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Bad when Dolphins run-first offense is shelved

Sometimes the chicken is there first and it lays the egg. Sometimes the egg is there first and it produces a chicken.

Sometimes I have no idea how to start this friggin' blog and just go with a trite, boring, worn cliche.

Anyway, the chicken and egg idea sort of applied to the Dolphins running game Sunday. The Miami offense ran a total of 42 offensive plays. Some of you have suggested if the Dolphins had run the ball more than their 22 attempts, they would have extended drives and given themselves the chance to be on the field more.

That group is complaining the Dolphins didn't run enough against the 49'ers.

Tony Sparano isn't sure that the reasoning works. He says the reason the Dolphins didn't run enough is because, well, they only had 42 offensive plays.

And since I'm confused about the whole matter, I asked him to explain what up?

That is the point where Sparano said Monday Miami's game plan against San Francisco was not to run so much but, in fact, to pass.

“I think one of the things is we went into this game feeling like, versus this team, we had to be fairly aggressive early in the game," Sparano said. "And we were. We came out and we made a good play down the field to David Martin and we took a shot at one point to Teddy (Ginn) down the sideline and we did some things that way."

But on a day the Dolphins wanted to throw downfield, the San Francisco defense seemed wary of having Miami throw downfield. And so it kind of ruined Miami's big surprise.

"These guys kind of played us a little bit backwards defensively,' Sparano admitted. "Good job by them in that they played a lot more shell coverage. They weren’t going to let the ball down the field which would be a compliment to Chad (Pennington), but they weren’t going to let the ball down the field. It was going to be more about throwing the ball down to the backs and those type of things and being patient."

And that's when the Miami offense bogged down. It converted only one of seven third down opportunities. It needed the defense to bail them out.

"What started to happen in my mind was you became a little bit less efficient on first down which is what has really been helping us," Sparano said. "If we’re efficient on first down, then the third downs are more manageable. We had a couple of those third down situations yesterday were third-and-10, third-and-12 and we weren’t efficient in those deals. That’s not going to help you stay on the field."

That, of course, takes me back to the original question. If the passing deal wasn't keeping the Dolphins on the field, why not run more? Sparano said that simply was not the plan.

"As far as running the football went, the plan was to pretty much spread these guys out a little bit," the coach said. "Be a little bit more aggressive. Give the quarterback some option plays where we could run or throw and in some of those situations, it just ended up being throws.”

Here's a reminder: Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown were the best playmakers on the offense at the beginning of the season. Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown are the best playmakers on the offense now that No. 1 receiver Greg Camarillo is out for the year, now that Ted Ginn Jr. is being inconsistent, now that Ernest Wilford is known to be a non-factor.

So here's a suggestion: Get Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams the ball first, Miami Dolphins! Run first!