« 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.


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

Mondo, buddy you are wrong again. The Dolphins need to play the entire game like its the last game they will ever play. The game has 4 QTs. with a halftime in the middle. Any failure of one or more qts will costs you the game. In other words you can't play well the first half and not show up for the second half and thats what the Dolphins are doing,,,sometimes. The last 4 games have been poor from the 1st qt till the end. Buffalo jumps out to a 14 pt lead first qt. Thats difficult to over come and frankly Tannehill can't get the job done,,well one time, big deal. Tannehill hasn't improved one bit from last season. You and Sherman can squeal like pigs and it won't change that fact. The Dolphin talent level is swimming in the shallow end of the pool. Take a gander at the OL, pitiful. The RBs are terrible cause the OL sucks. Read an article yesterday about the NFL complaining about so many injured QBs due to sorry line blocking. Colleges play that fast pace spread offense where the linemen only need to hold a block for a 2 count, where the NFL QBs need 3-4 maybe 5 counts. Dolphins are not using (much) a 7 step drop for Tannehill because of the sacks, so his long patterns suffer which makes accuracy null and void. Been following the Dolphins since 1966 and this is by far the worst Dolphin team in team history including the 1-15 season. The Dolphins are sloppy in almost every aspect of the game and thats coaching. Play calling is atrocious.

cocoajoe....we will never know until he can drop back, go through all of his reads, and be able to step into his throws. This is the key to his success, but that will never materialize until he gets the protection he needs up front. 2.3 seconds isn't going to cut it in any league and less than 2 seconds is suicide.


This is not the time to pile it up on Tanne....


imo....Tanne is a servicable QB....I think that much is evident...he has pretty much shown himself to be the same guy he was last year....he has a few better targets to throw to...and Wallace...catching the ball or not...still makes it easier for his facebook buddy Hartline to get open....

To me...Tanne is lacking the MAIN THING that makes QBs great to elite....ACCURACY....he doesn't hit players in the #s very often...let alone the hands....

Like I said when Henne was the QB...when a reciever has no idea which way he is gonna have to contort his body to make a catch...it makes even routine catches hard....when I am wondering...."is the ball gonna be down by my knees...is it gonna be behind...am I gonna have to leave my feet"....and all of these thoughts are happening in a splt second.....as the QB starts his throwing motion....

Tanne main problem is his accuracy....and that is a HUGE problem to have...

Yep Wash and the way things are going, his learning process will be affected. That is, if he can stay healthy.

cocoajoe, I know this is not the most popular opinion around the locals but I think we know enough about Tannehill that he will be the QB next year at least.

I mean at the very least we know he isn't Christian Ponder and he's more prolific than Jake Locker.

If anything he's right there with the other 2nd year Qbs (and one thrid year QB who somehow gets lumped in with last year's rookies). He's behind Luck in terms of not being susceptible to turnovers but he's right there with Russel Wilson, RG3, and Kaep (better than Kaep this year by a fair bit).

Hopefully if he continues this upward trend then next year we might be talking about him with the next tier up.

Wow; talking off season planning already. Well the guy who would not sign Jake Long and left the Dolphins with a horrific offensive line has a contract and will keep on F'n up until the owner dumps him. THE DEFENSE HAS PLAYED OK AT TIMES BUT THEY ARE ON THE FIELD TO MUCH. A GOOD OFFENSE WOULD ALLOW FOR (TIME OF POSSESSION) WHICH IS THE BEST DEFENSE IN THE NFL. PERHAPS A BILLBOARD LIKE THEY PLACED IN TAMPA WILL WORK IN MIAMI; 'FIRE IRELAND'


He probably will be the UNCHALLENGED QB next year....and that makes for a huge problem...

I said when Philbin came here (I was very high on him)....that id he and Sherman drafted Tanne...that it would be the first black mark for them...in my book...

Will Sherman give up on the QB he coached in college....NO...he will go down with the ship...

Will Philbin give up on his mentor....and I believe the first guy to give him a job in the NFL...NO...hewill go down with the ship....

This spells cronyisim....DC can probably tell you a bit about that....

Its no way to run a LEGIT...OBJECTIVE government..buisness...or NFL team....

Draft a RB, QB, and LT .

Everyone is venting and making solid points today.

Anyone with eyes can see Tannehill is getting mugged after 2 seconds and no matter how good an offensive scheme is...without time for the play to develop it will never get executed properly.

One some plays, he gets mugged so fast he cannot even find his 'safety outlet'.

This is a predicated on a non-existent run game.

NE is vulnerable against the run and with Wilfork out we should try to run more than pass this Sunday.

I know is goes against Sherman's plan...but think about it...run, run, run, run and run again. Sure you'll get some 3 and outs, but it will be obvious to everyone that you are trying to establish the run, even when it's failing.

Eventually Tannehill will be able to 'sell' the play-action and actually have time to hit a receiver who will most likely be in single coverage.

I'm not football guru, but it seems to me this team needs to make drastic changes to their offensive plan to try and establish the run, for without it you are sure to lose.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Sherman/Philbin....are you listening?

Wash away finfan. No loser mentality today. Thx!

Kris, I have been disappointed in some of his long passes (usually underthrown) lately. He was throwing behind receivers on short- intermediate but has gotten better.
It's hard to know if it's going to be a continuing problem. One of the things TBD

Shermsns play calling has been highly suspect for 2 years and running.

Mark, I have no doubt Tannehill will be the starter next year...if the O-line can keep him off IR.

But we wanted to know if the decades long QB search was over or not.

Two things. One our snap count is always the same. 98 go, go! Doesn't that give the dame defense the opportunity to jump the snap! Can't we change up or are we too dumb and scared our offensive linemen will jump in stead! 2. This team is starting to take on the personality of the head coach. Boring and average! It is very sad!

late to the party here.....but the first post from odin was right on all points--we can rightly complain about several facets of this team but those are all mostly at the margin--reality is that our Oline is awful, and that puts everything and everybody at a huge disadvantage out of the gate--bottom line. Also agree and have said many times that Philbin needs, and deserves, a full 3 years (that means evaluate at the END of year 3) to build this team/system....and that doesnt mean we're winning the SB in year 3, it just means that we should make the playoffs or seriously compete for them at worst.....and have the look of a team that can compete with the best.

sure, makes sense Dolphken--because the Pats would really want to take on Belichiks dynamic personality, right?--Rex has a big personality, and have the Jets won a SB recently? Sparano was pretty expressive, and how did we do?--what the heck does the coaches' personality have to do with anything?

Dolphins need better play late in games to win

A news flash of major importance somewhat on a par with a headline reading "Dolphins need to score more points than their opponents to win".

That's a good post by AR-15. IMO, the major factor why Tannehill has not looked good up to now.

After reading AR-15's summation I must agree as well oscar. We have all been screaming about the OL and as of yet nothing but a token effort has been offered to alleviate the bleeding. The scheme sucks because the lineman can't move in sequence, hell they act like their feet are stuck in concrete. THill can't escape the rush because the edges are not there and the middle is closed off, so were is he supposed to go with the ball? He has to eat it 1.2 seconds after the snap on almost every play he has been sacked.

Fix the OL and most if not all of the problems we are currently experiencing will vanish as long as we haven't tweaked the kid's head already. That is my biggest worry. He hasn't improved from last year is an understatement. He should have never started in the first place. What ever happened to sitting the rookie for one year and learning from a veteran?? This season is a mess simply because we don't have the blocking to run our offense, nothing more and nothing less.

Every team has flaws talent wise. It's just that no good teams can have a line as bad as ours. You can be average in some areas and cover that up. But there is not much. You can do when both tackles have lost their one on one matchup before the qb even finishes his drop. Only thing Thill can do is learn to quickly step up and pass to a check down. However if the D is only rushing 4 the check down is probably covered. This also does not seem to be a strategy Sherman believes in. That is the whole problem right there. Bad strategy from coordinators and the worst tackles in football. With better play calling on both sides and serviceable starters at tackle, we win the division this year by a couple games.

Don't worry T'hill will figure out another way to lose the game.

Agree with you Texas 100%

Quit making excuses for Tannehill just change QB's

The problem is you have to have a pocket to "step up" into and you have to have an outlet receiver open quickly enough to get the ball to. THill for the most part has been getting mauled from the middle of the line and from both corners on a regular basis. Perfect example was the strip/sack in the last game. THill didn't even have enough time to get halfway through his throwing motion or step into his pass, his arm gets hit and he gets planted less than 1.5 seconds from the snap of the ball. No chance to do much of anything in my opinion.

He is not a Pro Bowl QB and it seems at times silly to hear fans compare him with Hall of Fame QB's, heck he has barely enough experience to qualify as a first year starter.

1. You do not start a rookie behind a line that cannot block, period.

2. You do start a rookie without weapons or safety nets, period.

3. You do not call plays that can't be executed by the blocking scheme, especially if the personnel are not qualified to execute such scheme.

4. You sit said rookie QB before he gets seriously hurt in order to protect your future franchise QB, not keep him on the field dealing with #2 every single time he steps back to pass.

This entire situation with the OL and THill has been handled quite terribly by the front office and the coaches on the field. THill should have been eased in with his limited experience, not thrown in. I am appalled that he is even starting at this point especially after those hits he took last week.

I wish the clowns who make up this coaching staff could read these posts and acknowledge that they need to make changes. But I am not sure any of us have confidence that they can do so.

Has anyone felt comfortable with Fail-been and his loser posse from day one? I did not think that even in the 3 wins this team gave us confidence of solid football.

Philbin and Tannehill are the right guys to bring the Dolphins back but it won't happen overnight and it won't happen until we find two tackles that can run block and protect the quarterback.

" Whats going to make next year any different?? It will stil be the same people drafting, making personnel decisions, coaching etc."

Posted by: Dolfan Rick | October 25, 2013 at 08:49 AM

Exactly. As Santyana said "Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it."
As Einstein said ""Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

I believe he may have been prescient as regards the Miami Dolphins.

Starts with the owner, a non-football man.
The Steelers=The Rooneys. Pittsburgh be back a LOT faster than will the Dolphins at this rate.

Sure, there are owners like Jerry J with a football background who have screwed the pooch, but most, like jerry let their egos rule. Ross has the ego, just not the rest.

Odin,ead your posts and you have a good NFL acumen, BUT I do not see this coaching dtaff with the same rose-colored glasses. Too much questionable clock-management, failure to shake up the O-Line with a benching, or 2, and most of all, waffling and leadership (lack of). Your HC benches your BEST PLAYMAKER and HARDEST-WORKER last year for a fumble, yet refuses to do so for a turnstile at right tackle. Then, he preaches that the Dolphins only keep, draft, pick, hire, etc. players that buy into the "system", then brings party-manMcKinnie on board for "need". I say that Garner and Yeatman should have been given some reps while he "rested" Clabo and Martin a series, or 2. Won't even get into Mr. Magoo's fabulous sweep calls on 3rd and inches. (Has tjis fu.king guy ever heard of a QB sneak!!) I wad on board all last year and early this year. I knew we got lucky as sh.t on more than 1 occasion the 1st 3 games, but coaching has been questionable too many times. I agree with Philbin, I "like our guys", but am sorry to say I do 't like the 4 most important ones anymore (Ireland, Philbin, Shetman and Coyle). Will say 3 things: Keep our D-Line coach, get on the phone to Pennington for QB coach before the best QB we have had in years is ruined, then call Marino and tell Ireland his check is in the mail!

« 1 2 3

The comments to this entry are closed.