Monday, November 12, 2012

Plenty of blame can go to Dolphins' defense, too


In a 37-3 blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans, the Miami Dolphins' offense turned the ball over four times and frequently put its defense in bad positions.

But that doesn't mean the defensive unit is without blame in the debacle.

"We just couldn't make plays to get off of the field," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said after the game, according to the team's website. "We couldn't stop them."

Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker played his first game since Week 3 and gave the Dolphins' defenders headaches all afternoon. A unit normally strong in third down and red zone situations, Miami's defense allowed the Titans to convert eight of 17 third downs and to score on all four of their chances inside the red zone.

Titans tailback Chris Johnson gained 126 yards on 22 carries and became first opposing player to rush for more than 100 yards against the Dolphins since Ben Tate of the Houston Texans did it in Week 2 of the 2011 season. Johnson also scored a 17-yard first quarter touchdown on a broken play that exemplified the defensive performance for Miami.

Locker also tallied 36 yards on the ground, mostly on a collection of back-breaking scrambles on third and fourth downs.

Miami played poorly in just about every area of the game. In recent weeks, the Dolphins have gotten away from the smart, disciplined play that led to a three-game winning streak that had the city of Miami optimistic about it's football team.

But that team's coach knows that it can't survive the type of mistakes that it's committed the past two weeks, both losses.

"We're not in a position where we can have a lot of negative plays," Philbin added. "Four giveaways, a bunch of penalties. It's not a good formula for us."

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