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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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Could have been worse, at least Pouncey wasn't wearing a "FREE CHARLIE MANSON" t-shirt.

Btw, hope and glory boy = Tannereach.

Pouncey was a reach too...C in the 1st round = Pounceyreach.

Make Obama-care free!

lol...@ Sam Yeah I am afraid you are right about that. There will be more crickets in attendance than fans. Oh, wait, there will be just enough seats sold to the opposition's fans to pay the bills for one more week. I hope the players get real angry, but I doubt they will. This team has quit on this staff.

In all seriousness, one of the reasons Ireland drafted Tannebust is because they're both Texas boys. Ireland drafted Clyde Gates because Gates went to college in his hometown. Ireland is stupid, he lets the most insignificant factors cloud his judgement. What does it say about Ross that he doesn't understand as much ?

FREE CHARLIE MANSON..................................
......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................then sed him to Hell!

Yes, There are fans. Then there 3 kinds of pathetic losers on here. The cancer of this blog.
1. the have been fans.
2. the never been fans who are in likely fans of other teams that call it fun to be in here and troll.
3. vile trolls that spew senseless negativity and think they know it all. See Fire Ross, Home and Ape Tamer.

Why do so many delusional fans think that this franchise will ever be relevant again?

You do know the truth will set you free, right?

There is a 50/50 chance we could become relevant again within the next 100yrs. I'll give you guys that.

Well, I made what I thought was a winning observation for the majority of bloggers here. It did not post, which for me is an ongoing tech issue on this site. Basically, I said we (the blogger fans) have been bitching about Sherman's play-calling for weeks. I bet Sherman does not read this blog, but Mando does. Mando's worth is gauged on blog hits. Well, our bitching worked because here is a front-page article stating the exact things about Mr. Magoo ( Henning, er...I mean Sherman) we all have been posting. By proxy, our voice is being heard. By that I mean you can bet Mando's article has been perused by Dolphins staff. Remember, a few days ago Mando was approached to interview Philbin. Now this article. Let's see if thar goof SOB Sherman doesn't mix things up tnis Thursday night. I fu.king guarantee you he does because he has been called out on an erroneous game planming philosophy. He can't hide now. The reporters are going to drill him his 1st time up, so let's see if he has ears!

There goes IDIOT Sam spewing his anti Dolphin rant....he is no fan of this great franchise. He is Ape Tamer, Home, Fire Ross.....and all the other Daytona names. Really need to get professional help dude wasting all this time on a blog of a team you hate.....obsessed much???
I live in NYC punk. Meet me, Im 53 and I will show you an A SS whopping like you never seen boy!!

Or Better yet don't leave Daytona loser. I will be in Daytona end of Nov....meet me at Boot Hill Saloon or Dirty Harry's Pub......we will show ya a real good time. Bring your health insurance ID you will need it. Your a tough guy on an anonymous blog huh.....PUNK!!

Great Insight Armando... unless the Dolphin coaching staff balances the offense keeping Tannehill off his back they're in danger of turning him into the next David Carr.

Coaches can ruin a good talent by putting them in bad situations and destroying confidence.

The first half of the NE game was the blueprint for Dolphin success. Balanced offense, no turnovers, a rested dominating defense.

I'm not sure there's enough games this year to turn it back around.. they probably need to go 7-2 the rest of the season to make the playoffs.

Bill Who?

New blog post up....BTW Daytona don't bother going there...get a friggin life bro....allday everyday geez. PUNK

This coaching staff does exactly the opposite of what works. They are stubborn and closed minded. You don't win in this league without playing to your team's strengths on both sides of the ball. One hand washes the other in this game and you can't come out clean if you are constantly shyting on yourself by trying to force schemes that don't fit your personnel group.

This team is a total train wreck six games into the second year of a regime that is not willing to do what it takes to win. No flexibility what so ever. They actually have themselves convinced that the team is not as bad as everyone else perceives it to be. This is the attitude of losers not innovators. Time to move on to the next episode, because this show stinks.

Philbin and Sherman have no idea what they talk about. They're completely lost.
Both try to justify themselves every game. The truth, i.e., what we see in each game, is a lack of game plan, period. It seems that what we saw the first half of last game was rather a fluke than a reality. The team is soft and shows no ethos. Specially our 60 million dollar man.
What else can we say that we havent said already ?
The Dolphins will finish no betterr than 8-8. I'd say rather 6-10 or 7-9. Then we'll wait and pray for a better draft, then more promises, then another season, and then again a disapointment. This endless story will continue as far as Ireland is the captain of this sinking ship.

The problem was before the field goal miss. We are on the pats 20 somthing yard. With 2nd & 2 Sherman call shoot gun, why when the running game was working, pass incomplete ok 3rd & 2 and the same play turns In a sack and a miss fieldgoal. The only person that call that stupid plays os Sherman again

Mando great article, getting old watching this nightmare continue...what happen to the hurry up offense? During training all we heard about was how many plays the Fins ran during practice, what happen to that offense? During the Pat game Tannehill wasted to much time at the line calling a play. Can this guy read defenses or can he make throws down the field? Two passes during the last game, he got Gibson hurt with an overthrown pass and almost got Wallace hurt with a pass behind him, did we expect him to catch that pass? Finally, we need some changes on the coaching staff, wide receiver coach and offense line coach, please send them back to college with the guy that recommended them Mike Sherman...AZ fan.

I know for sure the OC is struggling to get into the game flow. However our QB is a culprit as well; he simply isn't getting the ball out. On the play to Gibson where he was hurt for the year, that was on the QB, as the pass put him in that position. there was a big window out in front of Gibson to get him the ball. I think he would agree!..As for the person who says that because you never coached a team you don't have a right to give an opinion. Well, that just bull!!! Fans have a lot of time and money invested in their favorite team. These players and coaches make millions and for that should be held accountable. The issue is this team has been irrelevant for so long, that it's extremely frustrating!!!

I think a change in OC would be appropriate. The Ravens did it last year with very good results. They had a team that was put together in a much better way but we do have pieces that could produce a competent offensive team. I really don't want to start all over again with a new coaching staff but if that what happens as a result of a new General Manager being hired I will support it 100%.

The Pats showed the NFL how to slow down and then completely shut down this offense. Blitz, blitz and blitz some more. Its clear this scheme is not working for this OLINE when it comes to pass plays. Its so clear that THILL is going to end up in traction and on the IR before the first 2/3's of the season is over.

I know Philbin is fiercly loyal to Sherman given their history together. But it will be Philbin's job on the line come the end of the season. He is suposedlly an offensive coaching mind himself. He better get himself inserted full time into the play calling or he can forget seeing season three with the Fins.

Miami has the worst offensive and defensive coordinators in the league, where most coaches make adjustments for the better they don't . Let's face it the offensive line is the worst in the league , defense coach in 3 and long always rushes 3 and the other team gets the first down . Head coach isn't aggressive enough!! It's the same old dolphins , they can only play parts of a game not 60 mins . Mike Wallace doesn't make big plays he drops at 3 balls a game .. The coaching staff is wasting our time , change needs to happen !!

We held Brady to 100 yards passing and still lost.



i say fire philbin and sherman right now , those two are stubborn and and have cost us games. never did like sherman know wonder gb and texas got rid of him. plus ross the owner he is the worst, he should sell the team, he thinks ireland is god, ireland is dumb and incompetent.all he cares about is the money,well when the fans stop coming itmmay knox some sense in to ross head.dan marino needs to come back as general manager or quaterback coach,our whole coaching staff needs to be fired.

Dolphin D is always very good until they have to be. Then they give up the winning drive. Or the play that changes the momentum, like Ridley's long run after the missed FG. I can sympathize with them. The Offense led by QB Ryan Turnover goes 3 and out A LOT. The Offense gets 8 or 9 yards on 1st Down, still goes 3 and Out. But when the game is on the line the Dolphin D lets the opposition drive right down the field to score a FG or TD, whatever they need. Kevin friggin Kolb engineered a last minute drive to beat them last Season. How bad is that?

And, for the record, if the Offensive Line was going to be this bad, somebody should've noticed, somebody should've said something.

Do these guys ever WATCH football? I see no evidence. They show shots of Jeff Ireland and Stephen Ross up in the luxury box. There's a TV right in front of them. I always thought there must be a football game on this TV. Now I'm starting to think they're watching the Roadrunner.


Dear Depressed:

What makes you think the fans are coming now? Watching Home Games, check out all the empty seats in the lower level. Miami needs to start marketing to masochists and manic depressives -- i.e. their target demographics

In my opinion, the last good Offensive Coordinator for the Dolphins was Chan Gailey. I think that coincides with the team's last playoff win.

The bottom line is this. This team spent a bunch of money in the off season and they are worse this year than last. But there will not be any real changes until this team gets a owner that understands football and I don't ever see that happening, sooooo sad

Fire Sherman enough said horrible play calling!

Hey Misi and Odrick are good players don't hate on them. However it is the inneptitude of our coaching staff and not recognizing good talent and being to power hungry to allow them to be leaders in the locker room which hurt initially(Bush,Dansby,Sean Smith,Vontae Davis,Jake Long,)etc. We still have good talent but its the inability to utilize it properly is whats hurting this coaching staff. Why is Thigpen not in the game very often(playmaker)? Why isn't Wallace used in slot very often and used on very few reverses?
Why did tit take so long to understand that run balance was a serious need for our team? Wasn't it addressed in trainng camp? To many questions and not enough time . Coaching grade=F GM=D

THE COACHES FOR THIS TEAM ARE BEHIND THE TIMES and STUBBORN from arrogance....this is why they get outcoached and outsmarted EACH GAME.
They have DATED PHILOSOPHY and unable to adjust. the players suffer.
and their arrogance is annoying (not media or fan friendly, trying to make a receiver a QB)

But blame a GM who once again shows incompetence when it comes to personnel decisions (hiring an asst coach as HC, letting important players leave WITHOUT replacing - j.long/r.bush )

But blame EVEN MORE an out of town owner who has no clue about football business...

What happened to just lining up and smacking the other team in the mouth. Ireland has to take some responsibility on this. If you have a solid O-line Armando could run through the holes. In the end the pressure needs to be taken off of Tannehill. He's not ready to put the game on his back. Especially when they are sending pressure all day long....

Guys I don't care who your QB is if he is sacked that many times he going to make mistakes. Try getting smacked by a 300 pound plus lineman every week and see how you respond. The lack of protection for Tannehill is unacceptable. Just look at Tom Brady when he is pressured he makes the same type of mistakes. Anyone remember the Super Bowl's when they played the Giants?

Philbin & company have this Thursday game to turn around the season - if the Dolphins finish at 8-8 or worse Ross better fire Ireland immediately and hire a respectable GM - let the GM decide on keeping Philbin - but Sherman needs to go!!

As in all forms of business, leadership positions are hired to lead. sherman has been hired to lead/coach the offense. coach Philbin has aloud him to lead. You allow an individual to lead until they've proven that they are inaffective, and do not possess the appropriate tools to move an organization or team forward. sherman is at the point where his leadership strategies have, not only kept the organization from moving forward, but have at the same time hurt the organization. The fan base's faith in the organization is at an all time low(at least from my perspective).
I believe that the players are in place to make this team above average. There are some pieces missing.
Tannehill has potential. We have seen that. The responsibility of the OC is to put the players in the best position to be successful. A constant NFL matra is that when you have a young, inexperienced QB, you run the ball, play action pass, screens, short 3 step drops and get rid of the ball, slant patterns, roll out of the pocket to keep the defense off gaurd. The pocket is not Tannehill's friend. He has of yet developed the pocket presence to know when to step up, or to scramble. I am not a coach...... but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night.

It's amazing isn't it? Once again the Sherman led offense snatches defeat out of the jaws of victory. The first half was about as picture perfect as it gets. The run was working and because Sherman is an arrogant man....the results speak for themselves.

Mando, huh? This needed an edit. babble
Just go back to the pass against the Bills. and just talk about the sacks in the NE game
Runs, Passes so what. Some short passes can look like runs and some runs set up passes the problem is the QB not having the smarts to check out of bad plays fast enough or just plain getting rid of the ball fast enough.
Example, Your a QB and your winning 17-3 with the ball in the 2nd half. The play called is a pass. You see 8 ppl in the box and the two safeties are 8 ydrs from you. DONT try to hit the hot route. Check to a run up the middle hand it off and play the next play.
Tanny is forcing it. Dont know why but it seems to be smarts.
ON another note. Here is an idea. Do a comparison of what Tanny does on the sideline between possessions and then go look at what Peyton Manning is doing.
Tanny needs to be going to school in between Possessions not looking quizzically at the scoreboard sitting all by himself

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