The NFL season, and especially that of our own Miami Dolphins, has its ups and downs, just like the stock market. With that concept in mind, I thought we should take a weekly look at the ups and downs of the Dolphins.
Chad Henne - Is there any doubt here that Henne is trending up? Just a few weeks ago, the fans at practice were calling for Denver quarterback Kyle Orton, then in Week 1, Chad Henne went toe-to-toe with the NFL MVP, Tom Brady, and held his own. He threw for a career-high 416 yards and two touchdowns. He did have one interception, but it came on the last play of the game as Henne tried to force a play that would have simply made the score look a little closer. Henne's not an elite NFL quarterback after one week, but he sure looked like it for one game.
Anthony Fasano - Fasano has surprisingly consistent stats every single year, but he seems to have been lost from the offense over the last year or so. On Monday night, he reemerged as a receiving threat in the Dolphins offense. He had 5 receptions for 82 yards, gaining nearly a quarter of Miami's 25 first downs (4). It seemed like every time Miami needed a big gain, there was Fasano open in the middle of the field.
Brandon Fields - Fields is really an amazing punter. While punters never get any love, Fields kicked the ball six times for an average of 51.2 yards per kick. His net average is 41.3 yards. Twice, Fields pinned the Pats behind the 20 yard line, with no touch backs. Fields really is a weapon in the field position game.
Reggie Bush - For some reason, there's been a lot of criticism of Bush following the Monday night game. Maybe it's misdirected at Bush when it should be to offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Bush is not a between the tackles runner, finding success there occassionally, but getting stuffed just as often. The running game had problems against New England, but Bush played well. While his yards per carry average was just 3.5 (11 carries for 38 yards), Bush also caught 9 balls on10 targets, for 56 yards and one touchdown. Overall, Bush touched the ball 20 times, gaining 94 yards (4.7 yards per touch), and the one touchdown. Like Fasano, Bush also accounted for four first downs as well. It really wasn't as bad a day as some people seem to think it was.
Davone Bess - It seemed like Bess was missing for a chunk of the game - to no fault of his. It seemed like there was no purposeful intention to get Bess touches. But, when you look at it after the game, Bess was targeted seven time, the same number as Brian Hartline, one more than Fasano, and over half as many as Brandon Marshall. Of those seven targets, Bess caught five balls, for 92 yards (18.4). As quiet as it seemed, Bess actually got his touches and performed to the standards we all have for Bess.
Clyde Gates - Gates seemed tentative at times on returns, but he still ended up with six returns for a 21.5 yards per return average. Not too shabby for a rookie kick returner playing in his first game.
Larry Johnson - Johnson was active on Monday night, but never found the field. Whether that was a coach's choice, or he didn't play for another reason, Johnson could have been used on Monday night. The fact that he didn't play shoudl tell you that the coaches don't trust him.
Dolphins Defense - The whole unit was just miserable. They only got one sack (Cameron Wake), allowed the Patriots to convert 8-of-13 third downs (61.5%), game up 622 total yards on offense (516 yards passing, 106 yards rushing). They had no answer for Brady. They allowed the two tight ends, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, to each catch seven and six balls each, respectively. They each also scored a touchdown. The defense also allowed the highlight reel 99-yard pass to former Dolphins Wes Welker. There really weren't a lot of positives for the defense this week.
Dolphins Defense/Coaching Staff - Hey, Miami Dolphins. Do you know you are from Miami? I mean, you are the team from the hot, humid climate. The Patriots are from the northeast, where it is typically cooler and more arid. Yet, the Dolphins defense was cramping up all over the place on Monday. Part of it was the no huddle, no substitution scheme the Patriots were using. But, the heat should have been affecting the Patriots to the same degree as the Dolphins, and apparently, Miami was the only ones having an adverse reaction to their own home climate.