Saturday, November 28, 2009

Your 2009 Miami Dolphins: Weeks 10 and 11

Two games. Two double digit leads nearly squandered. But two wins.

Unfortunately, the biggest story of the Tampa Bay game turned out to be the loss of Miami’s best player, Ronnie Brown. This just sucks. For the second time in three years the guy gets wiped out in the midst of a phenomenal season. “They” say he should be fully recovered from his lis franc injury by next year. Let’s hope so. But he will be 28 any week now and has now suffered two serious injuries. We know Ricky Williams’ next season is his last so the Dolphins could be looking at the running back position in the 2010 draft.

Other than Brown, the big story from the Week 10 win was the team’s last-second comeback. Miami admirably played aggressively late in the game, throwing on third down in an attempt to get the first down that would all but assure victory. However, Chad Henne made one of the single worst throws I have ever seen, well behind the Miami receiver, into a crowd and into the unfriendly arms of a Tampa Bay defender. Honestly, I just can’t fathom how Henne made the decision to throw the ball to that location at that moment. You could watch that play a hundred times in a row and you would never ever fail to be shocked at what happened. But despite his all-out effort at earning goat horns the Bucs scored fast enough to give Henne a shot at redemption. And he came through! That’s big take away from the game. With the game on the line Henne made two big-time key throws to Bess and made another throw that drew pass interference. Very clutch. And Ricky Williams and Dan Carpenter did the rest. An ugly win. You shouldn’t need a last-second comeback drive at home to beat a terrible team but a win’s a win and the experience should serve Henne well.

Against Carolina the Dolphins didn’t need a comeback drive. They were able to hold off the Panthers late comeback. A strong performance from the defense and running game but the team’s knack of giving up fourth quarter points is becoming a little disturbing. The D should be getting stronger as the game progresses when the offense dominates time of possession. But they’re not. Henne continues to impress with his arm. He’s still not posting big numbers but he’s getting key third-down conversions when the team needs them. I don’t know what to say about Ricky Williams. (I do know I’m going to have to revise my Worst Trade in Miami Dolphins History series of posts when this season’s over). How this guy can play this well at age 32 is beyond me. If he’s this dominant now you almost can’t help wondering what kind of a career he might have had without the mental health issues getting in the way. As a bonus Lex Hilliard looked good in limited action. He needs to be good; Ricky can’t carry the entire load. The coaching impressed me. Despite offensive line injuries that forced a lot of shuffling the line was still able to block effectively. While you can question many of the team’s in-game tactical decisions to date the Dolphins remain a well-prepared disciplined team that sticks to its strengths. Hey, just contrast that with Carolina. Can anybody explain why that team refused to ride Deangelo Williams in the second half?

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