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Fourth quarter belongs to the Miami Dolphins

Before I get to the primary point of this post let me update you on a couple of things: The Dolphins are reporting no injuries for this game. Everyone is good to go. The Patriots are banged up. LB Adalius Thomas and Eric Alexander are out. RB LaMont Jordan is doubtful. LB Tedy Bruschi, C Dan Koppen, CB Mike Richardson, DT Richard Seymour, and S Ray Ventrone are questionable.

Now on to my prose:

It was the best of times it was the worst of times ...

Oh, never mind.

As everyone knows the Dolphins are riding a four-game win streak as they enter Sunday's game against the Patriots. Ask coach Tony Sparano how it is his team has won those four consecutive games and he points to, oddly enough, time of possession.

He has this theorem that the team that holds the ball the longest, typically wins the game. I have a corollary from this thinking that the team that dominates the fourth quarter, holding the ball most in that game-deciding period, has the greatest chance to win.

And the Dolphins have proven my corollary (I love this word) the past four games.

If we can agree a quarter is 15 minutes I would tell you the Dolphins have dominated the final quarter each of the last four games with at least 10 minutes of possession time in each.

Against the Bills, the Dolphins held the ball 10:40 in the fourth.

Against Denver, the Dolphins held the ball 11:48 in the fourth.

Against Seattle, the Dolphins held the ball 10:31 in the fourth.

Against Oakland, the Dolphins held the ball 10:16 in the fourth.

The Dolphins had long game-clinching or game-winning drives in each of those games that either bled into the fourth quarter or ran clock off the fourth quarter.

So it is no coincidence that Miami has won six times this year when it has held onto the football at least 30:00. But it is also no coincidence the Dolphins won the past four games by controlling the clock and ball when it matters most -- in the fourth quarter.

Hey, this is my second post of the day so if you missed my first one on the Wildcat package, click back there and check it out.

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keep up the good work mando, btw, i'm always first lol

Corollary.Wow Mando-where did you dig that word up from.Outstanding!

Yes, I agree. By keeping the ball away from the other team during the fourth quarter, the dolphins are winning. The best defense is a time consuming/scoring offense. GO PHINS.

Didn't the Dolphins also have a monster drive against the Chargers to put the game away? That was also an impressive fourth.

In their only other win, they just cutting through the Patriots like Swiss cheese so it doesn't matter

Wow, Mando! Nicely done! I don't think you've ever been more on point in any blog post than you are in this one!

To extrapolate this point a little, remember the good old days (and by good, I mean bad!) when the fins would dominate in Sept - Nov then collapse in Dec (ie - the 4th quarter of the season)? Well, let's hope this 4th quarter 'within game' dominance extends itself to the 4th quarter of the season. I, as a die-hard, firmly believe we have the right people in place to make this a reality. We shall see...

Go Fins!!!

Please cut the following players:

Pennington
Beck
*Ginn (forgot the asterik on the last post)

W. Allen
J. Allen

Thank you!

Anyone get the BB Storm today...oh yeah football.

I think you make a good point but I also beleive it would be moot if the Phins did not go into the fourth quarter with a lead or within a score. They accomplish this by playing hard for the first 3 quarters. This year you can actually beleive with confidence that the Phins will score in the first quarter or even on thier first drive. That feels almost as good as finishing the game strong.

This could go back to Pennington's ability to manage the game. I'm not a big fan of Pennington, but I recognize what he's done for this team this season. One can't judge what might've happened had Farve not retired, but it's a good thing he didn't.

Pennington is a veteran of the game and knows what it's like to both win and lose. This has been an essential key to the Dolphins' success. This, and the Wildcat, which I believe contributed to Pennington's success. The Wildcat takes the pressure off Pennington by limiting the threat of a defense pouncing on him.

There's been a lot of factors in determining time of possession in correlation to Miami's success, but I don't think we can doubt Pennington's presence has a lot to do with both.

Where has Anthony Fasano disappeared to?

Mando - can you get rid of this mR742 guy who always asks us to cut Penny and Jr among others? His same post everyday is getting really old, he should at least change it up and mention players who HAVE NOT contributed this year? Sorry for the rant, great post Mando. GO FINS!

Dolfan in Denver

I would like to see the Dolphins go for 15:00 in the fourth.Anyone on that bandwagon?Leaves no time for the special teams to get on the field!

I agree 100% with you Mando, the fins have dominated the 4th quarter as far as TOP and the ability to have long successful drives however they have got to stop playing conservative in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. It seems that when they start out great in the 1st quarter and get a lead they start playing conservative and the other team get's back in causing the fins to have to get serious again in the 4th. I would love to see the fins come out Sunday and play hard all 4 quarters and run the score up on N.E. like they do to other teams on a regular basis.

I agree 100% with you Mando, the fins have dominated the 4th quarter as far as TOP and the ability to have long successful drives however they have got to stop playing conservative in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. It seems that when they start out great in the 1st quarter and get a lead they start playing conservative and the other team get's back in causing the fins to have to get serious again in the 4th. I would love to see the fins come out Sunday and play hard all 4 quarters and run the score up on N.E. like they do to other teams on a regular basis.

I was thinking about this just today. Not only have then been spectacular in the 4th quarter, if I'm not mistaken, they've now scored TDs on their first drive 3 games in a row after a stretch of somewhere between 26 to 28 in a row of NOT scoring a TD on their first drive.

The Dolphins apparently took to heart the "start strong, finish strong" motto, but there is a middle they need to worry about.

Get to be like the Cowboys through the Jimmy years. Jump out to an early lead and then enforce your will throughout the whole game. Then seal it up in the 4th with one of those long killer drives we've been seeing lately.

If they do that, this team would be dangerous...

The benefit of these long, time-consuming drives is the DEFENSE, which stays well-rested for the final quarter. Last year, it was the poor defense that was always on the field for 10 minutes per quarter. This is TunaBall at its best, when we can eat the clock and drive the ball with confidence.

This is a Parcells philosphy. It works. How many times did we get beat even though our offense was brilliant. We lost to the Texans because we gave them too much time to get back in it.
Great post.

Just want to get a rumor going Joey Galloway to the fish next year. Great guy, no contract offered by the Bucs yet this season. Gruden has no clue how to use him. Just think of it, Ginn, Camarillo, and Galloway!

Good article today Mando! Your writing has been better of late. Keep it up.

True it is all about the time of possesion,but Cassel is playing much better than when we last saw him the real question is 1.can our D play as well as the previous game and 2.if not and NE gets on a roll can our offense keep up.Yeah NE defense is banged up BLAH BLAH BLAH how about the game where we played mediocre defenses and just pulled the game in the final stages of the fourth quarter against two not so good teams.What I am trying to say is yes a win is a win and ill take it anyway we can but it would be nice to see our offense putting up more points.

Wow, those are GAUDY numbers.

From coronaries to corollaries in one season!

Mando - your point, whilst being correct, is not exactly rocket science. It's like saying if you rush for 250 yards or have a t/o ratio of +3 you usually win games. Last week you put yourself up for the Nobel literature prize, this week you are "writing prose" and sledgehammered corollary into a blog twice. You are not exactly setting the journalism bar at unprecedented new heights here, or coming up with novel and innovative analysis either. Let others praise you if praise is due and drop the self-aggrandisement, which does not endear you to your readers. Stick to the day job of reporting, analysis and journalism and let your writing speak for itself. We are intelligent enough to judge you on merit and don't need your guiding hand.

If you think words like "theorem" or "corollary" make you sound smart, you've set the bar very low. You must have low self-esteem to constantly pat yourself on the back. Frankly, I find your "analysis" obvious and a waste of time. You get paid for this?!

Nice stuff Mando. I have a random question for all of you.

I currently live right outside of New York City and am forced to watch all of the Dolphins games at a local bar which has NFL Sunday Ticket. Unfortunately, as I live about 15 minutes from Giants Stadium, this bar is usually filled with douche bag Jet fans.

I was wondering if anyone knew of a good Dolphins Bar in New York City where I can watch the games with other Dolfans. Any information you guys have would be great.

AK

Try this page on Curt's Phins.com site.

http://www.phins.com/bars.php

It seems like a good place to start? Living on the other side of the pond, I can't give any personal recommendations!

Another great post Mando. The old Dolphins always would collapse in 4th quarter, but this bunch is a new breed. Now if we can win in late season which the old Dolphins could never do; just maybe the corner on this team has been turned.

the only complaint i have about the team would be their constant effort to try to milk a small lead. get at least 14 up before you go to 3 runs and a punt offense. it's cost us leads in the 4th twice. keep the same offense that mixes it up with passes, runs and wildcat all game long. so you beat a team by 20+, what's the harm? point differential is the 4th? tiebreaker and half the AFC is 6-4/7-3/5-5. playoff spots will not be easy to get.

Nice point and exactly right. That is all Pennington's doing. He hasnt been rifling the ball all over the field, but he is on target, he moves the chains and he doesnt turn the ball over much. His presence is giving other confidence and they are producing to their level. Rickys return is another big key as he provides an additional spark and lessens the burden on Ronnie. Those 2 additions are the keys right now to where we are this year.

Oh, and the team that scores the most points also wins. Go Dolphins!!

UKfinfan, while you say you are intelligent enough to not need a guiding hand from Armando, you seem oblivious to tongue-in-cheek references in his blogs.

I think you are the only one who took him literally when he said he was gunning for the Nobel prize. You are sounding like a truly uptight brit.

My husband is a farthead.

if we shadows have offended think of this and all is mended. For I am a honest fan, and my honesty forces me to tell, the tale of a sorrowful conclusion. If the Dolphins fail to win, it will be because of their special teams..
adue

Finheavenblows, I'm not uptight at all, just discerning. I didn't take any of Mando's comments too literally, but one such reference is tongue in cheek, twice or more is getting to be a habit, wouldn't you agree? The job of a sports journalist writing about the Dolphins is to write about the Dolphins. If Mando wants to start a Mando appreciation site (he may already have one?) then he should do so on his own webpage - I read posts about the Dolphins to learn more about the Dolphins, not to see Mando on his own injury report with a torn rotator cuff from patting himself on the back. There is a big difference between self-deprecating humour and egotistical indulgence. If Mando cannot accept constructive criticism it is a poor show. If you want to keep drinking the Mando Kool-aid, by my guest. I have my opinion and you have yours - I didn't ask you to share mine. Expressing my opinion is called freedom of speech. I wouldn't have thought that would be something you would have a problem with? If you do, you appear to be in the wrong country.

I agree with Tampa Fin Fan, the dolphins shouldn't be so conservative in the 2nd and 3rd quarters

AK- Try Third and Long (East 35th Street/3rd Avenue) in Manhattan; They are the offical bar for the DolfansNYC club, which gathers each week to catch the Fins. Or go to their website- DolfansNYC.com.

Hope that helps!


Curt

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