Subscriber Services
Weather

Friday, September 08, 2006

The reasons the Dolphins lost

It is 6:30 am and I am sitting at the Pittsburgh airport taking inventory on why the Dolphins lost this frustratingly winnable game.

As Shakespeare would say, let me count the ways:

1. The Dolphins lost because the defense doesn't seem to understand the English language. After the game Zach Thomas admitted there was as many communication problems out there as any game he's played in.

Those communication problems led to several of Miami's breakdowns, especially in the secondary. It surely led to Heath Miller's 87-yard completion and non touchdown touchdown.

2. Ah, the Miller TD. Sorry, but Nick Saban and his coaching staff blew it on that one. It took them seemingly a minute to do what everyone expected them to do right away -- ask for a review.

Sitting in the press box, getting the same feed the coaches get, I could tell almost right away Miller stepped out of bounds before he crossed the goal line. Yet ... no challenge from Saban.

The Steelers celebrated the score ... no challenge.

The teams ran their extra point teams on the field ... no challenge.

I had a hamburger and coke ... still no challenge.

Finally, Saban got around to challenging and even this was an abortion. He double-pumped the throw of the challenge flag. And when he threw it, the former high school quarterback fired underhanded.

And he underthrew it! It didn't reach the closest official. Not even close. It was a half-hearted effort to say the least. No wonder the official didn't see it.

3. Daunte Culpepper, the franchise quarterback didn't exactly play up to expectations. I'm sorry, I understand the guy is being courageous playing although he is not 100 percent. But the final 5 minutes were Feeleylike.

He threw the interception to Troy Palomalu. Then he came back with the interception by Joey Porter that was returned for a TD. Game over.

Hate to say it, but Culpepper didn't have a reputation for being a big-game QB before the game. And he still doesn't.

4. The running game. Or lack thereof. Don't know how much of it is Ronnie Brown, how much is the offensive line, and how much is the excellence of Pittsburgh's defense. But the three conspired to shut down Miami's run.

Yuk.

One point: You will hear from coach Saban or players in the next few days that the Steelers have one of the strongest defenses in the NFL and it is no dishonor to struggle to run against them.

But don't the Dolphins have a fine defense, too? And Willie Parker got 100-plus yards anyway. So don't buy that lame excuse.

OK, my flight is getting ready to board. With the way things have gone in the last 12 hours, I just hope it doesn't go down.

26 Comments:

Blogger Mike Truman said...

I was watching the Miami game last night and couldn't wondering why a washed up, broken leg quarterback could be leading the mighty Dolphons.
Culpepper was true to form last night. Confused on which coverage the Steelers were throwing at him, his stupid dump passes in front of the first down marker and throwing into double coverage deep. The only thing missing was a couple of fumbles early in the game. Enjoy Miami, you're wittnesing the final days of a low IQ quarterback who never won a big game in Minnesota without Randy Moss. Enjoy!!

8:25 AM  
Blogger DwinkinAle said...

Definately many things to work on. Culpepper could have had a better game, but so could have EVERYONE else on the team with the exception of maybe Welker. I guess Culp will get the majority of the critisism since he is more under the microscope. Problem is, the team was pretty bad all around. If other facets of the game were in sync maybe Culpepper doesn't look so bad. He just needs to calm down back there and that will come with with time, better protection, and any resemblence of a running game. It's one game and I can't believe all the Culpepper bashing. It's pathetic and quit frankly unfair. What happened to Chambers? Kind of like looking at the player he has been in the past, no production in the whole first half. He needs to be more cosistant as well. The offensive line looked like the line that we had 2 years ago. Run blocking was non existant and there was somone getting to Daunte on almost every pass play. The secondary was confused. Almost looked like a bunch of Reggie Howard's running around back there completely oblivious to the protection they were supposed to be in. This was a bad game all around people. Daunte wasn't at his best, but neither was anyone else, including the coaching staff. Ok reality check, it was 1 game. I heard the same whining from Broncos fans last year after we whooped up on them the first game. Look how that all turned out. Everyone panic! Rediculous. We have a good team. Definately a wake up call, but we'll be fine.

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Bill said...

Culpepper ain't Marino! Get used to it, Dolphins fans! Daunte showed his true colors late last night, just as he did when he played here in Minnesota. Wait'll he starts fumbling the ball with his smaller-than-average hands; the honeymoon won't last long. Plus, he doesn't run anymore. The Vikings didn't get much in return with this trade, but let's see who has the better record at the end of the season. I don't think either the 'Fins or the Vikes are playoff bound this year.
Bill, St Paul MN

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Kurt said...

I would much rather had a win, but it wasn't all, definitely something they can build on. They hung with the world champions all the way into the 4th quarter. The defense was confused often, but that's fixable, what bothered me was ALL the linebackers and secondary were hitting like little girls, allways being knocked back by the ball carrier. I'm a Zach fan, but he had some oportunities for some big hits and was tentative, definetly not the Zach of yore. The secondary was a clusterf**k. the steeler D is a tough team to rush on, but they did eventually get it going on them in the third quarter, unfortuneatly circumstances kept them from building on that in the 4th. Chambers still has problems reaching low and didn't fight for position on one the first interception, actually on both picks an astute reciever could have broken it up instead of watching it happen. Ronnie will do fine. Daunte will settle down, my concern was that he didn't take any shots deep early on allowing the steelers to defend much less teritory, I'm sure that will come when the O gets better at recognizing and handling blitzes. I believe the mental errors will be less prevalent in each passing game and Daunte will get more comfortable. the sky is not falling.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who walks away from this game not excited is a moron who clearly knows NOTHING about football.

There was not ONE thing that happened last night that will not be resolved over the next few weeks once they get into their "groove"

INT #1 - Bad short throw, it happens.

INT #2 - Did you see the view that they showed from Culpeppers vantage? That defensive play was SICK by Porter, an amazing play.

I am VERY excited from what I saw, then again, I have always said this year is for excitment, next year is for the Superbowl.

I am perfectly content, sorry you are not.

OH and to Bill, the Minnesota guy, you are such a clown. I guess when you are dealing with a dead end team who is coached by someone who was brought in to babysit more than coach, I can understand your anger. Good luck with that.

The Vikings have proven to be one of the most worthless organizations with the most pathetic decision making I have ever seen. Enjoy your season, and make yourself useful and cover a spread for once!

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Secondary is an issue though, forgot to mention that.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you looked at the Dolphins with a critical eye before the season started you could have easily predicted what happened lastnight. One, our offensive line is mediocre at best and can't open holes for Ronnie. Ronnie made some very nice moves, but it didn't matter much b/c he was getting hit and dodging people before he got to the line of scrimmage. And, please don't tell me how great the Steeler's D is.....it doesn't matter....you still have to perform and/or adjust your gameplan. The dolphins lost this game mainly b/c they had to give up on the run by the second quarter....which led to putting Culpepper and the rest of the offense in bad situations. Second, our secondary is still a big work in progress. If it can't perform any better than they did lastnight, we may be looking at another 8 win season. Third, Daunte has ball control issues, and he showed it lastnight. He was way too jittery in the pocket and never seemed comfortable. I only saw him let loose on about three passes. Some of the passes he made were ridiculously ugly....even when he wasn't being pressured. He should sit until he's 100% health but that'll never happen now that he's already started. I was disappointed by game's end b/c i really think we had a shot to win this ballgame, but we let it get away. it happens on the road, but the dolphins need to find a way to step on an opponents throat and not let them up. Unfortunately, if you can't run....you can't finish games.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you looked at the Dolphins with a critical eye before the season started you could have easily predicted what happened lastnight. One, our offensive line is mediocre at best and can't open holes for Ronnie. Ronnie made some very nice moves, but it didn't matter much b/c he was getting hit and dodging people before he got to the line of scrimmage. And, please don't tell me how great the Steeler's D is.....it doesn't matter....you still have to perform and/or adjust your gameplan. The dolphins lost this game mainly b/c they had to give up on the run by the second quarter....which led to putting Culpepper and the rest of the offense in bad situations. Second, our secondary is still a big work in progress. If it can't perform any better than they did lastnight, we may be looking at another 8 win season. Third, Daunte has ball control issues, and he showed it lastnight. He was way too jittery in the pocket and never seemed comfortable. I only saw him let loose on about three passes. Some of the passes he made were ridiculously ugly....even when he wasn't being pressured. He should sit until he's 100% health but that'll never happen now that he's already started. I was disappointed by game's end b/c i really think we had a shot to win this ballgame, but we let it get away. it happens on the road, but the dolphins need to find a way to step on an opponents throat and not let them up. Unfortunately, if you can't run....you can't finish games.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Randy said...

oh yeah.....one more thing. what the hell was up with the challenge by Saban. It was ridiculous, and i can't believe he's trying to blame anyone else but himself for what happened. and, for those people who say it doesn't matter b/c they would've had a first and goal from the 2 yard line anyway...weren't you watching when the Steeler's fumbled on the two yard line earlier in the game.......you never, ever take something like that for granted. Make the other team earn every damn inch.

2:04 PM  
Blogger NYdolfan84 said...

Truman and Bill- More disgruntled Vikings' fans? Why come on a Dolphins' blog and complain when you should be worried about your own organization. Culpepper stunk last night, but you are quick to forget how good he was before last year. All you Vikings fans are pathetic. I doubt you were complaining about Culpepper when he led you past the Packers in the playoffs two years ago. But as most "homer" fans you are blind to reality and blame Culpepper not your hard-headed rookie coach for his departure. I'll take the low IQ QB who is in the top-10 all time for Completion % and QB Rating over Brad Johnson anyday.

C-Pepp's success certainly wasn't all Moss. Look how mediocre Moss was last year. Culpepper looked very rushed in the pocket last night, but that can be improved.

For the record and to be fair...the "homer" Dolphin's fans who predict 13 or more wins and a Super Bowl ring make me just as sick. I love the Phins with all my heart, but we havent been to the playoffs in the better part of a decade. There is NO evidence that we are ready to leapfrog the Pats, Steelers, or Colts. Teams with playoff experience, better offensive line play, and for 2 of the 3, Super Bowl Rings. Manning has been a playoff bust, but we don't have the secondary personnel to stop him. I think we have a shot at winning 10 or 11 games and a good chance at the playoffs. As of today, it looks like we have too many holes on the o-line and secondary to win it all.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there were to many errors on defense and offense, Culpepper miss some passes that could transfer into easy first downs, Ronnie Brown did not perform except for the 2 touchdowns, I think we will miss Ricky this year, Ronnie needs to improve on finding the hole and explode. Savan missed 2 challenges, the first one when Marty booker cought the ball and got injured, for me that was a complete pass and he fumbled the ball after hitting the ground, and the second one I have no words. I still believe the Dolphins showed yesterday that they have a good team untill the third quarter, but they have to work on the mistaked from the secondary.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Miami performed much tougher than anyone else believes they did. I say this because they were in the game up until the last 6 minutes while playing against the world champs. Pittsburgh is a very under-rated team. No one in the media gives them any respect. They are an extremely tough team with an incredible D...and Miami hung in there. Saban screwed up and should blame no one but himself. Pittsburgh will start to tank when someone starts believing in them. They use the negativity as fuel..ie. winning 8 straight last year. It's a long season and Miami will get better, but I still belive that Pittsburgh has the edge still.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Cesar said...

Armando, I asked about the nature of the dolphins o-line in a post previously on your question and answer sessions and it still seems to me that, even this early on in the season, that the o-line is suspect at times. Every o-line has their day but I think this is our main weakness on offense. And, at the moment, the defensive backs are as weak as they have ever been. Thank goodness that the dolphins schedule is a bit soft in places so I do forsee a playoff appearance, but, unfortunately, I also see an early exit.

Thanks for your insight Armando and time!
Cesar

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here it is,
1. The fulback missed a ton of blocks which should have been done.
2. When the defense is super fast spread them out not close them in you made it easy to blitz.
3. the line would telegraph pass they should be in 3 pt stance all game.
4. over persuit should be addressed for defensive ends and for outside line backers
5. need a new secondary have to do a lot to change or a long season will happen

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two problems which were visible in the preseason were still there last night. (1) O line can pass protect but not run block. (2) Secondary gives up big plays.

In addition, the D had trouble stopping Parker, and by the fourth quarter they looked totaly pathetic. If Saban had challenged the TD, does anyone doubt that the Steelers would have punched it in on the very next play ? Did you expect Batch to fumble again ?

I thought Pepper looked pretty good. I certainly wouldn't want Ferotte, Feely, or Fiedler back. So he is not a top-five QB in the league, and never will be. But he is certainly in the top ten. He has weaknesses. Get used to it. He won't win the games totally by himself, but neither do Brady and Manning.

The QB position has been improved, and we have very nice skill players on offense. Special teams are good. Everything else looks pretty suspect right now.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dancing Ronnie should be his nick name. Brown stuttersteps EVERY TIME!!!!!! He needs to hit the gaps hard, PERIOD!

Maybe he should be on Dancing with the Stars...

11:38 AM  
Blogger LaQuin said...

On the subject of the Miami running game vs. Pittsburgh's running game....Pittsburgh has a better O-line. Right?

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Fantus said...

First game of the season, and a lot of things to work on. I'm not judging a whole season by one game, and there were a few bright spots. Lot to work on, namely the O-Line and Secondary, and everyone knew that coming into the season. It will be good enough to handle the average teams, but doesn't bode well against championship caliber teams. Hopefully we will see Pittsburgh again, and have a better outcome.

To the Minnesota Culpepper haters: Culpepper will have a pro bowl year, mark my words. We aren't asking him to throw to one guy every play, and he will be able to spread the ball around.. Also, Don't mention Miami in the same breath as Minnesota, you guys will be bottom of the barrel. Sorry. You got a 2nd round pick from Miami, then some genius got something else from Miami. Spielman. He does great things with 2nd round picks.

To anonymous about Ronnie Brown Dancing when he should be hitting the gaps: What gaps are you reffering to? This wasn't the same problem he had last year when he was hesitent. Ronnie did good for what he had, he was carrying defenders with him, and hitting hard. 2TD runs is nothing to scoff at either.

If the o-line and secondary improves to just beyond average, we will have a great year. And Culpepper will be fine, for a guy they didn't think could start till October, and not 100% till next year, he did some nice things. It'll get a lot better.

3:15 PM  
Blogger NYdolfan84 said...

Fantus...your post was right on the money...Not totally sure if Daunte is going to have a pro-bowl year, but he should get much better! There were no holes for Ronnie to run through. He makes the most out of what he can. Being in NY i have been arguing with Bills' fans constantly since the game. I just pray that we destroy their pathetic franchise next sunday...and get back on track

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all the Viking Culpepper haters: We'll see how great your team is when they show up in Miami on Nov. 19th. Hope the Vikings are ready. Daunte (and the rest of the Dolphins) will be.

12:46 AM  
Anonymous wil keepers said...

I am a Harrington fan from Oregon, but what I see here is ridiculous. Culpepper was the least of this teams problems. It starts with the horrible play of the secondary. Saban delaying the flag distracts from the fact that a little dump across the middle has no business going for 87 yards. It will be a long season if there isn't a better secondary soon. Second big problem was the running game. I don't know whether that is the fault of the backs or the line, but no qb will succeed with all the focus on him when there is no running game to speak of. Even Elway didn't win a superbowl until they got a decent ground game. Culpepper made mistakes in the 4th quarter especially, but he is not the problem, and if he is supported, he will improve greatly.

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To realize how close this game was, the Dolphins D stopped Pittsburg on their own 16 yard line leading 17-14. A cheap penalty call (hands to the face) gave Pitt the first down that lead to the go ahead score after a long drive. It may have been only one isolated play but my guess is that if there was no penalty on that 3rd down Pitt punts and the Dolphins have decent field position, maybe score another TD or FG and put the game away. It was only one play but it was a real backbreaker in my opinion.

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Jon said...

You people who Think Culpepper looked 'Feeley esk' are morons. Look at the 2 picks. 1. They came with 5 minutes left in the game, and the Dolphins were down, everyone knew they had to throw, so Pisstburg dropped into zone and blitzed the Linebackers. Of course you're gonna throw Picks...ask Peyton Manning. 2. The first pick was a fluke. Polamalou(sp?) Made an amazing play that most safety's couldn't make. If he doesn't get the ball, Chambers is gone for a TD. The second one was just a bad read, it happens.3. Feeley like? Oh no, Feeley throw's were picks as soon as they left his hand, The defense didn't have to make great plays because they were easy picks. Look, it was one game against the best defense in football. The defense is the reason they lost, not the offense or the failed challenge. Plus, the o-line wasn't on their A-Game by any means. They have 3 practice games basically (Buffalo,Tennesee, Houston) Before they play another big game, and that's followed by 2 more cake walks (Jets, Packers). This team will be fine. People need to cut this doom and gloom crap, it's just one game!

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our offensive line just isnt getting the push that you need to be a consistant running team I have no idea how we managed 4.4 ypc last year. We've looked awful against Carolina and Pitt's D line. Look how Atlanta tore them up this week with 250+. Clearly, we need to go out and do something about this O-line next year

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They lost because they suck... hahahahahaha

from your beloved JetsFAn Troll

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After all is said and done, I do not know why Miami did not go for it on 4th down and less then 2 late in 4th qtr. Instead we punted and Pitt scored on next play to Miller. Dante played ok, but he tried to force it when the game was on the line. Jason Taylor getting sucked in on an option play that converted a 4th down for Pitt... Those two plays, basically decided the game. Miami could not stop Pitt and we did not try to convert on 4th down...

11:56 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home