When Vontae Davis started off the game with a leaping interception that can only be described as Fuck Yea!, the consensus feeling was the Dolphins were going to make this one interesting. Maybe even pull off the upset. Alas, it was not to be. The Patriots were able to show us, once again, that the Dolphins are good, but not good enough. And that there are more than a few weaknesses that need to be addressed before Miami can play with the big boys (i.e. - Colts, Saints, Patriots) and actually win a damn game against them. Here are the two main culprits to yesterday's 27-17 loss to the Patriots (hint: no surprises here):
A Lack of Sacks: Not so much "sack" as in "taking down the quarterback," but "sacks" as in "balls." As in, there are none to be found on this defensive line when sacking up is at a premium. Aside from Randy Starks and Cameron Wake, the Miami front seven was completely emasculated by the Patriot offensive line. When Tom Brady wasn't writing a thesis on David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest in the pocket, he was busy carving up the inexperienced Fins secondary, going 25 of 37 with 332 yards and a TD, hitting receivers in stride, converting 3rd downs and taking a pipe wrench to our collective clavicles. All thanks to a lack of pressure from the d-line.
It didn't help that the Fins were without Jason Ferguson and Channing Crowder (how crappy are things when we actually miss Channing Crowder?) At 34 it's a miracle Ferguson has gone this long without more injuries. And his absence just proves that Miami has to address the defensive tackle position soon (perhaps Alabama's Terrence Cody?).
And for all his ass-wrecking talk leading up to this game, Joey Porter
finished the day with as many tackles as you. Call it age, call it good
game-planning by the Pats, or call it simply a serious bout of The
Suck, Joey Porter is a shell of his old self, and has been all season.
Meanwhile, Jason Taylor didn't fair any better. Taylor, who's built a
Hall of Fame career out of punching Tom Brady in the dick, finished the
day with just two tackles and no sacks.
JT gets a reprieve because he's having an otherwise Pro Bowl caliber
season. Porter, on the other hand, needs to go away. If Gregory Peck
was the head coach of this team, he'd ask us to take Joey Porter to the
back of the barn and put him out of his misery (Yearling reference!).
It's time for Cameron Wake to get more playing time, and perhaps even
start ahead of Peezey.
Receivers Who Have A Serious Receiving Problem: Is there anything more
frustrating about this team right now than its receiving corps? It's a
squad made up entirely of dudes who have had their hands surgically
removed and replaced with ball-peen hammers. Continuing a season-long
epidemic, with 3:05 left to play during the team's most crucial drive,
Brian Hartline dropped a key pass that would've resulted in a big gain.
Two plays later, Ted Ginn went all Ted Ginn on our asses and dropped
another key pass. Greg Camarillo did manage to snag a spectacular
one-handed catch for a 23-yard gain. But it was basically with zero
seconds left in the game (sad trombone sound).
Chad Henne looked every bit the first-year starter with a group of
hammer-hands for receivers. Henne finished the day going 19 of 34, for
219 yards and no touchdowns. And despite a brief memory-systems crash
when he called for a timeout when the team had none left, The Robot
looked as decent as expected when asked to have a shootout with Tom
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Brady. But when the other guy brings Randy Moss and Wes Welker into a
fight, and all you have in your holster is a group of dudes with
hammers for hands, you're going to lose that battle. Every time.
(But hey, Pat White ran the ball six times for 45 yards! Weeeee!!)