The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack


Following this season’s first few games, Dolfans were disappointed, but no one thought it could get to this, no one thought it would get to the dirty dozen. With a home loss to the J-E-T-S, the Fins have officially reached 0-12.

After Sunday, 0-16 has never looked so realistic. It could well come down to a showdown in the season finale against the Bengals if the Fins can’t upend the Ravens at home in two weeks (and they certainly won’t be favored since the Ravens already have 4 wins). After all, the other remaining opponents are Buffalo and New England (which have both already beaten the Fins in Miami this season). That leaves the Bengals (another team with 4 wins to date) that will be playing a meaningless road game in Miami on December 30 which will be the only thing standing in the way of their off-season vacation. Thus, the Bengals will be a prime candidate for a Fins team that will want to do anything to avoid the shame of 0-16. Although 1-15 is merely a trifle better in the short term for the men in aqua and orange, it would be a world better for the rest of their lives! That’s real motivation. But the question is: do they have enough talent?

If Sunday’s performance is any indication, the answer is a resounding “NO!” Playing at home against a team that was 1-8 against the rest of the league, the Dolphins looked horrendous. The Jets doubled the Fins’ total net yards and won the time of possession battle by 10 full minutes.

In his third career start, John Beck has yet to lead a touchdown drive. The Fins’ only 2 touchdowns in the last 3 games have come on a punt return and a fumble recovery. Unlike his last 2 starts, Beck turned the ball over repeatedly. When he wasn’t coughing it up (2 fumbles), he was throwing it up (3 interceptions). The latter being what Fins’ fans felt like doing as they headed for the exits in mass long before the game clock would expire.

On this day John Beck had 5 turnovers to go with his 177 yards passing. Despite the horrid performance and the lack of touchdowns, the book remains open on Beck. We know for sure, however, he is no Dan Marino. He is not going to set the league afire in his first season. He is a work in progress and this week he took some steps backward against a weak defense. He looked better against the tougher defenses he faced in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh the last two weeks.

The depleted running corps didn’t help Beck who was left alone to shoulder the burden of the offense. Even Dan Marino had problems when he had no running game. And John Beck is no Dan Marino. Come to think of it the current group of receivers will not conjure up any mental picture of the Marks Brothers, either.

This loss was indeed a team effort. The offensive line was horrendous. The running game was poor. The passing game was a nightmare. The defense, which surrendered 40 points, was pathetic (although it was not helped at all by the offense which consistently turned the ball over). Perhaps the worst aspect of the game was the coaching. When the game was still in reach, and a touchdown would have given the Fins a lead, Coach No Cam Do failed to make the calls to take advantage of the momentum following a Joey Porter interception (his second in the last two games) that gave the Fins excellent field position. Rather than going for a big play with the Fins in scoring position, he stayed conservative; the offense failed to get a single first down and the Fins had to settle for a field goal which kept the Jets in the lead.

The Fins managed to get their only lead of the day on a sack-induced fumble which was run back all the way by Michael Lehan in the second quarter. At that point the Fins led 13-10. The Jets went go on to score 30 unanswered points in the ugliest second half of football in memory. This game was truly the ugliest of the ugly for these winless Fins. And this twelfth game placed a real punctuation point on the dirty dozen.

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