Dolphins Watch

September 14, 2009 2:25 AM

No offense dooms Dolphins

It was a loss that was reminiscent of the way the Dolphins started 2008: No offense and sloppy play.

The Dolphins' 19-7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons was also the continuation of a preseason trend.

Miami (0-1) could not run the football, gaining just 96 yards on the day.

The team also struggled through the air, as Chad Pennington completed 21-of-29 passes, but for only 176 yards, one TD and one INT.

The Dolphins didn't stretch the field enough all day, and the one time they did, rookie Pat White overthrew a wide open Ted Ginn by a good seven yards.

The offensive line was terrible, as left tackle Jake Long was beaten for two sacks, including one where he got run over by defensive end John Abraham.

Ronnie Brown also whiffed on a block that resulted in backup defensive end Kroy Biermann sacking Pennington and producing a fumble, which the Falcons recovered. Biermann and Abraham combined for all four of Atlanta's sacks.

Tight end Anthony Fasano was the biggest culprit, fumbling twice in key situations. The first time, he killed a Dolphins drive inside the Falcons' 15. The second fumble led to Atlanta's final points, a field goal by Jason Elam.

For a team with little margin for error, the Dolphins gave the football away too often -- four times on the day. Part of the reason Miami went from 1-15 to 11-5 last season was the Dolphins set an NFL record for fewest turnovers in a 16-game regular season with 13.

The Dolphins also could not stop future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez, who repeatedly beat safeties Yeremiah Bell and Gibril Wilson for big plays. Gonzalez finished with five catches for 73 yards, and he pushed Bell aside on the way to a 20-yard TD.

Pass coverage was a weak point for the Dolphins' safeties all preseason, and it reared its ugly head against Atlanta.

The Dolphins did manage to shut down the Falcons running game, holding Atlanta to 68 yards. But Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was good enough to compensate, completing 22-of-36 passes for 229 yards and two TDs.

The Dolphins did not look good, and their offense needs to pick up if they're going to beat Indianapolis on Monday night next week.

(Photo: Yahoo images)

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