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Dolphins need better play late in games to win

Through six games this seasons the Dolphins have had one easy win (Cleveland) one blowout loss (New Orleans) and four games that have been decided late and have required a certain amount of heroics to win.

Twice the Dolphins delivered on the heroics -- against Indianapolis and Atlanta.

Twice the Dolphins failed to deliver -- against Baltimore and Buffalo.

The Dolphins got heroics from different units in their victories. The Miami defense delivered a late-game stop to beat the Colts while the offense came up with a late-game TD drive that beat the Falcons.

Against Baltimore both the offense and defense failed to respond late as the defense gave up a last-minute FG and the offense couldn't come up with any points, instead wilting under a barrage of sacks from Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil.

Last week was more of the same as both units failed. The offense turned the ball over on a strip sack that led to the game winning field goal. And the defense not only couldn't force a long FG attempt but actually allowed the Bills to advance 21 yards on seven running plays that took 2:15 off the clock.

The good news? The Dolphins can sometimes pull out games with the heroics.

The bad news? The Dolphins are one of those teams that usually have to go to crunch time to decide a game and sometimes they'll succeed and sometimes they won't. It's a recipe for a .500 season.

"In the NFL you win close games and you lose close games," said CBS Sports analyst Phil Simms, who will be calling the Dolphins game at New England on Sunday. " t comes down to the last couple of minutes with who makes the plays to win. Most teams are in that boat. Miami is one of those teams.

"They have a lot of good players. But no matter how they play, it’s still going to come down to the last couple minutes just about every single week. So what side of the ball does it for you? Their offense could have run the clock out [against Buffalo], but that’s a little unrealistic.  he defense had a chance if they could have stopped Buffalo and not given them the field goal chance.

"They would have won. So, one side of your football team really has to dominate in those special situations.  And those special situations in the NFL are the last two or three minutes."

I share this because I believe Sunday's game might come down to the final couple of minutes. The Patriots, after all, are not exactly looking like a world-beating bunch, what with all their injuries and their two losses in the last three outings.

Yes, the Pats have dominated in Foxboro for a decade. They haven't lost an October game there dating back to 2005 and are 21-1 at the venue in October going back to 2003.

But something is different about this New England team. And this Dolphins team is as talented as we've seen in a while, despite its recent troubles. This Miami team matches up well against the Pats along the lines of scrimmage.

So it would be no surprise if this one comes down to the final minutes.

And if the Dolphins hope to win, someone is going to have to deliver bigtime in crunch time. Someone is going to have to help Miami finish.

Whatever happens, this much seems certain: The Dolphins are going to be involved in quite a few more close games decided in the final minute this season. They have to figure out a way to do better than .500 in those.


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No offense to anyone, but whats so hard to understand? Whats the big mystery and all the crazy talk?

If I'm a Head Coach, all I have to do is watch a few minutes of tape on the Dolphins and I got them beat. It has nothing to do with Tannehill, the backs, receivers or the Defense.

The O-Line can't run block, so as a Head Coach, I ALREADY know they're one-dimensional. No mystery, no rocket science. I just watch a few more minutes of the tape and I see they can't pass block ANYWHERE consistently. The worst of it being on the Tackles outside, specifically Clabo. Whom of course I target all game long.

It doesn't take a genius. I stack the box and blitz the Fvck out of them from the start.

That last desperation attempt at the Hail Mary was ridiculous BTW. 3 D-Lineman beat the shyt out of 6 of our so called blockers. It was pathetic, all 3 of those D-Lineman had shots on Tannehill. I mean, I expected Martin and Clabo to get beaten as usual, BUT WHAT THE FVCK WAS OUR HERO Mike POUNCEY DOING? Pouncey, Cogs and Fats Jerry couldn't figure out how to stop somebody? Anybody?

I know it sucks to lose, especially after a 3-0 start. But all this talk about Philbin, Sherman(OK, he's be iffy, but my points still valid)and Coyle is ridiculous. It's just as idiotic as the Tannehill, Lamar Miller talk.

Rebuilding sucks even more, but that's what Philbin's been doing. This is the 2nd year of his rebuild. The fact is, we're one more off season away from being a solid powerhouse. The off season will be about getting one or two established starters on the O-Line from Free Agency. Then we'll target another couple of O-Lineman in the first two or first three rounds.

It sucks because it going to take the third season to get it all straight and ready to Kill. Especially after getting a little "PEEK/TEASER" with the 3-0 start. But it's all coming together. Philbin's building a Monster and he's just about there!

1.st of akl this franchise's defense hasn't made a big stop since 1974 in the C.Davis catch in Oakland. Before that game tbis franchise's defense made tbe big stops. Marino greatness for 16 1/2 was the only reason why this sorry a** franchise was even relevant. Where has this franchise been since nowhere a laughing stock and a punchline nationally. The stadium is either half empty of has the visiting team fans celebrating more than the home team after victories most of the time. Poor drafting bad personal decisions money poorly spent bad coaches&gm hires have destroyed this franchise PERIOD !!

Good article Armando and so true, it is frustrating as a fan, we want to see a playoff season but it is looking like more of the same . The thing is he division is up for grabs if we could just get our act together and play consistent football we would win these games.They cannot put Clabo out there this week under any circumstances.Get Thigpen involved in the screen game he is a dangerous weapon with the ball in his hands just saying maybe try something different.

just curious, it just occured to me that miami NOW have BOTH tackles from last years superbowl winning baltimore ravens team, who could've envisioned that! it seems the only thing missing from this formual is the superthreat runninback. i sure hope lamar miller can improve upon the effortive style he displayed against buffalo, certainly to regress back into the effortless play prior to said buffalo game is not an option. just as well, we know there will be one of those juggling catches initially ruled as a catch that the refs will try to review, is tannehill ready to elude that scenario(like brady or luck) by getting the ball snapped in a hurry? can we finally mark that play(on our checklist) as a winning play. has tannehill finally come to the realization that he is going to get sacked, and did he prepare for such an instance, does he have a better plan on how to secure the football for that unavoidable occurance? this sounds as if i'm trying to be a jerk, when in fact i'm not, all along all you hear from every player is "we have to get better", well tannehill's technique of securing the ball IS(so far) his biggest flaw, and thus should be his top priority on his checklist. just got to say, what a difference in the defense when patterson is in at cornerback, it looked like a well oiled machine against buffalo, can't wait for ellerbe to get back. go fins!

When it comes to acquiring talent, Ireland doesn't know wether to take a crap or wind his watch. As for Lurch from the Adam's family. Oh yeah. I meant Pilbin. He and his coaching staff are completely attrocious.

Recommendation: Hire Mike Mayock as GM and possibly Mike Shula as HC.

Oh Phinster.... Baby.........

Right on babyface, this coaching staff truly blows !! The owner blows and the gm well this a** clown has proven over&over again, that he doesn't know talent if it stood right in front of him. He treats real talent like garbage, the coach thinks he knows everything but in G.Bay he never was given permission to call plays. This a** clown of a gm wasted $200mil for garbage, only the biggest joke running in the NF L THE MIAMI DOLPHINS continues the funniest sitcom 40.yrs and counting on television a true American tradition of buffoonery you can't make this stuff up folks !!

I'm feeling all depressed and this maceguy comes now and reminds me of what I call The Play that started the downfall of the Miami Dolphins. What to do? Don't know yet.

In 3 years many of Us here might not be alive, odin. I'm not even asking for another SB just for a consistently good Team.

What Phil Simms is describing there, Armando, is an inconsistent Team. We might turn around and beat NE handily on Sunday. Nice. But who can live with such uncertainty? Inconsistency is the hallmark of Mediocrity.

ugggh.....that Davis play not only broke my heart, it got me a good wuppin'. I ran out of the room and kicked a hole in my door. My dad was not too happy! That was back in the day when you could beat your kids with impunity.

Youse a competitor, Dave. Youse a winner.

I can't believe people are even entertaining the thought that Miami will beat NE, in NE, this Sunday. The Dolphins would lose if NE didn't even play the game, because they are perfectly capable of beating themselves.

Mo coincidence that That Play came after the departure of Csonka, Warfield and Kiick.

@ Oscar - At leaast some of us on here actually got to see the Dolphins as Champions. I can understand the frustration of many, having watched Marino and company be frustratingly good, but never over the top.

My poor son can't remember the Dolphins EVER being good, but he still loves them like I do. Oh well, at least he never has to worry about a "wuppin'"!

In 3 years many of Us here might not be alive, odin. I'm not even asking for another SB just for a consistently good Team.
Posted by: oscar canosa | October 25, 2013 at 07:57 AM

Well said Oscar. We are all just tired of waiting. I think some fans have actually come to enjoy the off season more the "on" season.

There's already folks on here talking about next years draft. We need don't need to let them off the hook about this year. Whats going to make next year any different?? It will stil be the same people drafting, making personnel decisions, coaching etc.

Championship Teams take a combination of special Players and special Coaches, a la Miami Heat now. Will the Dolphins and Marlins have that combination in the Future? Perhaps, who's to say?

The NFL, by design, has become a league of mediocrity and we are firmly entrenched in the middle to back of that pack.

Offense, defense, special teams, all aspects of this team scream MEDIOCRITY!

Someone show me one statistic where we are in the top 5 of anything?


QB, RB, WR, TE .... not one of our skill players is even close to the top of the list.

DE, LB, CB, SS.... again, not close anywhere for sacks or INT's. (Dansby is #9...HA)

K, Punting - Carpenter is #9, Sturgis is #31

Thigpen is #8 in return yards and the HIGHEST ranked Fins player I could find on any list.

Don't want to be debbie downer today, but man oh man alive, we don't have on STAR on our team anymore.

Wake is average this year and don't even get me started on drafting Jordan at #3...his name is never called on any big plays...(only one was the pick 6 he forced Matt Ryan to throw)

In summary: we have no stars on our team and that falls firmly on our beloved GM Jeff Ireland

Mike and mike are talking about which teams believe they are set at qb. The dolphins are NOT one of them.

I was just reading Barry Jackson's latest entry in his sports buzz column. I'm not sure how long it's been posted but he said the Dolphins were one of the teams inquiring about DT Jay Ratliff of the Cowboys.

Go figure a Cowboy (wouldn't that be different). He mentioned how Soliai and Starks weren't under contract after this season and Soliai in August had turned down what was the Dolphins "take or leave it offer".

The to me this is in a nutshell one of the problems with this franchise.

Already gearing up to replace one our best players with a broken down DT that Dallas is done with.

odinseye I agree with the sense that football is a game that is relatively simple on paper not the rocket science some coordinators want the public to believe it is.Bottom line to win in the NFL the league where ALL the players have gone through qualifying in High School,College some even playing in other leagues like the Canadian League before arriving in the NFL,ITS ALL ABOUT EXECUTION.I dont care how complex a system is if the players cant execute the plan physically then it WONT WORK.

odinseye I agree with the sense that football is a game that is relatively simple on paper not the rocket science some coordinators want the public to believe it is.Bottom line to win in the NFL the league where ALL the players have gone through qualifying in High School,College some even playing in other leagues like the Canadian League before arriving in the NFL,ITS ALL ABOUT EXECUTION.I dont care how complex a system is if the players cant execute the plan physically then it WONT WORK.

Hold up guys, odinseye makes a valid point in his summation. This team is just another draft away from being relevant. Not three more years, not even two, just one more draft. Ireland is for the most part a pretty decent GM when it comes to numbers, maybe not so much in evaluating talent, and certainly takes risks ala the OL this last off season, but I do believe this next draft has some pretty decent OL prospects in the later rounds.

If and I mean if he can muster up some brilliance in this next draft and FA session he may be able to plug in some pretty decent talent on the OL, maybe even pick up a decent TE too boot.

I had no visions of grandeur after our 3-0 start as many of you didn't as well. The problems we are facing now showed up way before the last three loses. The OL was having trouble from game one, but the defense held it's own through those first three games. When guys started dropping on defense things got pretty dicey and the offense was exposed, forcing the group to play catchup which this offense was not designed to do. THill had his throwing arm hit in the Falcons game and he hasn't be accurate since which explains the issues he is having at present.

I still believe THill should be sat and Moore should be playing, should have been since last season, but I can't have everything now can I ? I still believe in this team and this QB, but I don't think it is going to happen this year with all of the issues we are having in protection and run blocking. Play calling is suspect at times as well and that just magnifies the issues even further.

I am willing to wait till all of the pieces are in place before I pass judgement completely on the staff and the front office. One more draft should do it. If we don't show marked improvement as a team next year then I do believe it will never happen under this regime. Sucks to say that, but I can see the writing on the wall, it all started when we started an inexperienced rookie one season too soon and failed to address the OL in the draft. Hopefully we can overcome these misgivings this offseason, if not then we are looking at a hole new crew starting in 2015.

Cry me a river. Look we all know what it is like being a Dolphins fan so why are we even talking about it. Every Sunday has been and always will be a crap shoot as to who will win. Ride the wave or lay on the beach. GO PHINS!!!!!

Odin, the Dolphins can run the ball. Miller is averaging 4.3 yds/carry. Sherman just sucks at his job. And I have lost confidence in Ireland and Philbin. I predict Tannehill will be on IR as of Monday a.m.

Phil Simms just about nailed it. The problem with the Dolphins is they don't ahve a unit to lean on. The offense is average, the defense is average. Thing is, average for the offense is an improvement, average for the defense is a lateral move to last year and considering they got a lot of free agent dollars and the top two picks in the draft, that is a true disappointment.

So people can point fingers at the Qb all day long but personnel wise, the disappointment is the defense. have a hand in determining the victory like you did against Indy (Grimes INT and Wheeler sack). Unfortunately we haven't seen that game defining moment for a long time from that unit.

How does Jeff Fischer look now?

Agreed Mark, the defense has regressed quite noticeably since last season. Not really sure why, but it is noticeable. What do you think the issue is?

NHFINSFAN, Jordan forced two INTS this year and beat Joe Thomas on a sack. Considering how little he's played, I think he's shown impact. now for some reason the defensive coach thinks he should play less than Derrick Shelby.... I don't know what to sya about that....

Tanne tends to make a fool out of himself whenever he plays on nat'l tv.

At the first turnover Simms is going to recommend that he be benched and the nat'l media will be all over that by Sunday night.

The Atl game was the high water mark of Tanne's career.

WPF, the main problem with this defense is they definitely just play too soft. Two soft considering you have two DT pass rushing forces in Odrick and Starks. Too soft considering you have Wake, Jordan, and Vernon (quietly on pace for 11 sacks this year), who are dangerous pass rushers. Too soft considering you have a lockdown CB.

They play too much stupid man schemes which all it looks good for is creating mismatches for the oppositiion.

And more true than anything, minimal turnovers created.

I simply point at Seattle. They have a turnover amchine at Qb who only passes like 27 times a game but they are still near the top in turnover ratio. That is what an elite defense does ... create turnovers.

This scheme just sucks. Yeah, let's emulate the perpetually bad Bengals defense. Great idea.

LOL @ ETF...THill hasn't had a defining moment since he started, he has been too busy running for his life or getting planted to have any type of defining moment. Lets be real.

Not so special Players are selected by not so special GMs.

Whenever NFL Network scrolls its list of Top 5 players in the NFL, ever notice not one Dolphin is on it?
It's all about talent. The Pats are definitely not as good as last year, but their coaching staff is exactly the same. The only difference is the talent they are putting on the field. I've also seen Bellicheat make the stupidest decisions during football games, yet they still win. Why? It was the talent.
Until the Phins get the talent good enough to win, they won't. No matter who the coaches are. Any moron GM can sign a free agent, it takes true talent evaluation genius to draft well consistently.

Thanks Mark.....point taken and I agree.

Posted by: WashPhinFan | October 25, 2013 at 09:16 AM

My guess would be that Mike Nolan did a better job than Coyle is doing thus far. And of course he changed the scheme as well, and this year we had almost a complete change in the linebacking corps...aside from Misi.

"Two soft considering you have two DT pass rushing forces in Odrick and Starks. Too soft considering you have Wake, Jordan, and Vernon"
You've pointed out a major issue on this team - 5 pretty good players for only 4 spots. One or more of them has to sit on the bench for major portions of the game. Meanwhile, other positions on the team have a major lack of talent. It's like having 3 awesome motorcycles and no all wheel drive vehicles... during a major snowstorm.

Dolfan Rick...I do believe the switch from a 3/4 to a 4/3 has allot to do with it as well. I believe with the personnel we current have we are better suited for a 3/4 front. I don't see much pressure coming from the 4/3 and Jordan needs to be playing on every down.

Posted by: WashPhinFan | October 25, 2013 at 09:34 AM

Well we haven't had Wake yet for most of the season and Soliai was out a few games. Couple that with starting Odrick over Starks to make a statement and it doesn't make for alot of consistency up front.

I't seems like the undrafted free agent Shelby is on the field almost every down.

I see a few reasons for the defense's decline this year:
Except for Grimes replacing Smith, same secondary as last year.
Phillip Wheeler's weakness in run defense and coverage. His signing surprised me.
We have 3 very good DTs yet they all rotate. Sure, let's have your best talent on the bench.
Misassesment of Reshad Jones' play. He disappeared the latter part of last year, and has been a liability this year. Lack of safety talent.
No RDE who can set the edge.
Jordan should be starting, not playing only 1/3 of the defensive snaps.

How many defensive players on this team are asked to play out of position? Playing in a position other than the one they've played for the majority of their career, both college and pro. Almost the entire DL and LB corp! I repeat, "It's the coaching, stupid!" Lol

So you don't think the scheme is the problem? Just the lineup? Hmmm....I am going to have to chew on that thought for a minute.

Should be playing 3-4 with this personnel group.

Little Mike of Mike and Mike......belives that NE is about to open a can on us....

he predicts 2 a TD win for NE in the lead pipe locks.....He is a jets fan....

eff him...

I hat NE and the Jets, and love my Phins, but I think Little Mike is correct, Kris.


He (little Mike) already has the Panthers beating us....


Kris I agrre with you on the eff him part but........I posted worriedly that the Swami Chris Berman picked the Bills to win last week and...he was right.

I'm not sure what Golic's record is but Berman almost always gets it right when he picks his team...The Bills.

Oh it was the other Mike??


It will be tough...if you asked me this past Monday-Thursday....I would have picked NE in a blow-out...

But its Friday...and My aqua and Orange has been re-charged....by Sunday game time...I will be ALL IN on the FINS....

like Dolfan Rick said.....Some people never learn....i'm among those people...

Dolfan Rick...

Little mike is 8-5 with his lead pipe locks....so he is doing surprisingly well....

But its Friday...and My aqua and Orange has been re-charged....by Sunday game time...I will be ALL IN on the FINS....

Posted by: Kris | October 25, 2013 at 09:56 AM



I have to agree with little Mike. Too many issues for us to overcome even against a declining Pat's team this year. We will be out coached in this game guaranteed, I don't even think it will be close by the second half. I hope I am wrong, believe me, but I just don't "feel" it, just like before the Bills game.

If THill is going to have that "defining" game, it had better be this one or we are sunk, that's if he even makes it through the first half, which I doubt he will. Expect Moore to be behind center by the second half and THill on a stretcher.

Sad to say, I see a 6-10 season coming unless big changes happen. I am doom and gloom, but this coaching staff inspires zero confidence. Another top-10 draft pick!

Every single Jet fan is rooting for Miami this week because they know the division will come down to NE, not Miami.

But, Miami isn't even the Jets biggest rival anymore, it's NE & Greeny's picking them to win. He really has no reason to pick against Miami cept for 1 small fact, he is picking NE because that's the LOGICAL pick.

And for what it's worth, the panthers D is pretty good. They would have ZERO issue shutting down our offense. I don't see how picking a team who has won 4 in a row to beat a team that's lost 3 in a row some kind of ridiculous pick.

Seems quite logical to me.

MassD @ 9:33 ... not really. You see not everyone plays every snap for one and two Jordan, Odrick, Wake, and Starks are position flexible. You can play them at more than one position. It is not a problem, you just need a DC that makes the most of his resources. So far Coyle doesn;t seem inventive at all to me.

Rick @ 9:54 Berman always picks the Bills against us ... "Nobody circles the wagaons .." if that isn't a line for bias, I don't know what is...

Pretty funny how before last year everyone was so enamored to get an open offense, offensive coaches, etc.

Only problem with that is the HC had zero HC experience. His O coordinator does but, he's been underwhelming in his last few coaching spots.

Inability to adjust, play to weaknesses vs. strengths, & just mind boggling decisions.

Good point Mark....I see you ate your Wheaties this morning...lol


some good points...I don't disagree with the "logic" as you put it....doesn't mean I have to like it....i'm a FIN FAN after all...not Dr. SPOCK....

oh...one more thing...

and blasphemy doesn't mean ridiculous....

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