Monday, November 15, 2010

Dolphins win one at home!

The game was a little odd...

You started with the QB switch in the week leading up to the game.  Pennington was *the guy* and Henne was relegated to the bench. 

The game starts and the Titans came out, and on the second play from scrimmage, called time out.  Then, a couple of plays later, they challenged a play and lost, and thus gave up another timeout.  In comes Pennington and on the first play, he gets hit - nothing that looked too bad but he was slow to get up.  And after his second play, he calls timeout and leaves the game.

I'll admit, my first thought was that this was some sort of a ruse - that the Dolphins made Pennington the starter to throw off the Titans, and were going to insert Henne at times just to keep them off-balance.  I'm in the stands, so you really don't know what's happening.  A while later, I heard some guy who was listening to the radio say that it was a shoulder injury.  And sure enough, Pennington left the sidelines a short time later.

While I give them credit for being aggressive on the first couple of plays, when Henne entered the game, they went run, run.  Its third down, and ANOTHER timeout is called.  Its been 3 minutes of gametime, and we already have a record for most timeout calls.  Anyway, on third, he goes long, and the Dolphins score.  No settling for field goals here. Sweet.

The game goes on for a while, with the Dolphins continuing to be aggressive on offense.  The db covering Marshall claims to have known exactly what play was coming, and that pretty much shut Marshall down.  But what the rest of the team didn't know was that there were other players on the field, and Miami used them all well.  In particular, Fasano got open, and they went long to Hartline a few times.  It was some good playcalling, and good execution.

And the Dolphins seemed to ignore Randy Moss most of the day.  They let him run his routes with mostly a zone defense.  How weird is that?  Maybe he doesn't have 'it' any more?

At the end of the half, there was a little weirdness as the Dolphins elected to let Tennessee run out the clock, rather than forcing them to punt, and putting on a rush, but that's fine.  Special teams are not-so-great in Miami.  At one point, the Fins had a fake punt themselves that was so poorly executed - and so telegraphed - that the Titans were in position for an easy score.

Okay, we're in the third, and The Titans Kerry Collins limps off the field, so Vince Young comes in.  He bobbled one that the Dolphins gobbled up to set up a score.

And now we're late in the third quarter, and Henne drops back to pass and has a rush, he's brought down as he tries to pass, and he lays there for a while.  He is helped off, and we're ready for Thigpen.  Except that there are about 2 minutes left in the 3rd.  If Thigpen comes in, Henne can't come back - assuming he's able to.  Thigpen starts onto the field and gets called back off.

The Dolphins (wisely) choose to go Wildcat for a few plays to see if Henne can re-enter and/or to wait until the 4th because if Thigpen enters then, you can still bring back Henne.  Fans boo, because they don't like the wildcat anymore.  But a little trickeration changes their mind: you had Marshall throw a pass that was nearly complete.  Then, some exceptional blocking springs Ricky a couple of times, then Ronnie.  The 4th ends, and Thigpen enters.

He does a pretty good job of moving the ball around.  He's got 'wheels' so he moves around and runs a couple of times, he uses the playaction, and he generally made good decisions.  Now early on, his passes were off-target, but seeing as how he hasn't played in the better part of two seasons, I'm not surprised.

The defense pretty much stifles the Titans last few chances, and the fins come away with their first home victory.  As for that defense, they did a really nice job of coming up with variations in personnel and scheme to keep the Titans guessing.  I saw Smith, Davis, Bell, and Clemons alternating with (newly signed) Harris, Reshad Jones, and an occasional linebacker, along with the more expected sets.  It was odd, but extremely effective, and that really set up he defense well.

Now for the bad news: Pennington is done for the season, and is expected to be put on IR as early as today.  Henne is out for at least a few weeks (and they'll consider IR later).  And that means that the Dolphins have one QB left in Thigpen.  Speculation at the end of the game and into this morning has been rampant.  I'm sure Jeff Ireland pulled out his rolodex and started looking up numbers in the 4th quarter.

And with the Fins playing on Thursday, this is a tall task...

Also troubling, Vernon Carey left the game at one point, but returned.  And Jake Long never left the game, but is having an MRI on his shoulder today.
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