Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dolphins' record reflects fourth-quarter play

The Miami Dolphins stink in the fourth quarter. Especially as of late.

Miami (0-7) was outscored 10-0 in the final stanza Sunday against the New York Giants en route to blowing a fourth-quarter lead for the second straight week. The Dolphins gave up 15 points to a Tim Tebow-led offense in less than half of a quarter two weeks ago.

Against the Giants, Miami got out to a 14-3 lead in the second quarter and was leading, 14-10, at the half, but stalled in the second despite recording a field goal and holding the Giants to no points in the third quarter.

Third-down play was a killer.

“We were 0-6 in the second half and for a vast number of reasons,” Dolphins coach Sparano told the media Monday. “One was a third-and-18, I don’t know if we got sacked or it was a run. And then we had a couple third-and-3s, a couple third-and-5s that we didn’t convert there. And on the other side they converted some and they made some chunk plays in a couple critical situations.”

Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore took five sacks in the game, though most of New York’s contact with the Miami signal-caller came late when it mattered most.

Moore has been sacked nine times in the fourth quarter of games this year – more than he has in every other quarter (including overtime) combined.

“I thought early in the game, particularly the first three quarters of the game, we kind of were able to keep that pass rush off balance a little bit,” Sparano said. “I mean they got good rushers. They’re going to get there but we were hitting their quarterback more times at that point than they were hitting ours. Then the fourth quarter came. In the fourth quarter, particularly the last two drives, they obviously hit our quarterback a few too many times.”

The Dolphins have been outscored by a 32-9 margin in the fourth quarter over the last three games and 59-25 this season.

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