Dolphins run game historically anemic

November, 19, 2010
11/19/10
10:37
AM ET
The Miami Dolphins were forced to start their third-string quarterback Thursday night against the Chicago Bears.

Tyler Thigpen revealed during the week he hadn't taken a single practice rep since the regular season began, and he had only three days to prepare for his first start in two years.

[+] EnlargeRicky Williams and Ronnie Brown
AP Photo/Wilfredo LeeDolphins running backs Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown combined for just six carries for 11 yards against the Bears.
One might think the Dolphins would help him out by letting Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown take as many handoffs as possible.

Whoever would dare think such a thing turned out to be dead wrong. The Dolphins abandoned the run in a 16-0 loss at Sun Life Stadium. It was only the second home shutout in 40 years for Miami.

"You know, that was our game plan," Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long said. "We wanted to come out and establish the run and then protect Tyler. We didn't do either of them."

Three quick nuggets that should disgust Dolfans:

  • The Dolphins rushed for only 39 yards, their worst output since Tony Sparano became head coach.
  • They have rushed for under 100 yards in each of their past eight home games, the longest current streak by any NFL team and the longest such streak in Dolphins history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
  • They tied a franchise record for fewest combined rushes by fullbacks and running backs with seven.
Seven rushing attempts? This from the team that was known for fielding one of the most punishing ground games in the NFL since Sparano took over in 2008.

Brown ran three times for 10 yards. Williams ran three times for 1 yard. Patrick Cobbs ran once for 1 yards. Lousaka Polite didn't have any carries.

Where did the other 27 rushing yards come from? Thigpen on six scrambles, preventing the Bears from adding to their sack total of six.

The only other times Miami running backs ran seven times were, as you would expect, during the Dan Marino era: in a 42-20 loss to the Washington Redskins in 1990 and in a 34-7 loss to the Bears in 1988.

Don Shula watched Thursday night's game from the Dolphins bench. Offensive coordinator Dan Henning calls plays from the booth. I wonder what Shula might've said to Henning had they been on the sideline together.

Sparano justified the low number of handoffs by pointing to the fact the Bears dominated time of possession at nearly 38 minutes, leaving the Dolphins with only 48 offensive plays.

The Dolphins also went into the game with a banged up offensive line and lost center Cory Procter to a knee injury early. That forced left guard Richie Incognito to handle snaps.

"We didn't get out of our way on offense," Sparano said. "We couldn't help ourselves there and really couldn't get off the field consistently on defense.

"So starting to talk about whether or not you didn't run the ball or throw the ball -- now, at one point you're down 16 points you've got to throw the ball."

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

Insider

AFC EAST SCOREBOARD