The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

OFFENSIVE

If there is one thing you can say about the Fins’ 26-10 loss to the Eagles it is that it was an offensive loss.  While the defense played well enough to win, the performance by the offense was plainly offensive.  The only touchdown the Fins scored all day came after a blocked punt by Jimmy Wilson which gave the Fins the ball at the Eagles 15-yard line early in the first quarterThere was little to cheer about when the Fins had the ball.  Other than the pretty touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall, the only thing worth noting on offense was the performance of Reggie Bush who gained 103 yards on 14 attempts (7.4-yard average).  The Fins were 3 of 15 on third down and 0 of 3 on fourth down.  Just offensive!

When the Fins went three and out to start the second half, the writing was not just on the wall, it was all over it.  Thanks to a Dan Carpenter field goal, the Fins managed to outscore the Eagles 3-2 in the second half.   However, there are no prizes awarded for winning the second half. 

The offensive line was porous, allowing 9 sacks on the day, one coming in the end zone for a safety.  A third quarter sack knocked Matt Moore out of the game.  Not that he would be missed as he had a rather poor performance up to that point including two turnovers (a fumble and an interception).  One had to wonder if Moore was really hurt . . . . or perhaps it was the only way he thought he could escape the Eagles’ pass rush! 

After Matt Moore went down, J.P. Losman came in to face a third and 7 and he completed a first down pass to Anthony Fasano.  But it was too little too late.  There was no way the Fins were going to make up for their second quarter lapses which the Eagles turned into 24 unanswered points and a 24-7 halftime lead. 

Michael Vick showed why he is such an exciting player.  He turned a number of plays into nice gains when the Fins defense had him on the run.  He is both very difficult to wrap up and very elusive and he has a quick release which makes it even tougher to sack him.  Still, the Fins managed 4 sacks on the afternoon, 2 coming from Jason Taylor, who continues to climb on the all-time sack list.  He now has 138.5 career sacks which places him sixth all-time after climbing ahead of Richard Dent and John Randle.   He will likely be the next Dolphin great to be enshrined in Canton. 

The defeat cannot be pinned on the defense.  They limited the Eagles to a total of 51 yards rushing which is special considering the Eagles have LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick.  Although LeSean McCoy got 20 yards on 2 carries in the first minute of the game, the Fins’ defense limited him to only another 18 yards the rest of the day.  He finished with a mere 38 yards on 27 carries, well below the pace that had him second in the league (by all of 3 yards) coming into the game.  Holding him to 1.4 yards per carry was quite an achievement.  And the defense also contained Michael Vick who completed only 50% of his passes (15 of 30) for 208 yards passing and a mere 69.9 QB Rating.  The Fins’ special teams did quite a job limiting DeSean Jackson to an average of 5.6 yards on punt returns and 7.0 yards on his lone kickoff return. 

It was indeed a painful loss in more than one respect.  In addition to Matt Moore, Jake Long, Vontae Davis and Vernon Carey all went down with injuries.  The loss of both Jake Long and Vernon Carey clearly added to the Fins’ misery as Philadelphia never let up on its pass rush.  With the Fins trailing by 17 in the second quarter, the Eagles knew they could go after the QB. 

The loss not only stopped a 3-game home winning streak, but it should also stop any doubts about Tony Sparano’s future with the Dolphins.  Come January 2, 2012, he will deservedly be the Fins’ latest former head coach.  He would need wins in each of the last 3 games (against the Bills, Patriots and Jets) of this dismal season to equal the 7-9 record of each of the two last seasons.  It is clear he will get his walking papers after the Jets’ game on New Year’s Day.  Here’s hoping he is sent packing along with his buddy, GM Jeff Ireland, because their performance has unquestionably been offensive.

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