OAKLAND CA - NOVEMBER 28: Yeremiah Bell #37 and Channing Crowder #52 of the Miami Dolphins celebrate after they stopped the Oakland Raiders on downs in the fourth quarter at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 28 2010 in Oakland California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
After a win - particularly a convincing win - it's usually easy to decide which players to give our weekly game balls to. But this week is different - thanks in large part to Sunday's win over the Raiders being such an outstanding all-around team effort.
So many of you will probably disagree with my game balls this week because there are so many worthy candidates. But that's fine. After all, this is what our community is all about.
Without further ado, let's get to the awards.
1-Yard Game Ball: Marlon Moore. After making his first two career receptions a week ago against the Bears, the undrafted Fresno State product caught his first career touchdown pass on Sunday - turning a 3rd down curl route into a 57 yard touchdown play and giving the Dolphins a 20-14 lead to open the third quarter. It was Marlon's only catch of the game - but it was a big one.
2-Yard Game Ball: Ronnie Brown & Ricky Williams. The Dolphins were seriously struggling to run the football the past several weeks. And they didn't get off to such a hot start on Sunday, either. But the Dolphins remained committed and that commitment paid dividends, as Ricky and Ronnie found some room to run in the second half - running very physically and breaking tackles on a number of occasions. And it was Ricky's long touchdown run that put a bow on Miami's win.
3-Yard Game Ball: Davone Bess & Brian Hartline. With Miami's number one receiver out with an injury, the Dolphins had to rely on their young receivers to step up. Both Hartline and Bess did just that. Brian caught 4 passes for 75 yards - his fourth consecutive 70+ yard game. Davone, meanwhile, came up huge in his homecoming. Six catches for 111 yards - four of those catches converting 3rd downs. It was his second career 100 yard game and it came on a day when the team needed him to step up.
4-Yard Game Ball: Chad Henne. In his return to the starting role, Henne put together perhaps his best performance of the season against one of the top ranked pass defenses in the league - without his number one receiver. Henne spread the ball around to seven different players, including a couple of absolutely beautiful throws. He did still commit his one head-scratching throw of the game. Still, he put up his 6th career 300 yard passing game and his highest single game yards-per-attempt average in what was a must-win game.
5-Yard Game Ball: The entire Miami Dolphins defense. Think about what this unit did. Facing the second-ranked rushing offense in the NFL - a team averaging over 150 yards rushing per game - the Dolphins limited the Raiders to just 16 yards on 12 carries. Shout outs to a number of key contributors in that effort. Cameron Wake and Koa Misi did a fine job keeping the backs from getting outside of containment. Each had a tackle for a loss. Yeremiah Bell, who also had an interception and fumble recovery, also had a tackle for a loss. Tim Dobbins did an excellent job playing on early downs in place of a banged up Karlos Dansby. Channing Crowder filled running lanes. The defensive line prevented Oakland from getting any push - with props to Paul Soliai for owning former Dolphins center Samson Satele. It was a great day all around for this defense.