Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Week 13 vs. Patriots Recap

Wins against the Patriots are always the sweetest aren't they?

Of course, it does sting a little bit knowing that Miami should not have lost to Buffalo the week before, and if they hadn't, the Dolphins would be leading the AFC East right now. Oh well, they made their bed and now they have to sleep in it - which likely means winning out if they want to make the playoffs.

But let's get back to Sunday's excellent win over the Pats:

  • I, for one, thought the game was over once New England went ahead 14-0 like it was nothing. Kudos to this team for not giving up. Because for a moment there it looked like they might have just been throwing the towel in on the season.
  • Chad Henne has made a lot of strides since he took over the reigns of this offense, but the one that may be most noticeable has only started to happen over the last three weeks or so, and that is his awareness in the pocket and his avoidance of sacks. This offense can't afford negative plays, so limiting the number of sacks he takes has really helped.
  • That being said, he needs to work on his accuracy and touch. His sub-60% completion rate is not good enough. And missing those wide open throws to Fasano and Polite could have been killer. He also needs to do a better job of finding throwing lanes to avoid having his passes batted at the line rather than hoping a lane will emerge for him.
  • See everyone, good things will happen when you feature the pass in your offense. Hopefully we see more of this strategy moving forward.
  • Channing Crowder finally made an impact play. Of course, it was about the easiest interception he could have had, but still, at this point no one is complaining. Also, Cameron Wake's first step on that play was ridiculous. That boy has some burst.
  • Jake Long is realllllyyy lucky the refs didn't call his false start on the fourth down play that Miami converted near the end of the fourth quarter.
  • Sean Smith is really struggling. I've pointed out his embarrassing lack of physicality seemingly every week, and it was on display again, as he whiffed on several tackles, including one on Welker that almost resulted in a first down if not for some help defenders coming to save the day. And of course, the 81-yard TD to Sam Aiken was just horrible. Not only didn't he get his head around to spot the ball, choosing instead to just blindly hold up an arm (while possible jumping negative inches) but then he put no effort into bringing Aiken down once he had the ball. Smith was supposed to have such good ball skills, but he seems unable to get his head turned around to make a play on the ball, so he usually just keeps running downfield and puts a hand up. And for a 6'4 guy to get outjumped is pretty bad, but Smith doesn't seem to want to leave the ground to make a play. He really needs to step his game up - I know he has it in him.
  • Bess, Camarillo, and Hartline ran some excellent routes in this game. And Hartline is becoming something of a redzone technician - the type of guy Patrick Turner is supposed to be.
  • If the team is going to keep trotting Pat White out there, let him throw the damn ball!
  • Congrats to the defense for finally stepping up in the fourth quarter. I think they realized it might be better in some situations like that to only rush 3 or 4 guys and drop the rest in coverage. If nothing else, it prevents the big play and keeps the team alive to fight another down.

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