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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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The fans here hate the team more than the Jets do. You are all free to choose a different team to root for.

Are the homers still crying eh?
they are always wrong about the Dollphins eh?
season after season eh?
Homers you are the problem, you must eradicate your clueless and useless selves eh?

Ty you clueless fool, we the true Phans choose to root for a winner eh?
jump homer jump, eh?you morons will never get it eh?

Ty, we have to assume that the DolFans that post here and spew hate and no solutions, are the uneducated section of all Fans and probably don't even have the $ to go to the Stadium. There are many well educated, wealthy Sports Fans in Miami, they just choose not to write in here.

Sherman has seriously got to go. I'm sick and tired of his horrible play calling. KEEP RUNNING THE BALL WHEN IT'S WORKING OR UNTIL THE OTHER TEAM'S D STOPS IT. It's common football sense for crying out loud. If this trend continues the play calling duties need to be reassigned or better yet, he needs to get axed to send a message. Someone in that organization needs to nut up and confront this incompetent man about this. FIRE SHERMAN.

Ape is more likely an ape than a fan.

Probably true enough Oscar.

Damn Oscar....now that was down right hurtful...lol

Canosa in Portuguese means toilet water eh?

Cry homers cry wàaaaaah waaaaaaaah eh?

The blame goes mainly to the inept coaching staff. If it's convenient you could also bring Ireland into the conversation. They make so many mistakes that the officials shouldn't come into the mix. We need a total change from top to bottom. Bring in a HC who can utilize the personnel that's available to him. Our OL can barely block much less zone block. Using a young player like Jordan for 18 snaps is a crime. On the one play that he dropped back in coverage he had a better chance to catch the ball then Gronkowski. Excellent coverage. Don't know a thing about our 2nd pick. Just because he isn't named to the games 46 player roster, with this coaching staff that doesn't mean a lack of talent. At the end of the season with two years left on their contracts I hope Ross sees that Philbin/Sherman hit the road. Rumor has it that Ireland was given on extention this summer leaving us with him another year at the minimum. Ross has painted himself, the 'Phins and us fans into a corner. When the empty seats outnumber the occupied ones maybe Ross will finally get it.

Yeah you tell em Eddie...to bad it is falling on deaf ears. Nice try though. :P

Not ready to lay the latest defeat completely on Sherman Mando.

Seems like there is plenty of blame to go around. I think every group played poorly in the 2nd half.

I also don't know why they even bothered to hold the dog and pony show with the receivers to replace Gibson. We all knew it would be someone from the practice squad.

I don't believe the right move would have been a major trade for a wr though. The right move would have been to have drafted a couple of wr's to develop. Something we haven't done the last 2 years. Aside from Matthews and Fuller in the 7th rd.

mando i totally agree with you the last 2 losses i blame the entire coaching staff the buffalo game they had 2 weeks to make a change in the ol and they didnt do anything the pats game they did abandon what worked for them for 2 qtrs and brady was on the sideline is sad but all that great start is gone . philbin needs to take charge also i had never been a game with so many bad calls and all aginst us and philbin not even argue man you need to show some fire football is an emotional game and that also include the head coach and assistant coaches not only the players

Philbin is this close to losing the locker room and you want him to take over the play calling...really???? He didn't call on play as an OC in Green Bay and no you want him to call plays here? Come on man I know you are smarter than that, now that idea is a real reach even for me.

and I quote "When he was hired to run the Dolphins, Joe Philbin had never called a play in his life. He had never made a personnel decision. He was not involved in drafts. He did not develop Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers. You have to question why on earth he was hired.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy saw Joe Philbin every single day. He had plenty of time to evaluate Joey and his skill set. After all that daily evaluation, he still never let Philbin call a single play.

When the head coach of a Super Bowl winning team thinks you're not good enough to be involved, that says something. There's a reason McCarthy did not give Philbin more power, and unfortunately, Dolfans are finding out the hard way."

That pretty much sums it up in a nut shell. Nope not going to happen.


Will Sherman continue doing the play calling?

If they are going to continue to run the same O then they need to start Moore or piss the rest o the season away!

Let's evaluate Oscars theory...

1 ticket = $50 and up
Price to tail gate = $100
$25 for parking pass
Bring kids - minimum $100
Heineken = $10 a beer
$325 and Phins lose...ill pass
Oscar, you sure make a lot of $$ painting toes at the mall

LMAO @ 9:28

Who is out? Sherman, Philbin, or Ireland? I think we start low, fire OC first and see if it makes a difference. Didn't the Ravens fire sCam Cameron halfway through the season, then end up winning the Superbowl?.. so fire Sherman and we are heading to NYC in February for the big game.

Quit taking sacks on 3rd down while in FG position,stop abandoning the run! Roll Tanneyhill out sitting duck is not his thing needs more time to develop pocket presence! Invent plays for Miller! Invent plays for Clay and Wallace! Lean on the D! Down the Kickoff take it on the 20! PLAY60!!!! Go JOE GO FINS!


If they are going to continue to run the same O then they need to start Moore or piss the rest o the season away!

Posted by: dolfand | October 29, 2013 at 09:27 PM

Moore is not stupid. He would kill himself first before he would get behind that line. Like the most of us on here said, leave THill in for the remainder of the season, if he gets hurt then oh well we can easily replace him with another high pick, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Sherman's last winning record in the NFL was 2004... almost 10 years ago... that's a whole generation ago as far as NFL evolution goes... he and his plans / schemes or lack thereof are irrelevant.
How about check downs to Miller?
And passion...where is THill's passion and fire? A leader gets pissed after losing one game. This guy after losing 4 straight was caught saying..."I don't notice the momentum change after Sturgis missed the kick." WHAT? Your teams allows 24 unanswered points, 10-14 of which are a result of your mistakes and you don't notice a change in momentum... Matty Ice has ice in his veins, always cool and collected, I say we start calling Tannehill "Iced T"... for the lack of fire and his frigidity when he loses or wins... flat liner THill!

Problem is, if we fire Sherman now, whoTH is going to call the plays? Armando perhaps?

Nope Oscar...I elect the friggen ball boy, he has more game experience than either one of the idiots calling the game now.

Get Chad Pennington back or maybe Marino can send in some ideas... there are so many good assistant coaches who would love the chance to take over an offense like Miami's.

Good idea jMat...I loved Pennington when he was here, too bad he couldn't stay healthy. He would be a welcome breath of fresh air, Marino on the other hand has a bone to pick with this organization and I am sure he would stomp Ireland's arse if given a chance.

Any ideas so we can salvage the rest of the Season?(please, no, fire everybody!)


There's only one explanation for Ireland still being employed, the Miami Dolphins are currently a real-life re-enactment of Major League.
Ross is in his box laughing as he finalizes his proposals to move the team to London, or LA.

The rumor is LA, perfect place for a dysfunctional organization to get a fresh start, but I doubt the league would go for it.

This OC seems to be doing the same as the last one,who was also clueless.

Hell just go out and dig up Dave Shula...he did wonders with Marino, Strock, and Woodley. Who knows, maybe he can fix this difunctional mess we call an offense.

Here's a potential problem: Pouncey. His legal situation is probably not serious, but what IF it is very serious? What if he was involved, knowingly, in an indirect way of aiding Hernandez commit a felony?

This would put Ireland and the Dolphins in a very serious situation. If Pouncey were to be charged with a felony in connection with a murder (even if it is 'just' a weapons change), then the Dolphins would have to decide whether or not to cut Pouncey on the spot.

This team got rid of Davis and Marshall as character concerns. A felony charge against Pouncey would be much, much worse. It would rip apart the Dolphins' OL and put Ireland in a position of having wasted yet another premium draft pick.

None of this will probably happen. But Pouncey's legal issues could easily be the straw that breaks the Dolphins' back for the 2013 season.

Yeah did you see how pissed Philbin was getting when pressed about the situation about Pouncey?? That spoke volumes....I am thinking that our problems will get much, much worse this season. If he leaves we are finished.

Our quarterback is a wide receiver.

What further explanation is needed?

Any ideas so we can salvage the rest of the Season?(please, no, fire everybody!)

Oscar, a good question.

Any firings will probably happen after the season unless something goes epically wrong.

In my opinion, to salvage the season the Dolphins must go back to basics. On offense, they must rely on the run and the sneaky big play. Tannehill needs to be protected, perhaps by using two or three TE sets. The three WR left on the roster all have good speed; it should be used carefully to hit plays for TDs. In short, the offense should be conservative most of the time to limit turnovers and give Tannehill a break while also using deception to break one or two big plays a game.

On defense, the scheme should simply be whatever works. The Dolphins should be able to stop the run at will with the DL they field. They should also be able to put tremendous pressure on the QB. On paper, the defense should be top five. They need to earn their money and start winning games.

I also believe the rookies should play a part. They need to develop and careful playing opportunities should allow that while limiting the mistakes due to inexperience.

The offense needs to stop being such a liability. The defense needs to play up o its potential. Conservative play with careful (but bold) shots at big plays.

What changes would you make to salvage the season?

What happen when the head coach over rules the OC play calling? That goes to show you the Philbin the clown is not HC matieral, that's why is time to clean house next year including that garbage of a GM! And not let this us fans suffer another 5 years of crappy football with crappy players and draft picks!

Sigh...I agree....we see it, but what about the three amigos, Ireland, Philbin, and Sherman ? I have heard enough about what needs to be changed, but it seems that the three stooges are going to continue with the status quo for the remainder of the season. They are going continue to force their schemes on a squad who do not have the talent or physical ability to make them work. We have talent, but it is being misused to the 10th power.

I'd say get a clue guys and play up to your teams strengths and stop trying to force them to continually be forced into unwinnable situations. Run the damn ball, on first, and second down until they stop you, then run it down their throats on third down just for good measure.

The defense feeds off of the success of the offense, it worked when I was balling and it still applies today. If you stink on offense you eventually piss off the defense or wear them completely out by the third quarter and again now you have a pissed off, tired defense. Game over....


I totally agree with you.

We'll see what happens going forward if the changes are actually made to play to the players' strengths.

and another thing to add to my rant. This team has not had any balance since the 70's. The offense compliments the defense and visa versa, but for some reason we always seem to field bad offenses and great defenses or visa versa. No balance again this season and for the most part last season as well. It seems to me that it doesn't matter who is running the show down there. This team has not had any balance since Shula and Arnsparger roamed the sideline.


Philbin was the only one that fit Ireland's mold and who was dumb enough to accept the invitation, considering no one else who was worth a damn would even consider working under Jeff. Hell Marino bailed less than a week after joining the organization. Think about it, Philbin was easily manipulated because he has 0 coaching experience. He brings in Sherman who's days have been way behind him years before he stepped on our turf, then Sherman brings in his son in law to coach the QB's and bingo you have a mess, totally and completely. We ended up with a totally dysfunctional coaching staff because we have a totally dysfunctional GM running the circus.

This house needs to be cleaned and the sooner the better and it starts with the head of the household who has been a total failure and is only using his boss to make a living off of. He could care a rat's arse about us or the team at all, period.

Say goodnight Alice

The defense fell apart in the second half as well. As I have asked repeatedly, where is the elite defense?

Goodnight to our season

Our defense fell apart because they were continually put in to bad situations, bad field position, either by bad offensive play or a yellow hankie that was conveniently dropped to keep the Pats in the game. Does not matter how it happened, it did. The defense was gassed, players were getting hurt and scrubs were giving up TD's. Simple logic actually. No offense = tired defense, tired defense = game over.

They don't need a house cleaning. That's idiocy to start over and rebuild again and again. They need to look at the Oline coach Turner and Sherman. They need to told simply they are not getting the job done. Ireland did nothing wrong now he didn't do when they were 3-0 and Philbin can't coach and be the O coordinator. So those are horrible ideas.


No, the defense fell apart after Nolan Carroll gave up the cheap td on the suckers-r-us double move. After that the refs decided they would help lose the game for us too.

Sherman frustrates me so much. He is determine to try and make Ryan Tannehill the next Marino or Favre by always passing the ball when the run game is working. Example: Dolphins were up 17 to 3 at the Patriots 27 yard line with a third down and 2. What does he do? Pass the ball, we get sacked for the first time in game lose 10 yards and turn a short field attempt into a 46 yarder which we miss. Which gave the Patriots hope and all of the momentum at that point. Sherman will not stick with run even when it is working.................. I hate his play calling!!!!

Beginning to seem like a conspiracy to keep our Dolphins from being a winning team again.

The owner, gm, coaches, and players are all in on it too.

This mess is completely on the shoulders of Ireland. He hired a coach who had zero experience and wasn't trusted by his former boss to do squat, so he earns a chance to run our team ?? He hired an OC who hasn't won anything significant in 10 years and who was fired for exactly the reasons he needs to be fired for now,by not one, but two organizations. The DC is either clueless or just isn't getting the talent he needs to run his scheme, stupid idea to move from a 3-4 to a 4-3. You have a quarterback's coach who has no coaching experience and happens to be the son-in-law of the OC. The offensive line coach needs to be hung by his buster browns for even fielding a train wreck every Sunday that will end up getting your franchise quarterback killed who happens to be a converted wide receiver with less than a full season worth of repps???

What more proof do you need to see this isn't going to work now, or next season?

What gives ? Am I the only one that sees this or am I just not getting it here?

The Heat burns the Bulls. There is one championship caliber team still in Miami.

Let's Go Heat!


There were more Miami fans at the Heat game tonight than will be at Joe Robbie to see the Dolphins for the rest of the year.

Lets Go Heat!

I love that Pouncey got served with a subpoena and in a public forum. He's a douchebag for wearing the FREE HERNANDEZ hat and as such he deserved his disgrace. Grand Philby didn't like Davis, Marshall or Bush huh ? Were they investigated for being involved with federal crimes ? Chad Johnson smacking his gold digger wife pales in comparison. I hope the Pouncey situation blows up in Lil Jeffy's face. Same as hope and glory boy has failed to deliver. Same as the new logo has failed to signify a new era. Gibson placed on IR lol. It just keeps getting worse for this franchise...yet to some degree luck can be made, good or bad...Ross and co. have brought bad luck on themselves.

No one will be at Thursday night's game but the vendors and clean up crew. They'll be sent home by the end of the 1st qtr because there are no fans to serve or clean up after.

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