It doesn’t get any easier for the Miami Dolphins this week as they travel out west to take on the San Diego Chargers on Sunday at 4:15 pm. I believe that the Dolphins played well enough to win yesterday at Cleveland, and all the numbers except the score lean in that direction. At some point, players need to make that first down on offense, or get off the field on third down on defense to define that moment in the game. There’s improvement in all three phases and the Dolphins need to clean up the mistakes on a short week of practice. Here’s what I learned from the one point loss at Cleveland!
1) Chad Henne Gives His Team A Chance To Win! – There’s no denying that quarterback Chad Henne came into this season with the weight of the world on his shoulders to play above the level he performed at last season. Henne has done that and then some for this offense through three games and his play is something the Dolphins should be excited about! Chad looks decisive and confident throwing the football and directing this offense. I’m sure that he’s studying the red-zone area and end of game scenario so he can be the player to make a difference in those situations. Head Coach Tony Sparano said that Henne had a winning performance yesterday and gave the team a chance to win!
2) Daniel Thomas Is A Stud! – I believe it was fellow running back Reggie Bush who told Daniel Thomas to get into the cold tub immediately after the Houston game, and with the running style of Thomas, he will need to make a date with that tub on a permanent basis! In two games, Thomas has run for 202 yards and 95 of those yards came yesterday against Cleveland. His tough and rugged style is something this offense looks like they can count on and it just might help the red-zone troubles in the future.
3) Stats Don’t Equal Wins – The saying goes that the only stat that matters is on the scoreboard and that holds true about yesterday’s loss as well! The Miami Dolphins dominated the entire game in rushing yards ( 138 to 70), total yards (369 to 280) and in time of possession (37:51 to 22:09)! This football team needs to make more plays that decide a football game in crucial situations! There are players on both sides of the football that are difference makers and that shows up in the game statistics, but someone needs to make the plays that decide the outcome of the game.
4) Find A Way In The Fourth Quarter – There are too many playmakers on this football team, and someone, anyone needs to step forward and make a play to win the game down the stretch. Defensively, there were multiple chances in that last drive to stop quarterback Colt McCoy and get off of the football field and allow the offense to close out the game. Offensively, too many wasted chances early for points lead to the game being decided on the last four plays of the fourth quarter! We needed to gain 10 to fifteen yards in the last series to give placekicker Dan Carpenter a chance to win the game, but poor execution prevented that from happening. They Dolphins as a group was much better than last week, but I’m sure that the players are disappointed in the way they finished the game.
5) The AFC East – No one – and I mean no one – had the Buffalo Bills at 3-0 after the month of September! It one of the surprises in the NFL as we look forward to October and getting the first win of the season. The New England Patriots and the New York Jets are at 2-1 after both losing in week three, and if the Dolphins can find a way to win in San Diego this Sunday, they can move into the bye week looking forward to play the Jets with plenty of rest and and with a chance of getting back into the discussion. Miami has a chance to get a little bit of momentum going but it must start this Sunday on the road. Taking care of themselves is probably the priority this week and should be the focus to getting the first win of the season.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.