After coming alive in Jacksonville last week, the offense took a step in the wrong direction tonight. Chad Henne looked like a completely different quarterback than the guy who went 11 for 14 against the Jags, Brandon Marshall and Brian Hartline each had another dropped pass, penalties plagued any momentum the Dolphins' briefly flashed, and perhaps most troubling, the running game was inept.
I know the Falcons have a pretty solid front seven, but Ronnie and Ricky carrying the ball a combined 12 times for 14 yards is completely unacceptable. Maybe we have prematurely chalked the Dolphins' rushing attack up as one of the best in league, because they haven't showed anything so far that suggest that is the case. Tonight the offensive line provided zero push, Ronnie and Ricky appeared too hesitant, and Dan Henning wasn't exactly calling his best game-running a few too many draw plays for my liking.
Henne finally got the passing game going a bit toward the end of the first-half, connecting on two long passes to Marshall to set Miami up inside the redzone, but made his first mistake of the year, trying to force a ball into Fasano that was tipped and picked off.
Defensively, things weren't great, but we saw enough positives signs to feel good about things, considering Nolan still isn't blitzing. The pregame headlines centered around Jason Allen surpassing Sean Smith in the starting lineup, which lead to all sorts of speculation. Allen went on to surrender Atlanta's starters' only touchdown, on a Matt Ryan to Roddy White pass, and we later learned Smith was only being punished for violating a team rule.
When he finally came into the game, though, Smith was burned pretty severly on a double-move by White, which should have resulted in touchdown, but luckily Ryan badly overthrew him. On the other side, his second-year starting counterpart was phenomenal tonight. Vontae Davis was breaking up passes left and right, all the while continuing to be terrific in run support, forcing a fumble around the line of scrimmage on a third and one in the second quarter.
On another positive note, the run defense was finally tested. After looking a bit shaky early on, the Dolphins put together a great effort by holding Micheal Turner to only 47 yards on 16 attempts, which is just under three yards per carry.
All in all, it's going to be hard for the Dolphins to come out of tonight's game with their heads held high, nor should they, but I think it was just a matter of not executing on offense, and on defense we may have seen a young corner take a big step at growing up in front of our eyes.
Joey Haynos: left game with what appeared to be a serious foot injury, MRI to come tomorrow
Jake Grove: came out with a shoulder injury, but it reportedly wasn't serious, and he would have likely returned in a regular season game
Karlos Dansby: went in for an X-ray after the game on his knee, but said it was just precautionary afterward
Brian Hartline: left game with a quad or hamstring injury, but it didn't appear too serious
C. Henne: 10-22, 123 yards, 1 interception
C. Pennington: 7-14, 62 yards
P. White: 4-4, 27 yards
M. Moore: 1 carry, 12 yards
R. Brown: 8 carries, 9 yards
C. Pennington: 1 carry, 9 yards
P. Cobbs: 2 carries, 6 yards
P. White: 1 carry, 5 yards
R. Williams: 4 carries, 5 yards
L. Polite: 1 carry, 0 yards
Top 5 Receiving
B. Marshall: 3 receptions, 51 yards
R. Williams: 5 receptions, 43 yards
B. Hartline: 3 receptions, 31 yards
R. Wallace: 3 receptions, 28 yards
R. Brown: 1 reception, 19 yards
Top 5 Tackles
V. Davis: 7
T. Dobbins: 5
P. Soliai: 5
M. Johnson: 4
N. Carroll: 3
Y. Bell: interception
V. Davis: forced fumble
K. Dansby: fumble recovery
D. Carpenter: 2/2 field-goals, long: 53
B. Fields: 7 punts, 38.3 average
N. Carroll: 2 kickoff returns, 19 yard average
D. Bess: punt return, 10 yards
M. Moore: punt return, 3 yards