Alain Poupart: Dansby Leads Strong Defensive Effort

Posted Nov 13, 2011

Some random thoughts and observations on the day the Dolphins rediscovered what it was like to win at Sun Life Stadium.

• This one was mostly about the defense, and the place to start is linebacker Karlos Dansby. Wow, talk about an impressive performance. After a slow start to the season, he’s been coming on in recent weeks and against Washington he was nothing short of dominant.

• Also nice to see Vontae Davis come up with an interception, the first of the season by a Dolphins starting defensive back. Make no mistake, this is a different defense with a healthy Davis back there.

• That’s pretty much the whole story on defense these days: Some key players are starting to play the way they were expected, and that list includes Dansby, Davis and linebacker Kevin Burnett.

• Here’s the difference in this game: Washington had three goal-to-go situations and came away with six points on those. The Redskins kicked two field goals and Dansby stopped the other threat with his first interception of the season.

• Offensively, the big story again was Reggie Bush. Speaking of guys who have been coming on.

• Loved the play-calling on Bush’s second touchdown when he came in motion from the left of Matt Moore, took the handoff in full stride and starting going right before cutting upfield. It makes great use of his speed.

• This was a game where we saw offensive coordinator Brian Daboll try a lot of different things — some that worked, some that didn’t. On the Dolphins’ first snap of the game, we saw the return of the Wildcat. Daniel Thomas took the snap, flipped the ball to Bush after almost mis-handling the snap, and then Bush flipped it back to Moore. The play looked promising when Brandon Marshall got behind the defense, but Moore mis-fired on the throw.

• While I’m not a huge fan of the Wildcat, I really loved the triple-option play where Moore faked an inside handoff to Thomas before pitching out to Bush. Because both Thomas and Bush are accomplished runners, that’s the type of play that gives defenses a lot to think about.

• We also saw the Dolphins call a halfback pass on first-and-goal from the Washington 5-yard line on their first drive. It makes sense considering Thomas was a quarterback in junior college, but Thomas needs to learn that it’s OK to take a short loss on first down instead of trying to force a throw. Thomas got away with it when the Redskins were called for a horse-collar tackle, but call it a rookie mistake.

• It was good to see Jared Odrick record a sack, and it got better when he did a little Pee Wee Herman dance afterward.

• A week after scoring two touchdowns at Kansas City, Anthony Fasano had another impressive outing. He made two great catches in the game, one on a pass thrown behind him where he had to outfight the defender and another where he had to reach above his head on a pass down the middle.

• Moore wasn’t quite as tremendous as he was in Kansas City and he did make a mistake in the first half when he was intercepted, but it was a solid effort nonetheless.

• Moore had a 9-yard gain near the end of the game that all but killed the clock, and he showed some great ball-fake ability on that one because most of the Washington defenders converged on Thomas while Moore went outside.

• So now the Dolphins have two victories in a row, and all of a sudden they look like a team playing well enough to beat just about anybody in the league. Funny what a difference a couple of weeks can make.

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