This post is sponsored by Comcast and their NFL RedZone channel. Want to see every touchdown from every NFL game as it happens as well as live look-ins to all of Sunday's games in key situations? Then you need Comcast's NFL RedZone.
The Dolphins went into last Sunday's game as one of the best teams in the NFL in turning red zone trips into touchdowns. That's why their struggles last week were so surprising to me - especially their inability to convert a "goal to go" situation into six points.
Perhaps it was Miami's opening possession that set the tone last week. After a Vontae Davis interception, Miami began the drive at Tennessee's 25 yard line. Two plays later, the Dolphins had a 1st & 10 from the 13. But that's when this "drive" stalled - with a Ricky Williams two yard run, an incomplete pass, and a short completion to Anthony Fasano. While I like the decision to take the points rather than trying to convert on 4th down, I was left with a sour taste in my mouth.
Miami's next red zone trip came thanks to a Chad Henne to Davone Bess pass completion, setting up the Fins with a 1st & goal from Tennessee's 8 yard line. This is when poor execution cost the Dolphins. After Pat White came in on first down and carried for a yard, Lex Hilliard carried on second down for just two more. Would I have rather have seen a pass here? Yes - I'm not particularly a fan of running the ball on back to back plays inside the 10 but short of the 5. Either way, if you demand on running it - let's use Ricky, please. I know he fumbled earlier - but he's still Ricky. Anyways, a Brian Hartline false start penalty cost Miami five more yards and the Dolphins would eventually settle for three points.
The next red zone trip ended in disaster when, on the first play from inside the 20, Henne forced a throw to Ricky on a wheel route. It was under thrown as well, resulting in the costly interception. That was the fifth time this year where a red zone trip resulted in no points - and the first time since that disastrous Ricky Williams pass attempt in Buffalo.
The Dolphins did convert for touchdowns on their final two red zone opportunities - both in the fourth quarter. And I'll admit that you have to give credit to Dan Henning for that 4th down play-action pass call with the game on the line. It took some guts to roll out Henne and put the game on his arm. But it was the perfect call in that situation.
Miami's 2 for 5 day in the red zone on Sunday puts the Dolphins at a still impressive 62% success rate of converting these opportunities into touchdowns. And by the way, Miami's five red zone drives on Sunday was the most this offense has had since back in week seven against the Saints.