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Dolphins need late-game playmaking

My prediction for Sunday's game between the Dolphins and Carolina Panthers? It should be close. It will come down to the fourth quarter. It might come down to the last possession for each team.

Sound familiar?

That's how the Dolphins have played a majority of this season.

That's how the Panthers have played a majority of this season.

The difference between Miami's 5-5 record and Carolina's much more appealing 7-3?

“I think the biggest thing is for some of our games we won the close ones," Carolina coach Ron Rivera said. "Especially the last two weeks, was winning the close ones. My first two years we didn’t win the close ones. Our second game of the year this year against Buffalo we had an opportunity to win and we didn’t win the close ones. We’re in position now that we’ve won the close ones. We’ve done some things in the fourth quarter. We’ve done some things in earlier parts of the game that have given ourselves a chance to win and walk away winners."

That's it.

Consider how much different the Dolphins season would feel if they had made plays rather than given up plays late against Baltimore.

And Buffalo.

And Tampa Bay.

Those were three winnable games. Indeed, I'd offer the Dolphins should beat Buffalo and Tampa Bay most of the time. But they lost those games because they simply didn't make plays late.

Miami did make plays late against Indianapolis and Cincinnati and San Diego. And the resulting victories suggest that if the Dolphins are going to enjoy any success the remainder of the season, they need to get used to the idea of finishing strong.

"We have been stressing, if you look at our schedule and our games, it’s really come down to execution in the fourth quarter and stepping up and making plays when the game is on the line," coach Joe Philbin said. "I was pleased that Sunday against San Diego that’s what we did, we made enough plays in the fourth quarter to win the game."

It should be noted the Dolphins have won two of three games and those victories brought late playmaking by Cameron Wake, Brent Grimes and others.

That needs to continue. And against Carolina, the Miami offense could certainly use some late heroics as well. Ryan Tannehill is due. A back-breaking and unexpected long run would be welcome. Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline need to step up.

That's what it's going to take because the Panthers have been getting that kind of performance from Cam Newton, mostly everyone on defense, and even Ted Ginn Jr. last week. The Panthers believe they can make plays late to win games now.

I don't know if the Dolphins believe. I know they have to get to that point to save this season.

You, meanwhile, should believe this:

The team that makes plays late this game will be a winner by Sunday evening. 


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ETF, have you had fantasies of your son pulling your ears?

Meh, I think those that drop it is because they just don't love the game. I've had nephews who played. One was scouted by the KC Royals, one who I believe had more potential gave it up because he just didn't want to play anymore ... everyone's different.

all very true Mando....supports the idea that there is not alot separating the vast majority of teams in the league--take out the few at the top and bottom and you have close to 25 teams that are a few plays away from winning/losing every week--we're right in that group....not terrible but ultimately frustrating, to say "we're just a play or two away from 7-3"--last year it was "just 2 Carpenter FGs from 9-7"--would love to start making those late/key plays at some point

3 gulps??? That's a lot of schpooraza!!

NH, that's one of the conspiracy theories floated out there. That Shanahan is insulating himself against the fanbase for the price of teh RG3 trade and that the other side of the coin is to speak glowingly about a QB of a team that may be looking for a new coach ... stay tuned.

me too benz, we play our best when we are just left to the anonymity of 1:00 games that are only found streaming on the internet to those of us out of market.

Mark...would you take Shanahan over Philbin?

Has Ireland resigned yet?


Now not even 1 season later they are all just average players at best.

NH, I want the team to be respectable down the stretch so we get the third and definitive year for this whole lot - gm, coaches, QB et all.

kaep ahs been horrible this year - just awful... he's lucky he plays out west. If he played in the east, he'd be riding the pines...

Panthers 31, Dolphin pretenders who have a grip on the playoffs 13. Newton will run amok in the secondary, Smith, et al,,,,loooong day at Sun-life, or a half empty day at Sun-life.

...So my worry about this weekends game is how will our offensive line hold up? I can't tell you a thing about Carolina except from what I saw last week..And what I saw was a dominant defensive front. I know their best player is hurt. So we catch a bit of a break. But their d-line against our makeshift o-line is going to be the deciding factor..IMO

I know all the cliché stats will be important..3rd downs, turnovers..points(lol)...but there will be 55-60 plus times we snap the ball..That is a lot of plays that this line will have to hold up against this fierce unit..Can we?

If we can..I think the game will stay close. We can win. If the O-line is dominated. We have no chance(barring injuries)...

you said one thing is for sure, the team who makes the plays late in the game will be the winner. what about early in the game? i'de rather see tannehill attempting the deep pass to wallace while there is plenty of time available, instead of crossing your fingers at the two minute warning. sure it should be a close game, and it no doubt will come down to the last seconds, but maybe, just maybe, if our offense can make some BIG plays earlier in the game it just might be to much pressure for cam newton to overcome...and especialy if WAKE, ODRICK, SOLIA, and OV, are putting their own version of pressure the quarterback...and if that scenario happens, you will be wrong, we may win by three scores..i'm predicting MIKE WALLACE to have THREE TD's....GO FINS!

Our front 7 has been a disappointment this year and I for one expected them to be a top 5 unit by this time.

Patterson/Grimes are great pickups...Jordan is not making an impact at all.
Linebackers are not able to keep up with speedy slot receives and 6'7" TE's running down the seam.
Giovani Bernard blasted our front line two weeks ago and exploited every hole he could find.
I pray that Patterson is healthy because if we match up Nolan Carroll on Steve Smith its game over.




wallyfin....you'd think by week 11 Tannehill would have watched enough film and figured it out himself.
Granted his pocket has collapsed in less than 3 seconds on many occasions, so its not all on Tannehill.

NH, Jordan seems a natural fit against those 6'7 tight ends, no? Glad we finally saw some of it last week. Only took until week 11 for Coyle to figure it out. By week 17, we should have this all figured out....


Mark in Toronto,I agree.You would think that from April until now these coach's would have their players figured out,NOT! Not even a hint of improvement game after sorry game. Sad

Happy One Year Anniversary of the Butt Fumble!

Greatest Jets Play of All Time


The NY Jets, continuing a proud legacy of having the worst, most over hyped QBs in all of football...

And arse fumbles...


Since 2010 Brady ranks 25th of 31 on Deep Ball passes.



For a guy who has been playing Pro Football for over a Decade his Deep Ball Accuracy isn't that much better than a young Tannehill.

Lookidat, Brian Hartline was born on the same day I was and the same date they killed JFK. No wonder he's doing so well.

It s very insensitive for you all to be talking football when one of our own players, Jonathan Martin is suffering such a trauma.

dash only cites from 2010. why not his whole career? these bloggers will present the information only in a way that supports their argument, even if it means distorting the truth.

We depend on our sense of Humor.

Dash is Trash


Had we signed Long, we'd be 7-2. Martin and Coggins would still be playing.

If we make the playoffs, Philbin will have to be considered for Coach of the Year.

I am just glad we are domne with primtime games.,

not our fortay

Posted by: wallyfin | November 22, 2013 at 02:15 PM

What a dumb thing to say! The NFL's real Primetime game by the way is Sunday Night were NBC has the discretion to flex into another game that looks more appealing if there's is a stinker!

Yes, Thursday and Monday are Primetime in the sense there the only games playing but if you analyze those contests there usually between a "potential" team and a proven winner or a couple of Wild Card "potentially" teams (always potential teams)

The Dolphins haven't managed to play in a truly significant Primetime game since beating N.E. on Monday Night in the debut of the Orange jersey in 04 (sinking ship of a Season with Ricky retired)

Then later in 06 with Sports Illustrated proclaiming us the Pre-Season picks to go to S.B.-41 we Kicked Off the Yr. Vs. Champ Steelers in Season inaugural were Culpepper lost a very winnable game on a late pick setting the tone for the disaster he was with Saban running for the door at Seasons end!

Since then or for a looooooong 7 Yrs. the NFL hasn't trusted Miami to put them in a true Primetime Pick'em spot! Analyze the Browns, Titans, Rams and Chiefs played this Yr. either Thurs. or Monday (I include the Chiefs because I doubt anybody had them above .500 before the Season with every publication calling their Draft/FA period a bust)

NBC has already flexed the Broncos into Sunday Night for a 3 week run this Yr. with last weeks K.C. game this Sunday Night Vs. the Pats and next Sunday Vs. K.C. again and they opened the Yr. Vs. the S.B. Champs! Those Flagship days are a thing of the past around the Fins and we should aspire to be that Franchise gain not shy away!

Close game? When considering how each team's season has progressed, yes, it looks like that same pattern. But, sometimes looks can be deceiving and INTANGIBLES can takeover.

Really, it's a very weird matchup. Universal laws seem to state if you play and win enough close games, that sort of play eventually catches up to you. Hence the Carolina Panthers. True upper echelon teams just do not play a ton of close games, they dominate most their opponents.

Exactly why I state, Carolina is ripe and overdue for an upset. Especially after the rollercoaster heart draining win over the Pats. Panthers were just a blown call away from absorbing defeat.

Based on this, I'm crawl out on a limb, and choosing Miami:

Miami 27 Carolina 13. In the Dolphins most complete game of the season. Don't hold my feet to the coals on this one. Remember, sometimes limbs do break.

A QB gets more accurate with time. And his decision making gets better.

Practice makes perfect.

Now you can say I am curtailing my argument. But I am not, Jaworski is the one doing the explaining. I'm just pointing out to the Bloggers here that Dashi isn't the only one who says that Brady can't throw deep.

Plus, If anyone ever watches the Pats play you will notice Brady flagrantly misses about 5-6 passes a game where the ball doesn't even land close to the receiver.

Brady has his good qualities, but just like Jeter with the Yankees, The Pats have blown the Tom Brady Myth to God like proportions. The Man could do no wrong. He is never to blame for his failures.


You have been saying all week that this game could be an Upset.

Agreed. I'm going 17-10. That defense is to good to score 3 TDs on them. Specially with our O-Line.

And also agreed on your assessment on what a real winning team(Title Contender) looks like. Real good teams don't make the game close. Doesn't mean that they won't play 1 or 2 close games a year. Just that they show how much better they are than the other team on a regular basis.

Reason, everyone can tell that this isn't same Pats team from years past. These guys are beatable. They just still have the Refs in their pocket. So they just manage to stay close and comeback with horrendous calls. Like the OV fumble. Or the Phantom PI calls they get to extend drives at the end of games. Never mind that Pats O-Linemen Hold on almost every play.


Expect a repeat of the Saints game. Some of you are just dreaming.

Where is the offense? Tanny has to get rid of the ball quick! No time for EVERYONE to run routes! Get it out quickly! If we can,t run the ball just a little ity will be a long night! Dolphins surprise everyone! Dolphins 24 Carolina 10!

Harbaugh 6-4 with 49ers
Fischer 4-6 with Ram
Philpin 5-5 with Dolphins

Do you really think the other "hot coaching prospects" would have faired any better? with our Dolphins?

Ireland does need to go. Martin will be his biggest mistake.

The Dolphins will pay dearly through letigation for that aweful pick. Brenner is a lunch pail dude. Not a child of previledge. Let's rally behind him he maybe the symbol for perserverance that saves this season.

if anyone bothered to read my previous post, they more then likely think my lofty prediction of wallace scoring 3 TD's against carolina is some rant from an over optomistic fan, but...if mando's column concerning the deep ball is acurate, then my prediction becomes legit. consider, wallace's stats in pittsburgh, consider both wallace and tannehill and the skill set needed and then some, consider carolina's secondary, consider that since the wallace signing everyone in the dolphins organization(fans included) have been waiting if not expecting to witness first hand the tannehill to wallace BOMB, now consider that most deep passes to wallace have been underthrown, or thrown in tight coverage, this very fact tells me the reason the deep game has not yet developed is because wallace has NOT been properly utilized for the deep game to succeed. according to mando's article they are now going to overthrow an open mike wallace who already has his man beat, and allow ross to get a return for his investment by allowing wallace to use his rare gift(blazing speed) to go and get it! so i ask, how is my prediction a lofty goal? the only thing lofty about it is that miami has NOT been able to do so previously. i don't feel as though i'm going out on a limb at all, we have the speed, we have the arm, we have the desire...it's coming, MIKE WALLACE 3 TD's!

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