The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

OUTMANNED IN DENVER

The Miami Dolphins had a 21-17 halftime lead in Denver only to see the game slip away as the Broncos outscored the Fins 22-8 in the fourth quarter.  And watching the second half one had the sick feeling that the Fins were on a ship which had a great big hole ripped into its hull and were powerless to stop the flooding.  That “hole” represented the mounting injuries which decimated the secondary, a most dangerous condition when one is facing Peyton Manning.  With Courtland Finnegan missing yet another game due to injury, the Fins’ could not survive once his back-up, Jamar Taylor, went down on an intentional, vicious attack by Demaryius Thomas of the Broncos, a play which should be reviewed by the NFL, which should lead to a hefty fine and a suspension.  But the injury to Taylor was not the only severe one for the Fins as earlier in the game Ja’Waun James went down with what has been reported to be a stinger.  November has been a trying time for the Fins’ offensive tackles as they have now lost both of their starters.  With Peyton Manning throwing 4 TD passes in the Broncos’ victory, one could surely say that the Fins were outmanned in Denver.

The Fins now stand at 6-5, needing to win at least 4 of their last 5 to have a meaningful chance to make the post-season.  That probably means needing to win twice against the Jets and once each against the Ravens and the Vikings, since the other remaining game is on the road against the Patriots who have not lost since September.  The sinking feeling Dolfans had in the second half against the Broncos could return at any time should the Fins lose to the Jets, Ravens or Vikings.

With the defense going downhill after Jamar Taylor went down, the offense took a nosedive after Ja’waun James went down.  In the first half, the Fins scored touchdowns on 3 of their 4 possessions.  They seemed to bog down after that, scoring a TD in the third quarter when they got the ball at the Denver 12-yard line following a turnover.  The only other time they scored in the second half was late in the fourth quarter when the game was essentially out of reach.

The defense got scorched by Peyton Manning who added 4 TDs to his career record.  He completed 8O% of his throws (28 of 35) which no doubt was made easier by the fact that the Broncos ran for 201 yards on the day.  With the Fins only rushing for 97 yards, it is not surprising that they lost the time of possession battle 34:17 to 25:43.

Overall Ryan Tannehill had a good game .  He was 26 of 36 (72.2%) for 228 yards with 3 TDs and 1 INT which added up to a 104.9 QB Rating.  This was only the second time the Fins have ever lost a game in which Tannehill’s QB rating was at least 90.  Tannehill’s lone interception came on a ball that went off Jarvis Landry’s hands in the fourth quarter and gave the Broncos the ball with 3:45 remaining and a 4-point lead.  The Broncos then scored a TD to seal the deal.

But injuries continue to take a toll on the Dolphins and their chances to get to the playoffs.  As deep as they are at wide receiver and on the defensive line, they are paper thin on both the offensive line and the defensive backfield.  The running back position is also one injury away from being severely depleted.  And that, Dolfans, was the story of the day on Sunday when the Fins were outmanned in Denver.

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