Regarding imperfections, Dolphins are a 10

December, 10, 2008
12/10/08
5:14
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

DAVIE, Fla. -- Of all the numbers one can crunch to determine how the Miami Dolphins have pulled off their marvelous U-turn, the most amazing is No. 10.

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Through 13 games, the Miami Dolphins have only 10 turnovers, which puts them on pace to set an NFL record for the fewest turnovers per game in a season.
TEAMYRGTOTO/G
N.Y. Giants 1990 16 14 .88
Dallas  1998 16 15 .94
Jacksonville 2002 16 15 .94
Kansas City  2002 16 15 .94
San Diego  2006 16 15 .94
New England  2007 16 15 .94
Miami  2008 13 10 .77

I don't mean Chad Pennington's jersey number, although he's integral to the key stat.

The Dolphins have committed an NFL-low 10 turnovers.

"It ranks very high on the priority list of where we are from a success standpoint," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said.

If the Dolphins can make it out of Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers without a turnover, they will set a record for fewest through 14 games, the length of an NFL season from 1961 through 1977.

The 2007 New England Patriots had 11 turnovers through their first 14 games.

The record for fewest turnovers in a 16-game schedule is held by the 1990 New York Giants with 14. That was Bill Parcells' last season as their head coach.

Miami hasn't committed more than one turnover in any game this year.

Pennington has thrown six interceptions, and Miami has lost four fumbles. The NFL average is 20.3 turnovers (12.0 interceptions, 8.3 fumbles).

"Chad is, in my experience with quarterbacks and skill people offensively, one of the best that I've ever been around as far as taking care of the football and understanding the big picture," Sparano said. "Not a lot of quarterbacks would be fired up going into the game and throw the ball for 180 yards and complete 22 passes or whatever he completed last week, throwing the short stuff, being that patient, understanding the big picture and not turning the ball over."

Unless the Dolphins turn into a "Football Follies" episode over their last three games, they will obliterate their franchise record of 20 turnovers set in 1997.

"A fumble I have a lot less tolerance for in practice than an interception," Sparano said. "In games, I think the response is completely different. Everything that you do in practice is geared towards not doing those things in the game.

"We spend a lot of time talking about it. We coach it. It's important to us. When we get in a game and something like that happens, in most cases the player'll get confronted one way or the other."

The Dolphins also lead the NFL with a plus-12 turnover differential.

They won't touch the franchise record there. The 1978 Dolphins finished with a plus-23 behind a jaw-dropping 53 take
aways.

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