Drinking the Dolphin's Kool-aid.
Posted on: October 7, 2008 2:09 pm
The Dolphins appear to be the real deal. After getting beat like a drum by the Arizona Cardinals in week 2, they’ve put together consecutive quality wins against the two participants of last years AFC championship game, the New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers. The Dolphins beat the Chargers in much the same way they beat the Patriots. They played outstanding defense, ran the ball well, and controlled the clock and the line of scrimmage. Chad Pennington had another very efficient effort. If you read my blog last time, you’ll notice that they pretty much did everything I said they needed to do to win. Stop the run (specifically LT) They held the Chargers to 19 carries for 60 yards and held LaDainian Tomlinson to 12 for 35. Keep the receivers and running backs in front of you and limit the big play. They gave up 2 plays greater than 20 yards. A 23 yard play to Sproles and a 42 yard play to Vincent Jackson. They also held Phillip Rivers 13/28 for 159 yards and one TD. Rivers had been one of the hottest QBs in the league leading up to this game and the Dolphins effectively shut him down. The Dolphins only had two sacks (One that was shared by Jerry Porter and Vonnie Holiday and one by Matt Roth) but they kept pressure on Rivers and didn’t allow him to sit in the pocket and take his time. Roth has been a pleasant surprise since he seems to have found his niche playing OLB vice Defensive End. The biggest play of the game was on defense when the Dolphins had their sole turnover on their side of the field and yet kept the Chargers out of the end zone on 4th and goal from the 1. Last year, they would have folded and given up this score but they shut LT down and gave the ball back to the offense. On the offensive side of the ball, they played the same kind of ball control ball they played against the Patriots. They had the ball for 36:41 seconds (over 13 minutes more than the Chargers). They ran the ball effectively (40 times for 167 yards) and Ronnie Brown continued to prove he’s back by rushing 24 times for 125 yards and a TD. The Dolphins ran the “Wildcat” offense 11 times for 49 yards proving that it’s not a gimmick but a valuable part of their offensive scheme. There’s no way that the Chargers did not prepare for it yet they couldn’t stop it. One pleasant surprise was the involvement of the WRs in the offense. Ted Ginn Jr. and Camarillo combined for 13 catches for 123 yards and a TD. It’s not a lot but it’s good to see them starting to get involved. Chad Pennington was 22/29 for 228 yards and a TD. These are the kind of numbers I expected from Chad when the Dolphins brought him in and the kind of numbers I said he should be throwing for after he threw the ball 43 times against the Jets week 1. I think the coaching staff learned a thing or two from that loss. The question everyone is, undoubtedly, asking is “Are the Dolphins that good or have the Chargers and Pats fallen so far?” Only time will tell but, with the Dolphins schedule being very soft the rest of the way, a shot at the playoffs is not out of the question for this team. Defense wins Championships and a solid running game makes for a great Defense. The Dolphins have proved they can run the ball, play ball control, and play solid defense. I’m not saying the Dolphins are a championship caliber team but they certainly have the potential to be a solid playoff caliber team. I’ll post again Friday with a pre-game analysis of the Dolphins vs Texans. God Bless! Go Dolphins!