As the Miami Dolphins biggest game in years draws closer it is worth noting that coaches this week are looking for ways to score more points more consistently. The Dolphins scored a season-high 38 points against New England on Sept. 21.
But as Miami readies for the rematch this Sunday it finds itself in something of a scoring slump. Simply stated, one or two touchdowns per game is not enough to keep the current playoff push on course. And that's pretty much what the Dolphins are averaging these days.
The Dolphins have 209 points this season which means they average 20.9 points per game. In today's high-speed, high-scoring NFL that's only good enough to be ranked No. 23 league-wide in scoring.
And if you want to look what area of their offense the Dolphins need to improve most to step up the point-production, it is glaringly the passing game. The Dolphins have only 9 passing TDs this season. That means the Dolphins are tied for 26th in the NFL in passing scores.
Quarterback Chad Pennington has only eight passing TDs this season.
Pennington's game-management has been very good, his leadership is excellent, the guy is very valuable. But Miami simply needs more scoring passes from him.
But while Pennington would like to get more TD passes, he says there is a reason his number is modest.
“We’re running the ball really well in the red zone," Pennington said. "A lot of times, that’s where you can get some easier touchdowns so to speak, as in the red zone. But we’re running the ball so effectively; we just haven’t had to throw it as much. It’s one of those things as a quarterback: Would you like to have more touchdown passes? Absolutely, just to create more success for your offense.
"But, at the same time, I’m not going to sacrifice, trying to force something in there to try to drive stats up. That’s just not good football.”
True enough, the Dolphins have 14 rushing touchdowns this year and that is tied (with the New York Giants) for second most in the NFL. So there are potential TD pass opportunities that Pennington is passing up (pun intended) to get the team in the end zone via the ground.
But to believe the Dolphins don't need to improve their scoring through the air is not realistic.