After giving up only 29 total points and getting two wins the first two weeks of the season, the Miami Dolphins have lost their last two, and allowed 31 points in week three against the Jets and 41 last week against the Patriots.
So what has changed from the first two weeks of the season to the last two?
Well, playing Buffalo in week one helps, but the major change has been Miami’s running game. In weeks one and two the Dolphins had over 120 yards on the ground in each game with the duo of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. But in weeks three and four Brown and Williams combined for only 82 yards against the Jets and 83 against the Pats.
It’s not rocket science. When Miami’s running game doesn’t work, Miami doesn’t win. They are a team built around their two great backs so Chad Henne, who is a mediocre quarterback at best, doesn’t have to make the same plays elite quarterbacks in the league make. In other words, manage the game -- not win it.
In their win against the Vikings, Henne only chucked the pigskin 15 times. He had a touchdown pass, didn’t turn the ball over, and had a quarterback rating of 106, while Brown and Williams carried the load. The Vikings are a great team with a fantastic defense and Miami played to their strengths beautifully to win a close game.
Against the Patriots, Henne attempted to complete 39 passes, threw three interceptions and recorded a quarterback rating of 81.4. Granted, the Dolphins lost the game on Monday night mainly because of pathetic special teams play.
Miami is just a far better team when they run the ball well. It takes the pressure off their defense and especially Chad Henne. However it’s not going to be easy in the upcoming weeks.
After their bye week, Miami will face the most gruesome schedule the NFL has to offer - Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Tennessee and Chicago.
If the Dolphins can’t find way to rack up the yards on the ground, they may only have two wins against those six teams, at Cincinnati and at home against the Bears, who are on their way down off their early-season high.