In the end, it was all worth the wait. After nearly two hours of delayed action due to frequent lightning strikes in the Jacksonville area, the Dolphins pulled off a narrow one point victory over the Jags, but more importantly the first-team offense was brilliant in the second quarter, shredding the Jags' defense for 21 points.
Chad Henne was as good as we've ever seen him, going 11 of 14 for 151 yards and throwing two touchdowns to Anthony Fasano. And that's not even taking into account the two drops by Marshall and Hartline that, if caught, would have made Henne's first-half performance one completion away from perfection.
Speaking of Marshall, despite yet another mind-blowing drop, he reminded us of why exactly we were so excited about his acquisition in the first place. Four receptions for 65 yards, to go along with two key touchdown producing blocks, and Marshall had himself a pretty solid half of action.
Defensively, things weren't so upbeat. The secondary was abused for much of the game, led by Vontae Davis' and Sean Smith's nightmare drive, in which Vontae was burned for a 35-yard completion and Sean Smith gave up a 22-yarder.
Is it possible that these young corners aren't quite is good as we thought they were, or is that a little too drastic of a reaction to only a preseason game? Time will tell, I suppose. On the bright side, I expect the pass defense as a whole to significantly improve once Nolan begins to implement his exotic blitz packages in the regular season.
On another positive note, the run defense was superb tonight. The Dolphins held Jacksonville to a mere 2.8 yards a carry and stuffed Jones-Drew for -2 yards on 4 attempts. All in all, it was a long night with the weather, but the offensive fireworks in the second-quarter will make it a whole lot easier for Dolphin fans to get some sleep tonight compared to last week's ugly performance.
As for continued evaluation of this game, I'm going to wait until after seeing the taped version on NFL Network 11 p.m. Monday night. Expect the report card to come on Tuesday and in-depth roster analysis on Wednesday and Thursday.
Game Ball: Chad Henne, QB
C. Henne: 11/14, 151 yards, 2 touchdowns
C. Pennington: 3/4, 54 yards, 1 touchdown
T. Thigpen: 8/12, 76 yards
R. Brown: 4 attempts, 5 yards
R. Williams: 3 attempts, 13 yards
P. Cobbs: 9 attempts, 16 yards
L. Hilliard: 4 attempts, 18 yards,
Top 5 Receiving
A. Fasano: 2 receptions, 66 yards, 2 touchdowns
B. Marshall: 4 receptions, 65 yards
D. Bess: 3 receptions, 31 yards
M. Moore: 2 receptions, 32 yards
R. Brown: 2 receptions, 19 yards, 1 touchdown
Top 5 Tacklers
Y. Bell: 4
V. Davis: 3
M. Johnson: 3
S. Smith: 3
J. Folsom: 3
R. Jones: 3
J. Amaya: Interception
T. Culver: Fumble recovery
D. Carpenter: 2/2 field goals, long-31 yards
B. Fields: 3 punts, 27.3 average
N. Carroll: 4 kickoff returns, 25 yard average, long-36