Miami Dolphins Week 8 Game Ball

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 27: Center Mike Pouncey #51 of the Miami Dolphins receives some instructions against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a preseason game at Raymond James Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Yet again, it's time to give out a game ball following a Miami Dolphins loss.  At least this week, the team seemed to have a fire.  They couldn't keep it going for all 60 minutes, but at least they went at the New York Giants, and they stayed with them for most of the game.

Quarterback Matt Moore looked like a sure beat to get the game ball early, picking apart the Giants defense, and making some impressive scrambles to extend plays.  He was hot early, but fizzled out in the second half.

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall suddenly looked like a wide receiver, starting to actually catch the ball.  He finished the game with 4 catches, on 6 targets, for 55-yards.

Kevin Burnett had a solid game.  He seemed to be everywhere, racking up 10 tackles, 2 for a loss, and 1 pass defensed.  

Steve Slaton scored a rushing touchdown, and had a huge, 42-yard kick off return to give the offense a chance to win the game.  For a guy who was waived by the Texans, claimed by the Dolphins, and then has spent much of the season inactive, it was a great performance filling in for the injured rookie Daniel Thomas.

I nearly gave the game ball to Reggie Bush, who reached the 100-yard rushing mark for just the second time in his six-year career.  His last 100-yard performance was in 2006, when he rushed for 126-yards, also against the Giants. He finished the game with 103-yards rushing on 15 attempts (6.9 ypc), along with 4 catches for 17 yards.   

But, this week's game ball goes to Mike Pouncey.  The rookie center was the best lineman for the Dolphins, playing exceptionally.  He was a factor in pass blocking, and was out, leading runs.  He made holes for Reggie Bush.  And, maybe the most visible reason for his getting the game ball, the team seemed to completely change when he went out with a neck injury.  The Dolphins had to shift Nate Garner from left guard to center for a play, then bring in Ryan Clark to replace Pouncey, and the offensive line was never the same.  In a year where All-Pro left tackle Jake Long is obviously slowed by injury, Pouncey has been the top lineman for the Dolphins.  Luckily, the injury does not seem serious.

I still hope one of these weeks, I can give a game ball to a winning team!

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