The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack


 The Fins lost at home again on Sunday, and it surely must be time to fumigate.  Thanks to 3 interceptions, the 6-6 Fins stunk up the stadium and lost to the Browns 13-10 on a last second gift field goal.  The turnover bug has become such an epidemic at Sun Life Stadium, it’s got to be time to fumigate.  What else can the Fins do at this point? 

The story of this horrible Sunday was the Fins’ turnovers on offense.  In the first half a sideline sprinting Brian Hartline had a full 7 yards on the defender when Henne proceeded to under throw what should have been an easy touchdown pass so badly that it became an interception.  What should have been 7 points became a Cleveland ball.  Henne also threw another first half pick when he threw behind Davone Bess.  But Henne saved his best for last when on third and 9 he threw a ball that got deflected, intercepted and run back to the Fins’ 2-yard line with under a minute left in what was then a tie game.  It enabled the Browns to run the clock down to 0:03 and then kick the winning field goal as the game clock expired. 

The offense seemed to click in the first quarter, gaining a very respectable 121 yards.  But they had nothing to show for it thanks to a blocked 41-yard field goal attempt.  Meanwhile, the defense was shutting down the Browns who by halftime had managed only 79 yards total offense.  The Fins themselves managed only 39 yards in the second quarter, no wonder Dan Carpenter’s field goal just before halftime had to come from a franchise record 60 yards.  With that long field goal the hope was that the Fins’ offense would have a reawakening and come out strong in the second half.  It was not to be. But for one 80 yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter that tied the game at 10, the Fins’ offense gained only another 42 yards in the second half. 

Chad Henne’s interceptions were not his only problem on the day.  He was only 16 of 32 for 174 yards.  His 50% completion percentage, which was well under his season average, was a good indication that he was off target on Sunday.  His QB rating was a miserable 37.8.  Ouch! 

The defense did its job once again.  Surely it cannot be faulted for the game winning field goal when the offense turned the ball over on their own 2-yard line.  That was plainly a gimme field goal. The only time the defense did not do the job on Sunday was when they allowed the Browns to drive 95 yards for a touchdown that made the score 10-3 late in the third quarter.  The only other Browns’ score was a first half field goal after Henne’s second interception given them the ball at the Fins’ 28-yard.  The defense held the Browns to only 12 first downs and 52 yards rushing.  The Browns converted only 2 of 14 (14.3%) third downs.  On the other hand, the Browns tight end caught 10 passes for 100 yards.  Still, the defense really surrendered only 7 points on the day given that the 2 field goals came after turnovers gave the Browns the ball in field goal range. 

Even with all of their offensive woes, the Fins would still have won the game had Nolan Carroll held on to an easy pick-six with under 2 minutes remaining in the game.  When he dropped it the Browns were forced to punt on their very next play.  That gave the Fins an opportunity to try to get the ball into Dan Carpenter’s range for a game winning field goal.  Unfortunately, that opportunity fell prey to the turnover bug which struck Chad Henne for the third, and most inopportune, time. 

Thanks to the turnover bug, the fans back in Cleveland were happy.  Of course, those fans probably would have gladly exchanged the Browns’ meaningless win (which brought them to 5-7), for a Cavaliers’ win over the Heat last week.  Meanwhile, here in Miami, with the turnover bug becoming a bigger and bigger problem, it has got to be time to fumigate the stadium formerly known as Joe Robbie.

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