Saturday night, the Miami Dolphins could not find a running lane. Quarterback Chad Henne had his second strong game in a row, but the offensive line, and the running game, were completely inept. Rookie running back Daniel Thomas led the team with 16 yards. Newcomer Larry Johnson had 7 more. And finally, starter Reggie Bush finished with -1 yard.
That's right, the Miami Dolphins, a team to built to be a power running offense, finished the game with 22 yards. To understand how bad it was, that's a 1.29 yards per carry average.
To everyone who watched the game, it was ugly. To those that played it, it was worse. And, Bush isn't having it any more.
"I don't think we handled it well," Bush said following the loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "Come game time, we didn't look good. This is something we're going to have to go back to the drawing board and learn from our mistakes. We're going to have to get better, because in two weeks, we're playing a pretty good team."
That pretty good team is the AFC East defending champions New England Patriots, led by the NFL's first ever unanimous AP MVP, quarterback Tom Brady. And, not only are the Dolphins facing "a pretty good team," but they are doing it in prime time, on Monday Night Football, on opening week.
If Bush, and the rest of the running game, don't get back to the drawing board soon, the entire NFL is going to get a prime time view of how bad a power running team MIami really is.
"We've been practicing every day. At this stage, we shouldn't be having these mistakes we've been having," Bush stated. "Whether it's a misblock or a misread, or a dropped catch, incomplete, fumbled ball. Those things we can't have. We've got to limit those mistakes. If we want to be a premiere team in this league, we can't have those.
"We have a good team," he continued. "A really good team, and I'm not just being biased because I'm on the team. I thought we did some really good things [Saturday]. We missed a lot of opportunities because we beat ourselves. It wasn't like they stopped us."
A lot of those mistakes, the opportunities the Dolphins missed , included a little yellow handkerchief being thrown on to the field. The Dolphins were whistled for penalties 11 times, racking up 76 free yards for the Buccaneers.
"It was the penalties," Bush admitted. "A screen catch [is dropped] by me, or a turnover by Brandon [Marshall]. Little things like that hurt us. Penalties are something we can't have against a good team. Especially in the division we play in."
Bush has identified the majority of the problems the Dolphins had on Saturday. The real question now is, can the team fix them before Thursday's preseason finale against the Cowboys? Or, even more importantly, can they fix them before Week 1 against the Patriots?
If not, this power running team may need a new identity.
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