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A look at Mike Sherman's failed second half

Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman basically said Monday that the idea he abandoned the run -- indeed, abandoned what was going well -- in the second half of Sunday's game against the New England Patriots was not really accurate.

He said the statistics that show the Dolphins going pass heavy in the second half were skewed by the team being down 10 points with only 7:14 left in the game.

"At that point we were forced to throw it in that situation and I think we threw it during that time," Sherman said of the situation where Miami got the football trailing 27-17. "After the turnover, they ran it 15 and threw it three and they scored a touchdown and they ran out the clock.  In that same situation I think we threw it 15, ran it three almost the reverse.  We were down by 10 and we were in a two minute mode trying to get caught up.  Most of our passes that we threw and generated in that time frame, those 15 passes were almost all in a two minute mode trying to gain 10 points back."

And sure, enough, Sherman is correct. Once the Dolphins got down two scores, they felt the need to throw every down and did exactly that -- passing 15 times and running only once on a desperation Ryan Tannehill scramble that was called as a pass.

But ...

My problem with Sherman -- perhaps everyone's problem with Sherman -- isn't so much that he passed the ball so much when his team was trailing by 10 midway through the fourth quarter.

My problem with Sherman is he was partially responsible for that 10-point deficit because he's so stubborn about throwing the football -- with no apparent regard for what the opponent was doing, no apparent understanding of the results he was getting, and apparently forgetting the results he had just gotten one half before.

The Dolphins, you see, led this game 17-3 at halftime. The Dolphins gained that advantage because they ran the football 22 times in the first half and passed 18 times. They gashed the New England defense, ranked 31st against the run, on the ground to the tune of 103 yards and a 4.7 rush per attempt average in the first half.

It was a fine formula for winning against Tom Brady on the road. It ran clock, which shortened the game. It kept Brady on the sideline, limiting his opportunities. It helped the Dolphins defense.

It. Was. Working.

Right? Agreed?

But then for some reason known only perhaps to Sherman and the Dolphins coaching staff, the Dolphins went away from that which was working in the second half.

In the second half, with the Dolphins ahead by 14 or, worst case, tied at 17-17, the Dolphins ran the football six times. And passed 11 times.

So they built a lead running more than passing in the first half but came out in the second half and passed nearly twice as much as they ran even while they led or were, at worst, tied.

Up 17-3 in the second half, the Dolphins passed four times and ran only twice.

Up 17-10, the Dolphins ran one and attempted to pass once.

With the game tied at 17-17 in the second half, the Dolphins passed six times and ran only three times.

Eleven passes. Six runs.

And a 17-3 lead that was built running more than passing evaporated.

And the trend continued. Down 20-17 after a New England field goal, the Dolphins ran the football twice their next drive. And passed it four times.

So basically with the game in his hands, Sherman flipped his own first half script that was so successful. The criticism of him is not that he passed when the Dolphins were 10 points down. The criticism of him is that he forged a 17-3 lead by running more than passing and then went away from that in the second half, passing nearly twice as often as he ran, even as the team was still ahead, tied, or only a field goal behind.

And remember all this against the 31st-ranked run defense.

It gets worse. One of my other criticisms of Sherman is he views the game in binary fashion. If the defense loads up to stop the run, you pass. If you the defense loads up to stop the pass, you run. It's a simple choice of two things.

The problem is there are more than two possibilities at play in football.

Bill Belichick (and most NFL coaches) can quickly understand they can make the Dolphins do what they want. They can bait you into doing what they want you to do by giving you a certain look, just as a defensive back can bait a quarterback into making a throw the signal-caller thinks is open but really isn't.

Another problem I have is that presented with evidence that stuff is working, Sherman easily goes away from it (See above).

And given evidence stuff isn't working, Sherman sometimes continues to press forward as if that evidence does not exist. The continued confidence in right tackle Tyson Clabo is a clear example of this. Remember when Sherman promised Clabo's issues in pass protection would get resolved and no change was necessary? That was before Clabo gave up key sacks against Baltimore and Buffalo that factored in costing Miami the game.

Well, on Sunday, Sherman must have seen that the desperate Patriots were blitzing on practically every passing down in the second half. It was their halftime adjustment. And he saw how dangerous this might become initially when a sack from a blitzing defensive player resulted in a nine-yard loss. That sack turned what would have been a 37-yard field goal attempt into a 46-yard field goal attempt that Caleb Sturgis missed.

Well, shown that evidence, and still leading 17-3, Sherman passed more than he ran anyway. (Remember, he got this lead running the football more).

And then a blitzing defensive back got a strip sack on Ryan Tannehill.

And later, down 20-17, came an interception.

No negative plays happened when the Dolphins were running more than passing. Bad things started happening when Sherman flipped the script. And he just kept passing even as he was ahead of tied or just a field goal behind.



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Look at Bradys stats in the win over Miami....damn look at his stats this year?? I don't hear NE fans screaming to bench Brady.....same with Wilson, Kapernick, Ryan and RG3.
Yes some of these teams have winning records so shove that notion up your arse!! They have winning records because they have what the Dolphins don't have....a good coaching staff, a decent team and a good scheme.

Now I know why Sherman has been fired everywhere he's been.

Jets = 7 playoff wins last 12 years

Dolphins = Zero playoff wins last 12 years


So the plan is to get Tannehill the offensive tools he needs around him....get him a decent OL, a TE, A running game and WR's that actually catch the ball.

Posted by: Bill Arnsparger | October 29, 2013 at 04:33 PM

Now do you guys see how delusional Dumbspager is? Tannehill was surrounded with weapons this offseason. He's now sent 2 of those receivers to IR with inaccurate passes that got them laid out, and we haven't played game 8 yet.

Tannehill has underthrown every single deep ball to Wallace this season. Then Dumbsparger says Tannehill needs more weapons. Maybe he's right, especially at the rate Tannehill is sending his weapons to IR.

Bill, all thoughs QB are you posted are 1000x better than Tannehill but I do agree coaching is a huge issue.

The Dolphins dont have the talent of the other teams. No coach can make chicken salad out of chicken shyt!!

Hmmmmm, Sounds like a few on here, Paging Dr. Oscar Canosa.....Dr. Canosa to the herald blog please!!

Narcissistic Personality Disorder involves arrogant behavior, a lack of empathy for other people, and a need for admiration-all of which must be consistently evident at work and in relationships. People who are narcissistic are frequently described as cocky, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding. Narcissists may concentrate on unlikely personal outcomes (e.g., fame) and may be convinced that they deserve special treatment. Related Personality Disorders: Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic. Narcissism is a less extreme version of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Narcissism involves cockiness, manipulativeness, selfishness, power motives, and vanity-a love of mirrors.

The real issue was the missed FG which would have put us up 3 scores and the ensuing short field which led to a quick score only to be followed up by the fumble and score.

Another issue is the defense that is supposed to be so good. Good defenses don't let you score td's. our d is overrated sorry. They play well in spurts not when it counts.

Absolutely NO life in this team. They came out as flat as they did playing for Cam Cameron.

McKinney DID solidify the line, until NE figured out they should blitz. McKinney had two days of practice. We ran better and passed better.

Gibson is a huge loss. HE is the top pick up, not Wallace. He does things Bess couldn't come close to doing. BIG loss.

Pi-s poor officiating. THREE times they gave the Pats the ball and changed to total momentum.

Weak at best coaching. No adjustments. I thought they adjusted well in the first three games. Maybe just poor opponents?

Thigpen needs to do something on KO and punt returns. He's capable, but I've seen very little from him, or any special teams player.

And Brady is a proven commodity why would you bench him Bill your logic makes no sense

After now seeing both Keller and Gibson land on IR, expect to see Dolphin receivers grow alligator arms for the rest of the season.

Who the hell wants to end up on IR because of Tannehill's inaccuracies. If I were a Dolphin receiver I would have Tanne-phobia right now too.

Vince Lombardi couldnt win with these scrubs.

And Brady is a proven commodity why would you bench him Bill your logic makes no sense

Posted by: Truth | October 29, 2013 at 04:44 PM

Cmon Truth....REALLY?? That post was sarcasm....my point was you don't give up on a QB that has NO TOOLS around him. If you wanna call a TE that NEVER stas on the field a tool, or a WR that for his career catches 53.9% of his passes and is ranked 77 out of 100 Wallace, or another WR Gibson, that has NEVER ranked in the top 50, and an OL that has given up 33 sacks and a coaching staff that the press and experts are questioning. If you call these tools then join in with the other dopey Tannehill haters on here.
I am not a fan of Tannehill....if we give him any tools and he doesn't get better then get him outta here. I'm about winning....not like the Jets fans who are happy to win 7 playoff games in 12 yrs with nothing to show for it. Older Dolphins fans are used to Hardware baby!!

Cam Wake, Mike Poncey, and Brandon Fields are the only 3 in the ENTIRE FRANCHISE worth keeping. All the other players, coaches, and executives are ALL GARBAGE.

1st possesion 2nd half, up 17-3, Wallace goes end around for 8 yards, inside the Pats 20 yard line, 2nd down and 2. So what does Sherman do ? Comes out 5 wide with no RB in the back field ? We dont even give them a 1 back set to look like we might run for the first down. So instead of running two plays to get 2 yards for a 1st down. Keep the clock running, keep Brady off the field. We pass it twice ??? That's where we loss the game, I should know, I was there and I turned to my son and said we are going to lose the game because of the insane call to pass twice, get sacked, then miss a FG. We had a chance to put that game away. The game did a complete 180. The crowd was dead, no life, but now they are back into it. Brillant call !


please, remember the Sparano/ Wannsted time, you were CRYING because of those guys were running and running, and when we were up 3 points, the wrong philosophy was run, run, run, punt and you always critize that, it is a PASSING LEAGUE, forget about the run, what the Dolphins need is a QB who doesnt fumble the ball on the first sack, dont throw the ball behind the receivers and injured them(GIBSON, KELLER) dont throw pick 6, dont throw floaters in the endzone, dont throw in double coverage, how much Denver, Packers, Lions run the football? stop the non sense coaching blaming, you should be talking about a much needed change of QB before another season is destroyed again, that is my friend the big failure about the coaching staff, stick with a mediocre QB again and destroy another season.

Sad but close to true post Caddy.....on Offense the ONLY talent we have is Pouncey.....no other player on Offense will get a sniff of the pro bowl. This is the reason why we spent only $37million on the offense and the ONLY reason I see to get Tannehill more talent and then lets see if he is for real. My gut tells me he is a QB that can take us to and win a Super Bowl. He will NEVER be the guy that can carry a team on his own.

The whole coaching staff was too busy bobbing each others apples, they couldn't come up with 2nd half adjustments.

the best play caller in the NFL in my opinon is Sean Peyton. last yr the saints ewere horrible he comes back and the Saints are 6-1. That's what a good coach and play caller can do for a team. Lokk who we have awful OC and a terrible coach, why oh why cant we find at least one of these. I am just so frustrated with this organization it's brutal Had to vent, THks.

Mik and Fan 71 very true post....not sure if they really bobbing but they may as well have....they weren't doing there jobs that for sure!!

There is a winner available to be our GM.....Mike Holmgren.....he knows talent and could pick a winning coaching staff.

bill holmgren was horrible in cleveland, now if he wants to coach im fine with that

So what in the hell did Philbin do in Green Bay if he wasn't calling plays as an OC and why in the hell is he coaching our team?

What has Sherman done to deserve the right to call our plays?

Why do we have a converted wide receiver with little to no experience running our offense???

Why is our third round pick sitting on his arse and not contributing on every down??

Why is our OL looking like swish cheese?

Why is our 60 million dollar baby acting just like, well a baby?

Why is Ireland still employed?


Holmgren got only 2 yrs that is not enough time in Cleveland...they needed a total rebuild. He was let go when new ownership took the team not because of performance.

Mando, Has anyone asked Philbin about Tannehill saying go-go on every running play and go on every passing play??? I mean that has to tip off the defense and it has been going on for 7 games now. Please write a blog post about that as many people have asked me the same question. Thanks.

Who is the head coach? Philbin. Who has the headset on hearing every offensive and defensive calls? Philbin. The issue here is .. even if Philbin knows he needs to butt in and change the calls sometimes, he doesn't because he either 1) trusts his asst. coaches too much or 2) fears hurting their feelings ..in either cases, he is not doing the job that a head coach should be doing..that is MANAGE the game! so frustrating...

Posted by: Cmon-man | October 29, 2013 at 02:40 PM
There is a 3rd possibilty. Philbin may not know it's a bad playcall or what play to substitute.

It seems to me that the players are NOT responding to Philbin's leadership style.

Hey Mando...can you interview some of the players that came from winning organizations and get their opinion?

Start with Mike Wallace and ask him what the main difference is between Bill Cowher & Joe Philbin.

Then ask McKinney about Harbaugh vs. Philbin

You see...I'm really starting to buy into this notion of how important the HC is to the teams success.

A recent poster reminded us of how bad the Saints stunk last year and now with Payton back in the saddle, they are unstoppable.

Coincidence? I think not.


Exact on almost every point. The only one that needs to be reviewed is he converted WR post.....he has shown he can be a winning QB in the NFL.....look at 1st 3 games this year and the Bills an Ravens games were poor coaching in final minute.

one more....Andy Reid in KC

Nuff said!

Go and Go Go is the same being used by EVERY other QB in the NFL. They may use Hut then Hut hut or other terminology. But this is standard.

Ryan Tannehill = John Beck

bill he was awful in cleveland

ask yourself...would you run through a wall for Philbin or Sherman?

hey...easy there tiger, now way Beck=Tannehill, I got to draw the line there. Tannehill is way better.

hey...easy there tiger, now way Beck=Tannehill, I got to draw the line there. Tannehill is way better.

Posted by: NHFINSFAN | October 29, 2013 at 05:23 PM

Nah, both losers with that deer in headlights look.

nhfin was wallace even born when cowher was coaching pitt??


Cleveland was horrible when he got there and he only had 2 yrs....it takes more than 2 yrs for a total rebuild. He also made a bad choice hiring Mangini....a few GM's have made that very same mistake. Miami doesn't need a total rebuild....look I get nothing if Holmgren is here or not. IDC who it is as long as the next GM is a proven winner. Im sick of the on the job training shyt and that goes for coaches too!!

Okay Bill my bad I just went on a rant...with a cleared head and good looking out by you I am going to step back and look at this from a different perspective regarding THill.

He should have never started his first year. He should have held that clip board like his life depended on it until he was ready to lead this team. The coaching staff et al should have provided him with the tools and weapons he needed to be successful.

There...lol....head is clear.

nhfin was wallace even born when cowher was coaching pitt??

Posted by: dusty bottoms | October 29, 2013 at 05:26 PM

you are sooooo dumb haha

agree bill on that, just fire ireland and do it now

Cowher, Tomlin...you can ask Wallace about either and get the same answer.

alright...Cower left after 2007 season and Wallace was drafted in 2009.
sorry for my inaccurate statement, Mike Tomlin is a better coach than Philbin is all I was saying

Speaking of Cowher...he's available after this season correct?
He'd love to coach Mike Wallace

lol ok nhfin oscar is probaly a better head coach than philbin even

I wasn't one of the fans wanting Ireland fired until I stood back and looked at his past drafts and FA pick ups versus FA losses. Its a total embarrassment that we let players go like Long, Bush, Dansby, Smith, Davis, Marshall and they become stars on their new team. Then we replace these players with Clabo, Miller, Wheeler, Carroll, Wallace whom were decent player with there old teams yet we get them and they SUCK......
This made me look deeper at our coaching staff.....therein lies our problem. Vanilla, stuck in their ways, no vision, no scheme, no adjustments, cannot take a lemon and make lemonade?? We are 3-4 because of our GM/Coaching not because of Tannehill.

cowhers a punk, game has passed him by and he just loves getting his name out there every offseason, kinda like gruden

All of this nursing Thill is a band aid over his complete lack of pocket presence and ball control. He isn't the answer long term.

Marco | October 29, 2013 at 03:19 PM

He isn't an "ELITE" talent but am now questioning this from a Coaching perspective. There is NO DENYING that this team is fast across the boards on O and the D got FASTER PLAYMAKERS to man the heart of the unit in it's LB Corp. This team could hang (in terms of speed and ability) with most! The REAL SILENT ASSASSIN here is "THE SCHEME" on both sides of the ball.

On O it's painfully obvious Sherman is so thickheaded that he won't adjust to anything outside his playbook/scheme from game to game, a tendencie put on display by the hoodie last Sunday. Why didn't he run formations spread and roll outs away from the side of the line the Pats overloaded with a FREE BLITZER? To maybe a little more spread formation. The few times done it has gone for positive Yds. A few more draw plays with the delayed hand off could help here as well using the over aggressiveness of some of the DL's we've faced

I've been harping on how unimpressed I've been with this Coaching Staff as a whole! Coyle gets ZERO pass from me as well unable to adjust to more 3/4 which is what his personnel dictates! I believe and have stated it AD NAUSEAM on here for weeks now! Put Wake and Jordan together on the field with DJ at SOLB to take advantage of his cover ability while keeping Odrick, Solia and Starks as the down 3 and for Gods sake is there an in-house riff we know nothing about??? Given Philbin's refusal to play the players acquired??

I wonder if Ireland gives Ross a reach around ?

Folks I love Bill Cowher but didn't we try this 2 times already since kicking Shula out the door. Didn't we try JJ and Parcells....2 guys who were enjoying the easy life out of everyday of the NFL?? How did that work out for us. Please no Cowher, Dungy or Gruden for me!!

I'd renew my season tickets if they got Cowher.

ok Bill...who would you hire after firing Philbin?

All Cowher wanted was GM/HC duties...I'm starting to think that may not be a bad idea.

nhfn ross wont fire his friend ireland, we are doomed for years

I agree with Bill...we need fresh blood, someone hungry to go through the everyday drudgery that is the life as an NFL coach. Cowher, JJ, Parcells, where finished then and they are just as content to sit on their arses and enjoy the life of leisure, The game has passed them by and God bless them for their contributions to the league when they were relevant and hungry.

Time to look for an up and coming fresh face, with fresh ideas, and that is in tune with what the league has morphed into today. No more coaches that have no experience and no more losers who couldn't win anywhere else. Tired of the "on the job training" as Bill put it so eloquently.

Cowher issued a statement claiming he would never coach a team with a gay logo.

wash which one is it then, u dont want guys who have been around before but u dont want guys with no exp? pick a side

Why do the Dolphins not reach back to our histry for our next GM??? We have NEVER taken care of our own. Could this be part of the reason that FA and coaches use us to get more money elsewhere???
How about Todd Bowles, Bryan Cox wow talk about firey personality, Mike Shula, Don Strock, Tony Nathan??
Some of these choices have direct connection to the Shula years.....I mean damn we gave Cam and Philbin a look???

cox as gm?? lol guy is dumb as a retarded rock

Bill, it's becuase we hve an owner that doesn't understand football. He is allowing people he thinks are good at managing a football team to make the decisions. He has no experience in football. He has a lot of money, but unfortunately that doesn't translate into successful franchises without knowing where to put that money.

This made me look deeper at our coaching staff.....therein lies our problem. Vanilla, stuck in their ways, no vision, no scheme, no adjustments, cannot take a lemon and make lemonade?? We are 3-4 because of our GM/Coaching not because of Tannehill.

Bill Arnsparger | October 29, 2013 at 05:37 PM


Something is rotten in Denmark with our Coach and his G.M It goes back to HARDKNOCKS last Season. You remember the private meeting they had were Ireland was telling Philbin to keep Clyde Gates to which he got the UHH HUHHHH from Philbin and he let Gates go the following day! Now Gates hasn't proven much of anything in N.Y. but has held his own with his speed when they go 3 Wide with S.Hill and Santonio!! Just one of many things I see and to make it all worse the team has a defeated attitude (on display last Sunday) when it went South on them because I don't believe they're buying what Philbin's selling. This team is dangerously close to packing it in on Philbin. If indeed this is the case then the team needs a H.C. who can work/develop his QB. Along with a DC whoase a better Poker player, IMO teams have figured out Coyle's tendencies as well with the use of certain formations up front he blitzes from.

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