Dolphins Watch

December 27, 2010 2:11 AM

Henne, Dolphins give game away to Lions

HENNE3.bmpIn what has become a recurring theme this season, the Dolphins had the Detroit Lions on the ropes, and appeared headed to their second home win of the season.

Ahead by 10 points with just five minutes to play, the Dolphins defense just needed a stop, and victory No. 8 would be secure.

But Jahvid Best turned a short pass into a 53-yard TD, opening the floodgates.

As he has done all season, Chad Henne, who played well through the first three quarters, could not get it done in the fourth, and was mainly responsible for Miami's collapse.

Henne sailed a pass that Nathan Vasher intercepted, setting up Dave Rayner's 47-yard field goal that tied the game.

Then, on the very next possession, Henne forced an awful pass into coverage. Linebacker DeAndre Levy intercepted, and returned the ball 30 yards for the go-ahead TD.

The Dolphins still had one chance left, and Henne gamely drove them downfield.

But, with only 19 seconds left, he checked the ball down to Ronnie Brown, who was stopped short of the sidelines by Vasher, allowing the clock to run out on a 34-27 defeat.

The final numbers say Henne had a decent game, completing 28-of-44 passes for 278 yards and a TD. And yes, Davone Bess did fall down on Henne's last interception, giving Levy a clear run at the ball.

But the numbers and Bess's late slip don't show how badly Henne played in the final period.

He looked like a shaken quarterback, pulling the ball down and running with it at the first sign of trouble rather than force it into coverage.

And he did try and force the ball between two defenders at least three times late in the game, with Levy picking him off on the final try. Offensive coordinator Dan Henning did Henne no favors by calling the same rollout pass three times in four plays as Miami tried to rally.

Henning also called for a run on third-and-long inside the Detroit 30, all but conceding a field goal try. Dan Carpenter hit for the Dolphins' final points of the day.

You could say Henning did it to keep his fragile QB from making another mistake. But Henning has done this since arriving in Miami, even with a proven game manager like Chad Pennington.

And what do you say about Henne, who forced passes, and had at least three balls batted down at the line of scrimmage?

He continues to show little pocket awareness, and is as easy a read for a defender as a 5-year-old's book of nursery rhymes.

He is not the future, and the last two games have proven that, as Miami suffered bad home losses to teams that were 3-10 and 4-10 entering the game.

What's worse, Henne may drag Tony Sparano with him, as already the sharks have begun circling, in the form of Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden.

Henning has already said he'll retire after this season. Now, the Dolphins need to somehow find a QB and revamp an offensive line that was atrocious in 2010.

Otherwise, Sparano really will be the next to go.

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