Dolphin Digest: Henne, Fasano And A Rough Night On Defense

Posted Sep 12, 2011

Some random thoughts on a night that started off so well only to end in disappointment:

  • The obvious question right off the bat is: Was Tom Brady that good or was the Dolphins defense that bad? The answer is yes.
  • Not to be a smart guy, but it indeed was a combination of both. The Dolphins linebackers and defensive backs had a very difficult night in coverage and the pass rush was virtually nonexistent. And when the coverage was good, Brady made a great throw or his receivers made a great catch.
  • Lost in the avalanche of New England yards was the performance of Chad Henne. Yes, his numbers were inflated because the Dolphins had to pass on almost every down playing in catch-up mode late in the game, but he played a very, very good game.
  • Perhaps the best thing about Henne’s performance was his scrambling, something he didn’t do enough last year.
  • On the flip side, it’s not good that Henne ended up as the team’s leading rusher.
  • The running game was particularly disappointing in short yardage, and it ended up costing the Dolphins in a big way. A first-and-goal from the 1 ended up being a field goal and a fourth-and-goal from the same distance was stopped when the Dolphins tried for an alley oop. That’s 11 points right there.
  • Then again, the way the defense was giving up yardage, it wouldn’t have made a difference.
  • Loved the Dolphins going for it on fourth-and-1 from the New England 21-yard line on the first drive of the game — and that was before Lex Hilliard converted the first down with a 2-yard run. The call just showed the kind of aggressiveness that can only benefit the Dolphins.
  • The catch by Anthony Fasano down to the 1-yard line on that first drive easily was the best I’ve seen him make since he joined the Dolphins in 2008. Regardless of what his stats said, Fasano never had a better game in a Miami uniform.
  • Unfortunately, the New England tight ends did even more damage. Both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez abused the Dolphins linebackers and secondaries.
  • Loved the play call on Henne’s touchdown run. Really, when is the last time we saw the Dolphins call a quarterback draw? To prove just how good a call it was, Henne scored fairly easily on the play and he’s far from the most nimble quarterback in the league.
  • Brandon Fields has picked up right where he left off last year, didn’t he? After a great preseason, he was booming 50-yarders consistently against New England and then hit a high punt to pin the Patriots back at their 10-yard line late in the first half.
  • Cameron Wake got close to Brady on a couple of occasions in the first half and recorded a sack, but, as mentioned before, the pass rush was woefully inadequate. Someone besides Wake needs to step up.
  • Why was it that the Dolphins appeared to have issues with cramps, while we didn’t notice any of that happening with the Patriots?
  • The encouraging part of this game was the passing game, but it won’t get much easier for the defense next Sunday when the Houston Texans come to Sun Life Stadium.
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