Worst to First
Miami Dolphins from worst to first? Nobody believed it could happen and some still don’t. Bottom line is the Miami Dolphins are three wins away from going worst to first. We are winners of six out of our last seven games and our next two opponents combine for less wins than we have, and the last of our remaining opponents has lost two straight games. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to start looking for hotel room availabilities in Tampa Bay but a Miami Dolphins playoff game is becoming more and more realistic every week.
It would be easy to start breaking down why we are in this situation, but we all know why. Better coaching, better QB play, consistent O-line play, Wildcat, the list can go on. Instead let’s look at the next week and what needs to take place to keep our first playoff spot in 7 seasons secure.
The 49ers present an interesting challenge, they’ve won their last two games and their confidence is as high as it’s been all year. Frank Gore is almost certainly going to go over the 1000yd mark if he plays (ankle) and undrafted Quarterback Shaun Hill has a QB rating of 95.5. Still the 49ers are very vulnerable defensively, giving up over 25pts and 330yds a game. The Dolphins must focus on getting the ground game working, to open up the pass. Nate Clements was hurt last week but Favre couldn’t capitalize because the running game for the Jets was allowing the 49ers to sit back on defense. Miami must run early and often and wear down the D-Line of the Niners, giving Pennington more time to throw and find Ginn, and Bess down the field. I’d love to see us test the 49ers secondary a little bit as well, maybe throwing a few bombs downfield to Ginn and give him a chance to use his speed. Defensively we MUST control Frank Gore. Our defense hasn’t allowed a TD in almost 8 quarters and in order for that to continue keeping Gore under 75yds is imperative. Our secondary is over achieving and keeping Steven Jackson and Marshawn Lynch under 100yds is the reason we have been doing so well. If you look at the last game we got beat, the Patriots threw for over 400yds, no coincidence that they also ran for over 100. It’s pretty cut and dry; we hold down the opponents running game, our secondary plays better, we win. The last aspect to note in this game is special teams. The 49ers are in the top-10 in both KR and PR and we have given up 2 PR touchdowns this year. We can control them defensively but if we allow them to make plays in the special teams, we WILL NOT win this game. Allen Rossum is a dynamic returner and if we fall asleep, he will burn us, along with our control of our destiny.
I’m looking forward to this game, I think it’s a test and I hope we aren’t over looking them. Last home game of the year should get the stands packed out and excited, let’s just hope we come out with intensity and a desire to win!