but I
guess that's what it was."
So now the Dolphins will move on and begin
preparations for the Chiefs, whom they play in Kansas City this
weekend. Again Sparano will ask his players to overcome a difficult
game that was lost in the fourth quarter.
BY THE NUMBERS: 103 -- Rushing yards Sunday for
Reggie Bush, who has slowly started to improve after his slow start. He
eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time this season. Bush
averaged 6.9 yards on 15 carries, with his long run going for 35 yards.
TRENDING: Red-zone struggles and third-down
inefficiency are two things that have hurt the Dolphins this season.
They improved in one area on Sunday but not the other. The Dolphins
scored touchdowns in each of their trips inside the red zone. It was
their best performance of the season inside an opponent's 20-yard line.
Third down, however, continued to be an issue, as Miami went just
--RG Richie Incognito was inactive Sunday after
suffering an ankle injury the week before against the Broncos. He had
been practicing all week.
--OL Nate Garner made his first start of the
season at right guard in place of Richie Incognito. Garner has also
lined up as an extra blocking tight end at times this season.
--RB Steve Slaton for the first time was the
Dolphins' primary kick returner. He added a boost there, averaging 28.3
yards on three kickoff returns.
--CB Jimmy Wilson made his first start of the
season at cornerback in place of the injured Vontae Davis. Wilson
allowed a touchdown pass and finished with three tackles.
--C Mike Pouncey, who's in the midst of a
successful rookie season, left the game for a period in the second half
with a neck injury. He returned and said he was OK after the game.
More news at DolphinDigest.com
AFC East: Dolphins Finding Ways To Lose
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