The Aqua and White jerseys reflected brilliantly against the lights in Sun Life Stadium as the Miami Dolphins played against the Carolina Panthers in their exhibition home-opener. Chad Henne looked to bounce back, just like he did from the Monday Night Scrimmage booing, and have a stellar performance on the field. Reggie Bush and Brandon Marshall sought out to show Miami fans what exactly we missed during the Atlanta game. And Brian Daboll made it his goal to continue his young, aggressive, anti-Henning play calling that had Dolphans in euphoria last week. Let's see how the Dolphins faired against the Panthers on August 19th.
OFFENSE: Last time at Sun-Life Stadium, Chad Henne didn’t get a warm welcoming from the fans, but today, boos turned to cheers quite quickly. Henne started off with a nice, short pass to Brandon Marshall for 7 yards. Two plays later Henne found Marshall once again for the first down. Henne performed a Peyton-Manning-esque play as he hurried for the no huddle and checked down a pass to Reggie Bush for 16 yards (at this point, we all kind of figured out what Reggie brings to the table). Unfortunately, after a 3rd and 9 scramble from Henne for a first down, Jake Long’s backup Lyndon Murtha was flagged for “illegal use of the hands.” Although it was 3rd and 19, Henne was able to fire a strike down the field to Fasano for 15 yards. The drive was over, but fans were content with it, off to the next one. Miami looked to continue what they had going on the last drive, and started it off, once again, with a short pass to Brandon Marshall. The next play had the crowd in cheers as Reggie Bush cut to the left and ran the ball 17 yards down the field. The big plays didn’t end however, as Chad Henne completed a 20-yard pass to Brandon Marshall on a slant route and two plays later completing another check down to Reggie Bush for 17 yards. After trying to punch in the ball three times with Daniel Thomas, Brian Daboll called in Lex Hilliard who leaped over all the linemen and made Tony Sparano forget about his infamous fist pump.
Chad Henne: Henne went 8/10 with 86 yards in the 1st Quarter showing us again how he bounces back from criticism.
Brandon Marshall: Caught 4 balls for 38 yards including a 20-yard slant, which kept the momentum going for Miami.
Reggie Bush: The best surprise of the evening was Reggie Bush as in the 1st Quarter alone; he racked up 60 yards with 27 rushing yards and 33 receiving yards.
Lyndon Murtha: Lyndon Murtha made everyone miss Jake Long as he had two penalties in the 1st Quarter for 20 yards total.
DEFENSE: The Heisman winner, the BCS Champion, the Messiah, Cam Newton was to take the field and have the media drool all over him like a dog wanting the last piece of pork, but the Aqua Curtain stood in his way. All the big names on our defense were involved in this drive as Cameron Wake was able to scare Newton to throw away the ball, Karlos Dansby was able to stop the greedy DeAngelo for a short gain, and Vontae’s Inferno was able to throw his body at Cam Newton, taking his helmet off in the process. After the second offensive drive for the Dolphins, 58 seconds remained on the clock, and shortly after, the quarter was over.
Cameron Wake: Wake pressured Newton to throw the ball away.
Karlos Dansby: Dansby had three tackles on the quarter including two to DeAnglo Williams for very short gains.
Vontae Davis: Davis gave Newton a glimpse of the NFL life as he smashed into him when he scrambled to try to get the first down.
OFFENSE: The offense looked to continue eating time off the clock with long but productive drives. Reggie Bush continued to dominate the ground game picking up a decent 5-yard run up the gut. Later on, Henne was able to carry on the momentum from the 1st quarter into the 2d as he kept on throwing solid 8-10 yard passes to various receivers: Davone Bess (6 yards), Brandon Marshall (8 yards), Brian Hartline (11 yards). Unfortunately, the drive ended after Miami got to the 49-yard line. The Dolphins were able to get the ball once again with 8 minutes left on the clock and sought out to put points on the board. Chad Henne’s first two completions on the drive were to Davone Bess for 17 and 16 yards. Two plays later their was a Daniel Thomas sighting as he ran it up the gut for a very good 10-yard pickup. However, once Miami got to the 21-yard line, they were stopped and settled for a field goal. That, however, wasn’t Miami’s last drive of the half as they were given the ball at their own 35 with just 2-minutes left on the clock. Instead of wasting time and running the ball, Daboll was able to perfectly execute the 2-minute drill (again). Chad Henne started off the drive throwing the ball deep to Anthony Fasano for a pick-up of 38 yards. It all went easy from there as Henne was able to scramble for 17-yards and later hand the ball off to Daniel Thomas who scored the first touchdown in his NFL life.
Chad Henne: Henne had another good quarter going 9/16 with 128 yards (including the scrambles).
Davone Bess: Bess finally got some action as he caught 4 balls for 43 yards.
Daniel Thomas: Thomas finally got his first TD of his NFL career.
Anthony Fasano: 38-yard catch from Henne, which gave Miami the momentum to cap off the drive with a TD.
DEFENSE: Once again, the defense was able to shut down “The Chosen One” with four consecutive 3 and outs and a good job stopping Carolina with limited time on the clock while they were in Miami territory.
Kevin Burnett: Burnett was everywhere on the field with 4 tackles in quarter including two tackles to Cam Newton.
OFFENSE: Matt Moore entered the game looking to have a similar performance to that of Atlanta. After getting the ball down the field with solid runs by both Kory Sheets and Daniel Thomas, Miami settled for another field goal from Dan Carpenter, making the score 20-0. Miami got the ball back again with 5:54 and gained momentum after a 25-yard strike to Marlon Moore. However, after the circus catch, Marlon Moore dropped what would have been a 57-yard pass deep down the left sideline and Brandon Field came in to punt the ball away.
DEFENSE: It was up to the defense to keep Carolina from scoring now that they had more time to put points on the board. A.J. Edds and Nolan Carroll were key components to keeping Carolina from entering scoring position, as both of them were able to get the ball quickly. However, the quarter ended with a 21-yard pass from Jimmy Clausen to Richie Brockell.
OFFENSE: The Dolphins were not able to score in the 4th quarter, but were able to take enough time off the clock to limit the scoring opportunities from Carolina.
Charles Clay: The rookie fullback was able to catch two balls for 12 yards.
Kory Sheets: Sheets continued to have a good day as he finished his day off with 8 rushing attemps for 25 yards.
Lex Hilliard: The “Forgotten Back” showed his versatility in the 4th quarter with 6 carries and 25 yards (avg 4.1)
DEFENSE: After not allowing any points in three quarters, the defense let up a bit and gave up 10 points with more than 8:30 left on the clock. The defense however was able to keep the momentum away from Carolina as they left the field on a 3 and out which gave the offense sufficient time to kneel the ball down and finish the game.
After taking in so much criticism after pre-season week 1, Chad Henne was able to showcase to us all why he is the starting QB by driving the ball with ease down the field without being flustered at any moment , Reggie Bush was able to introduce his talents to South Beach as he was able to have the crowd chant his name in celebration after a plethora of big plays, and Brandon Marshall had Dolphans in relief as his chemistry with Henne seemed to have enhanced during the treacherous lockout . Our offense shined, our defense shined, and now Miami gets ready for one of the up incoming star teams of the NFC, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.