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Dolphins Watch


November 7, 2009 5:37 PM

Dolphins try to slow down Brady

BRADY.bmpThe Miami Dolphins try to run their record to a perfect 4-0 in AFC East play in New England agains the division-leading Patriots. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

After struggling through the early part of the season, the Patriots' offense again looks like the record-setting unit from 2007, when New England became the highest-scoring team in NFL history, and Tom Brady threw for a league-record 50 touchdown passes and Randy Moss caught a record 23 of them.

In their last two games against Tennessee and Tampa Bay, the Pats have rolled up a total of 94 points, and Brady has thrown for nine TD passes and two interceptions.

But again, this was against the Titans and Bucs, two of the worst teams in the league.


The Miami Dolphins try to run their record to a perfect 4-0 in AFC East play in New England agains the division-leading Patriots. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

After struggling through the early part of the season, the Patriots' offense again looks like the record-setting unit from 2007, when New England became the highest-scoring team in NFL history, and Tom Brady threw for a league-record 50 touchdown passes and Randy Moss caught a record 23 of them.

In their last two games against Tennessee and Tampa Bay, the Pats have rolled up a total of 94 points, and Brady has thrown for nine TD passes and two interceptions.

But again, this was against the Titans and Bucs, two of the worst teams in the league.

The problem is, the Dolphins haven't shown much of an ability to stop anyone 's passing game this season, as Miami ranks 21st in the league against the pass and lost cornerback Will Allen for the rest of the season.

That puts the onus of defending Randy Moss on one of the rookies, Sean Smith or Vontae Davis.

Davis is the more physical of the two, which has been known to bother Moss in the past, but Smith is 6-foot-3 and has the leaping ability to at least compete with Moss in the air.

As for Wes Welker, there are few defenders who can match up against him in the slot.

It's no coincidence Brady has suddenly caught fire just as Welker has rounded into form from a knee injury that forced him to miss two of the first three games.

In his last two games, Welker has caught 20 passes for 257 yards and four TDs, and with Allen out, young cornerback Nate Jones will likely draw the honors of trying to stay with him.

Make no mistake, Bill Belichick loves to throw the football, and he loves to rack up points. He and Brady must be salivating at the chance to go against the Dolphins' struggling secondary.

The Patriots' defense will likely throw as many different looks and creative blitzes at Chad Henne as they can. Belichick is the master of rattling young quarterbacks, and the Pats' secondary is much improved (ranking fifth in the league).

Of course, New England is not as strong against the run, ranking 15th, and even the Bucs were able to run the ball consistently against the Pats in London.

This is where Miami must win the battle, with Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams and the Wildcat, which made its debut in New England over a year ago, and torched the Pats for four TDs.

Last week, the Jets did the best job of stopping the Wildcat anyone has done this season, holding Brown to just 27 rushing yards and the Dolphins to 51.

For the Dolphins, it's a growing concern, because the New Orleans Saints were also successful at limiting the Wildcat in the second half of their comeback win two weeks ago.

For Miami to win, Brown, Williams and the Wildcat must control the game.

Unfortunately though, a team cannot rely so heavily on one phase of its game to win; in the NFL, the good teams shut down that area and force you to win another way.

I also see Brady filling the air with footballs, and a gassed Dolphins defense unable to stop him, Welker, Moss or tight end Ben Watson.

Patriots 30, Dolphins 20. 

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