Team single-season record for sacks allowed could fall
The Dolphins' offensive line is on the verge of
being historically bad.
Miami allowed five sacks Saturday during a 27-24
loss to New England, which brings the season total to 51 sacks in 15
games. With three more sacks, this year's team would break the team
record set by the 1969 squad for most sacks allowed in a single season
The odds of that happening during Sunday's season
finale against the blitz-happy Jets, who have produced 34 sacks, are
pretty good. That's especially true if Jake Long, the Dolphins' left
tackle who has been selected to three straight Pro Bowls, sits out the
game because of the torn right biceps he reportedly suffered against
It's unrealistic to expect Long to play against
the Jets because of the severity and location of the injury, but
interim coach Todd Bowles wouldn't rule Long out on Monday, pointing
out the team's doctors are still running tests.
"Jake's a warrior," Bowles said. "At this point in
the season, everybody plays hurt. If it comes to that, we'll deal with
it as the week goes."
John Jerry likely will replace Long as the team's
starting left tackle. Jerry, who started 10 games at right guard last
season, has filled in for Long at left tackle for two games now.
"I think John (Jerry) did an adequate job. You
always miss a presence like Jake," Bowles said. "There's not a big drop
off there with John. We did some things. We ran the ball well."
Running the ball isn't the problem. Providing
quarterback Matt Moore adequate protection is, as only the Panthers and
the Rams (52 sacks allowed apiece) have been worse this season.
The Dolphins have allowed the quarterback to be
hit 94 times, which is fourth most in the NFL.
"You got to throw the ball in this league. You
just can't win with running the football," Bowles said. "We're not
worried about the sack record or anything. We're worried about
protecting the quarterback. We have to do a better job of keeping Matt
upright in the pocket."
Playing spoiler holds little appeal
--The Dolphins are aware the Jets (8-7) still have
a faint chance of making it into the playoffs as a wild-card team, but
Sunday's game isn't about playing spoiler. It's about finishing the
season strong. Even so, there's no denying the stakes have intensified.
"To be able to affect the outcome of a rival is
obviously a motivation, but we're playing for us," defensive end Jared Odrick said. "We're going out there to accomplish what we want to do.
We're not worried about the other team."
--Quarterback Matt Moore is now ranked 36th in
fourth-quarter passing. He has a 61.6 rating during that critical
quarter. Only five starters -- Oakland's Carson Palmer, Chicago's Jay
Cutler, Cincinnati's Andy Dalton, Miami's Chad Henne and Indianapolis'
Curtis Painter -- have been worse this season.
"I wish I could put a finger on it for you,"
interim coach Todd Bowles said of the team's fourth-quarter struggles.
"If I knew the answer to that, we sure wouldn't have lost the
fourth-quarter games we had. They made some plays in the end. It's a
different guy each play. Each game it's a different guy here or there
that can swing it one or the other.
"I don't think it's lost in the fourth quarter.
You lose some of those games in the first and second quarter off of
different plays. This week, I think we lost it in the third quarter."
--"It just speaks to the character of the men in
this room. We don't quit. We just fight and keep swinging. That's been
out mentality all year long," guard Richie Incognito said of the team's
respectable second half of the season, which features Miami winning
five of its past eight games.
--Receiver Brandon Marshall has caught 77 passes
for 1,177 yards and six touchdowns this season. However, he's also
second in the NFL in dropped passes, and many of those costly mistakes
have come in the end zone.
"I've left a lot of opportunities out there, and
it all comes down to focus. I've got to get better at focusing on the
task at hand," Marshall said.
--With his 113 rushing yards against the Patriots,
Reggie Bush became the 12th player in team history to eclipse the
1,000-yard plateau. He has 1,086 yards, the eighth-best, single-season
total in team history, and he's got a pretty solid shot of getting into
the top five during Sunday's season finale against the Jets. Bush is 54
yards away from passing Lamar Smith's 1,139 rushing yards for fourth
--The Dolphins were blown out by the Patriots in
last year's season finale when nothing was at stake. Interim coach Todd
Bowles doesn't foresee a similar season-ending result this year.
"I think last year (the Patriots) just beat the
pants off of us. This week, like it's been every week, we're a tough
team. These guys have stuck together all year. There's no reason why
we're not going to stick together for one more game," Bowles said.
AFC East: Dolphins Line A Major Concern
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