« Tom Brady is either hurting or ... | Main | Assignment football: Stop Gronkowski »

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.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

There is a rumor floating around that the Phins are interested in Jay Ratliff. Signing him would be a huge mistake. Sure, let's sign an injured player, who - if he does play - will just take more snaps away from 3 of the most talented players on this team.

Mike Golic is just as big of a Dolphin hater as Greenie. He was cut at one point by us, and I've heard him tell the story. Pretty bitter.

I had a chance years ago to "buy" him to play in my charity golf tourney. He was such an aHole, I chose Jim McMahon instead. Great choice (not sure why I was even considering Golic at the time), as McMahon was hysterical, fun and a downright nice guy. It was fun talking about beating them on Monday night football and giving the Bears their only defeat.

Our Fins sure haven't given us any reason the past 3 weeks to be optimistic about beating Brady and Bellicick on the road...and it's getting colder.

I do believe we have the talent to beat them though. We just don't look seasoned enough to do it. I mean we couldn't stop a 4th string QB on 3rd and long countless times last week.

The NFL is a week to week league so crowning anyone for a game a couple weeks down the road leta loen for teh Super Bowl is pure folly.

Dave....

That sounds cool...I don't even know if I would have brought that up....

Still...I'm sure McMahon comeback had to be a retort about the his ring...

When the media starts suggesting that you should be benched, and you're a QB, your career goes downhill from there.

Nothing cries benching more than turnovers and nothing screams turnovers like lost fumbles and a shoulder injury makes the fumble problem worse because when he gets slammed on that right shoulder there is no way he can hold on to the ball.

AS I'VE SAID FOR YEARS: QB'S THAT GO TO SHHTTY TEAMS HAVE SHHTY CAREERS (Steve Young, Drew Brees, Phil Simms being the exceptions over the past 30 years)

Yeah, blasphemy has a religious context...

Dave, one question, did he wear a white headband and black sunglasses?

And with the 10th pick of the 2014 draft, the Miami Dolphins pick John Doe, Defensive End, Any College. Explained Jeff Ireland, "We decided to move to a 12 man rotation for the defensive line, as we felt 20 snaps per game for Dion Jordan was too much. We also envision John Doe becoming a full time player 8-10 years down the road. This, plus the fact we are moving to a 4 man offensive line,just made sense for us."

Speaking of McMahon....

dude is jacked up...can't remember anything...has post it notes around his house like a alhiezhiemer....

I rember when that dude slammed him after McMahon had thrown the ball like 5 seconds earlier....play was practically over...that coudn't have helped the matter....

I don't see either team making it to the big dance. Pats are declining and Carolina is good, but not that good. I see the Seahawks and Denver myself, if Payton can be protected better, he sure looked ordinary the other night against his old squad, but I still stand by my picks. Oh heck it is a toss up between Denver and KC, but I still believe it will be Denver.

Lol @ mass dolphan

HERE IS HOW TANNE'S CAREER WILL IMPLODE ON SUNDAY

Pregame issue#1 - Mike Wallace has only 1 TD and a 13.2 yd avg. (Kembrell Thomkins, a nobody, has 4 TDs and a 14.5 avg). Conclusion:Phins are not getting thier money's worth from Wallace because of Tanne.

Pregame issue#2 - Turnovers, especially fumbles, Phil Simms will remind everybody in America that there has never been a QB in NFL history that had a fumble problem and a long, prosperous career.

Pregame issue #3 - Since there is no dominant area to lead the team then the QB has to be that leader.

ONCE SIMMS SETS IT UP LIKE THAT THERE IS NO WAY THAT TANNE CANNOT FAIL

Wash...

I think Peyton's arm may be done....but that was my BOLD prediction to start the year...and all Peyton did was start off on a record pace for TD's...Yards..and Ints (not thrown).....

So every time I count him out....he kicks me in the teeth...

MassDolphan@ 10:12

I'll go with Guard, New Hampshire State

Kris, his basic retort was that he didn't play in that game, and if he had, they would have won. I had forgotten that he was injured. I don't think they would have won, but it would probably have been a lot closer.

Mark - No headband that I recall, but he was kind of interesting. He golfed with no shoes. He also had a rule that you had to drink one beer per hole. I kept up till the back 9, and then I had to slow down! He's a great golfer. We exchanged numbers in the end, but I never called him.

My all time favorite was Harmon Killebrew. Class guy. Very gracious. I was sad to see him pass a few years back. He hit REAL home runs, and I think he's not recognized enough.

Chris Berman has made no secret that his favorite team is the Bills....followed by the Jets.
Therefore logically he hates the Fins so no surprises there.

We all were so pumped after we clawed out victories against the touted Colts & Falcons.

But after we got embarrassed on national TV against the Saints....then Tannehill could not hold field position against the Ravens for a game tying FG, red flags popped.

But last weeks lost, at home, against the Bills, coming off the bye hurt the most.

Any confidence we felt after that Colt victory is long gone and if we lose again on Sunday, this teams confidence will be shattered.

From 3-0 to 3-4 is a knife in the chest for fans and IMO will boil Ross's blood so bad that he'll be forced to make changes.

ETF, please insert in your analysis how the Qb is above the league average in completions, completion, %, yards, yards per attempt, and touchdowns.

Also explain how Hartline, Clay, and Gibson are having career years and the Qb had nothing to do with that.

It's not the Qb!!!

Stick to Aaron hernandez conspiracy theories or Chad Henne praise.

Exposing the fraud? You're out to lunch on every topic man.

Posted by: MassDolphan | October 25, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Probably one of the funniest posts I read on here. I needed that laugh.

NH, to me it was the sloppy start, giving up 14 points, looking anemic at home, after a bye, first division game. That shouted poor preparation, poor coaching, no respect for your fans or yourself. And people wonder why no one goes to the games.

Reason I blame coaching is Philbin has this "never ruffled" attitude. And emotion is part of ANY sport I've ever played. Doesn't mean you let the emotion get to you. But passion is infectious. If the HC is passionate, then the team responds. If the HC is always mysterious in his emotions, what is the team to feed off of. So, they come out flat. No worries, next play up. No one peps up the QB on the sideline after his horrendous errors. Just keep at it.

All that said, they did respond, they came back and had the game won. But again, that non-emotional attitude didn't "will" them to a win. If they maybe had some fire, like, "we started bad, but let's finish this the right way," maybe SOMEONE could have made a play at the end (offense OR defense). But nope, no worries, there's 16 games, we can just mozy through all of them and see where we're at end of Season.

Honestly, I don't know ONE team that's ever won like that. Even in Green Bay, see the emotion the players, even coaches use to feed off the fans (and vice versa)? Philbin needs to re-think the balance between a professional, "workman-like" demeanor and harnessing the passion and momentum that gets generated to help the team win. See Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens if you need a model.

DC, would also help if they called a play away from the only player on the Buffalo team that could beat them ...

...I have to disagree that we could hang our hats on being "1 draft away from relevance" Really? This could be the case, but it is a longshot to depend on the draft to improve a team in one target year. For instance..How many of the rookies from this years draft have been impact players? Most have been inactive for all 6 games..This goes for the whole league. Unless the player is a quarterback(And I doubt we will be picking a first round quarterbacknext year) How many rookies make immediate impact, if any?

I know you can find plenty of examples...But not for this team.

I also understand that we get to throw past picks into the past as well. Players that have been inactive all year will be assumed "impact" players next season. I can't wait to hear the hyperbole..Jamar Taylor is going to improve the secondary..Dallas Thomas will help the line..We will be better because Dion Jordan will be a BEAST..Perhaps all these factors will fall in our favor...But again reality says probably not.

Look I'm all for building through the draft. We just do not seem to draft many players that are big time. A lot of players that are "part time".. I wouldn't count on the draft being a savior for anything next year.

..past players into the past??? Past players into the mix..

Mark in Toronto has a man crush on Tannehill

MIT,
I predicted how Phil Simms will set it up on the pregame.
Clay & Gibson are having career years? How hard is that? Clay had 100 yds receiving for his career when the year began and Gibson had less than 500 yds last year as a full time starter.

I'm out to lunch on every subject? I'm the only person in America that pointed out we lost more production than we gained. I'm also the only person that stated before the season started, over and over again, that teams would throw deep against us early and often to expose our secondary and then would tee off on our QB and expose our OL.

Conspiracy theory on Hernandez? I never said that. That corpse was found at 6am and by 10am the same day the cops put it out that Hernandez did it. With no investigation and no evidence and then tried to put some shht together to try and make the case. The case is so shhtty that the prosecutor made a motion for the judge to recuse herself. That was done because the prosecutor already knows the case will be dismissed because of lack of evidence and will refer back to this motion when the next election rolls around.

We lost more production than we gained but yet we have a better offense ... you see ... you miss the bloody point...

By the way, anyone know RG3 was born in Japan?

I'm very disappointed that our D has regressed. We've had some injuries I know, but the poor tackling was evident in the preseason and hasnt improved. What was supposed to be the strength of our team,...

Extensions for Misi and Jones, WTF? Meanwhile we may/will lose Soliai and Starks, WTF? I personally thik Starks has been one of our best players for awhile, going out of your way to piss him off makes no sense to me.

The play calling has been terrible no matter how Sherman/Philbin try to spin it. Sherman sucked with Green Bay and he sucked with A&M. No mystery that both teams got better after he left. Now we are stuck with him.

Buying Free Agents has never worked. The only way to build a team is through the draft. Trading up to #3 for a part time player, WTF? This years draft has been terrible, one of the worst I can remember. No rookies have done anything besides Sturgis a freakin kicker. WTF?

Disappointed. I dont think this regime is any better than the last few which is really disappointing b/c here we go again, another regime is inevitable, with the customary remaking of the roster for "his/their" players and more years of treading water.

Disappointed.

that was a great piece mando...not!!! heres where a big duhhh comes in. half the games in the nfl come down to the last couple of mins.

..Odin..I am not being a negative Nancy. But your post earlier this morning.. I have to ask you about a few things..You started by saying our O-line is poor at run blocking..Yes when we need 1 yard we sruggle to find plays that we can pick up said yard..But overall we are averaging like 4.4, 4.5 YPC..Not bad. We just do not try and run it. The last 3 weeks..We have ran it less the 15 times Total..Total in the second half of those games..That is pathetic. But where you lost me was after giving your opinion on how to defend us and the run..The post went right to the Hail Mary play.

I was confused as one has nothing to do with another.

I am going to stand firm in my opinion(I could be out to lunch, and totally wrong)..If we commited to running the ball more. The blocking, both pass, and run would get better.

So this is on Philbin IMO..I don't know if he is a genius, or a completely over his head. At this point it is 50/50 really. Is he so smart that this pass scheme that he is seems content to live or die with is going to make us a juggernaught, or will it get him fired? So far he has been guilty of more bad choices then ones that make you say..Hey this guy is on heck of a coach..

I want Philbin to succeed. This means we are getting better. The season is FAR from over. And Philbin, and the rest of the crew will have their opportunity to get back to winning. I think they(the team can do it)..I don't think it can be done this year unless Philbin can learn to be a bit more flexible. Rigid is a bad look.

Im super disappointed in Philbin right now. They said he was going to bring GBs offense to Miami and guess what?? he did. Miami doesn't run the ball and like GB they cant protect the qb because of weak tackles. Over like the last 3 years Aaron Rodgers has been getting killed. Chew on that!

They haven't tried anything different thus far. What makes anyone think this week will be different? Sherman is clueless and pathetic as a professional OC. He was mediocre in college ball, and 'TERRIBLE!' in the pro game. When I saw him chew out Egnew on 'Hard Knocks', I knew, right away,
this guy was not professional coach material. This offense is vanilla and predicable and, EVERY TEAM SEES THEM COMING!!!!!!

The Phins have most of the tools necessary for a team to win, unfortunately one has to acclimate one self on how to use those tools. For example Wallace is a fantastic talent...so is Tannehill but in order for the system to function they must acclimate themselves with each others tendencies. On at least two plays I have seen Tannehill throw long for Wallace only to have Wallace slow down come back and fight for the ball. Tannehill has to be able to judge Wallaces speed better. Either that or not throw the long ball to Wallace which would be a real shame since he is a world class speedster. I would like to think that at a point in time a synergy will evolve between the offense and the same will happen with the defense.

After $150 million in free agency and 5 of the top 90 picks we have nothing to show for it.
First post here says we need one more year to be a contender(WTF??).
What I'm seeing is a team going backwards not forward.

we lose this week by 3-4 td's and brady or gronk will be afc offensive player of the week. you heard it here first. this team has no talent after 6 years of ireland as GM. you guys talking about being one draft away have no idea what ur talking about. kudos to the ticket staff for maintaining season ticket sales in the 35-40K range. I don't know how anybody could spend that amount of money on this bad a product.

Kevin Coyle has been consistenly schooled by the other teams OC. He can't game plan correctly and can't make necessary adjustments.

We will probably be playing the officials for sure in this game , Armondo answer my question , in colts game when it was 4th and inches Tannehill did a QB sneak, it was ruled first down on the field , Colts challenged, after official looked at replay under the hood they came out saying in was inconclusive, it should have been ruling on the field stands , but instead they took a ball from who knows where put it back a half a yard remeasured and gave it to the Colts , why were they allowed to cheat , Ive asked this question 20 times now can you please provide an answer

DD, for this team to get better and go from mid range to a firm playoff player is for one of the units to become dominant. We are either going to have to become a legit top ten offense and that won't happen until we fix the o line at the very minimum - and I don't mean to simply become an average unit but to become a top o line. Tannehill can beat you if you protect him. The running backs can run when there's room.

Or the defense will have to become a turnover making machine. And with our current co -ordinator and scheme, I don't see that happening. he's too passive, doesn't play downhill and seldom presses receivers but seems simply happy to have them catch it and hopefully tackle them befor ethey get a first down. On defense it seems like we just wait for a receiver to drop a pas, for their o line to take a holding penalty, or for their qbs to missfire. But we seldom force the issue and considering the pressure players we have and a decent pair of corners in patterson and grimes - it seems like a huge waste.

I have no idea why, but I have a good feeling about this game! Go phins!!!

PS. Did I just set myself up to be heart broken yet again? F*#K it, GOOOOOOOOOOO PHINS!!!!!!!!!!

..Mark in Toronto. I agree. I think if we could protect Tannehill. The story would be much rosier. Right now we can't, I don't think the signing of McKinney is going to do much. I also don't think that you can just count on the draft to fix your issues in 1 year..A lot of people are just assuming we will draft a couple of lineman, they will come in next year, and save the day. Odds are we may draft a 1-2. but the odds are even longer that these rookies will be anything but liabilities.

This adds to the pressure that will be on next years regime. Imagine an Offensive line with say a rookie LT, Incognito, Pouncey, A rookie a Rt, and Martin. You could put Dallas Thomas in there if you want. But he has shown to be the Egnew of this years class. I wouldn't count on it. So the regime will have to do better..And Im not sure a recipe of adding 2 rookies will help but get Philbin, and Ireland fired.

Now of course this isn't the only way to go about fixing the line. it just seems that to many it is the easy, no brainer way to go. I think we will have to go the route of free agency again..I know that it burned us this year..I know Clabo has been a disaster. I just think these guys are going to be on a deadline to succeed, and having a corps that includes more then 1 rookie..May lead to their demise.

Of course, .500 Teams are a mixture of .500 Players and .500 Coaches.

I think we will have a chance to win the game against the Patsies if and only if...we make Tommy-boy's day miserable. We need to do a lot more blitzing, get more defensive players in Brady's face. Make him hurry his throws, sack him a few times. That is the winning formula. If we lay back and not pressure him, he will pick us apart. Make Brady boy spend a lot of time eating Gilette stadium dirt and the Fins will be a winner.

DD, personally, I've been a proponent of using the free agency route myself to fix the o line. We need MEN and not boys to come in and fix things. We need to make Mike Wallace sized acquisitions to ensure we get the best tackle available - not a value - not a maybe - but a surefire stud. However, where are these studs in free agency? I don't know how well Albert has played this year since I ahven't watched KC at all but I also noticed that KC is also top 10 in sacks allowed as well. So there's that.

I agree with you that more often than not these OTs taken in the 2nd half of the first round develop more like Michael Oher than Jake Long or Joe Thomas in their first years.

And we all can see that Fisher and Johnson have been nothing to write home about. And I haven't seen Joeckel but Jax has allowed even more sacks than Miami believe it or not.

If it would require moving something like a 20 range first round pick to get a LT that is top ten in the league and in his mid 20s, I'd do it.

Either that or call plays that minimize your exposeure to the pass rush more often. problem is our offense would look more like last years in which we would have to play within 10 yards of the LOS.

Maybe the best fix would be a culture change on defense???

I too do think we can beat the pats but we have to RUN DA BALL!!

The Dolphins are a top five team in scoring Tds in the Red Zone. That is the only stat that they are top five.They were no 1 in that category and they didnt hurt themselves in the Buffalo game going 3 for 4 in the RZ.
Where they are failing is in takeaways allowing ten points off of turnovers in the last game.
You can get as complicated as you want to but if you score TDs in the RZ instead of Fgs you win in this league.
I think many of you on this blog are already blogging about next year, and at the same time letting the Dolphins off the hook for not being a winning team after starting 3-0.The coaches and the GM dont mind this indefinte point of view of sometime in the future after all they are on contracts for several years or more.

Dolphins need better play late in games to win?


CHANGE QB'S! DUUUUUHHH!

If the NYJ beat Cincy we're phucced

Good analysis but I kinda knew we were in trouble in the first (yes, even the Cleveland game) 3 games.

"The Dolphins got heroics from both units" comment....exactly why. You CAN NOT expect heroics in every game. To win consistenly, you have to play solid football. And we have not done that

We cant run the ball our RB's Stink!!

I HATE TO SAY IT BUT

I can see TB being the only game from here on out where we are favored.

Mace, are you driving your run down Cadillac to the game?

That's another one that if it weren't for the shots he's taken, would fell like a huge disappointment to me. There are no Suggs or MWilliams this Sunday so I hope he has time to throw.

Brady and his bum shoulder will be tested.

Stephen Ross,


Give the Dolphin fans something to cheer about.
SELL THE TEAM!

I love that idea-Mike Mayock new GM and Mike Shula new HC. Marino the new QB/OC, and Zack Thomas new LB/DC.

ETF, not sure how we can be "phucked" when we still have 5 division games left and are 1/2 game behind the Jets. Unless you're speaking figuratively.

The Dolphins have been like that at least since Sparanus and the infamous Ireland got to this town.
Every single season the Dolphins loose several games in the last 3 minutes. Many of these defeats come from the coaches. Many come from players drafted by Ireland. This team has not any resilency whatsoever. It's as fragile as a fine crystal glass.
How can the Dolphins expect to win against the Patriots with a QB that is getting worst every week ? With a game plan thst stinks even more as season advances. With an OL that couldn't be worst. How ?
Of course, as fans as we are, we always expect a miracle that cheers all of us up. But still, it's a matter of a miracle, not of real expectations. This is the depressing reality.

I like that the team is being "Belichick-ean" about McKinnie starting or not. Wait and see is a great move. For that position it doesn't really matter, but don't give them any time to prepare their defense. I'd say with Martin in, you're rushing on Clabo's side to test him. If McKinnie's in, then you're rushing (and stunting) on his side to see if you can trick him into giving up a sack. Make them wait until game time to see the lineup.

It's nice to see all this gushy optimism about this weekend's matchup, but personally my gut feeling is we will not show up. That game against the Bills sure sucked the wind out of our sails. We either show up p*ssed because of that loss or come out flat and think the latter more appropriate than the former. Losing close games three weeks in a row has got to have a major negative impact on the players and of course the shutout to the Pats last year has to be in the back of their minds as well.

This team has lost it's way, either due to poor coaching, or just plain out frustration. This does not look like a game we can win, maybe make is close, but in the end will be just another L in the column.

I hate to be a bubble burster here, but I have seen enough this season to conclude that it will take one heck of a miracle to escape this year with more than 6 wins and a healthy QB.

Come back and see me when the wheels fall completely off.

Off topic but do you guys remember what we most wanted to find out about this season?

Tannehill. This year we wanted know if he was the one or not. With the way things are going, we still might not know.

The comments to this entry are closed.