Posted: 11:12 am Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Dolphins-Browns Live Blog: Offensive mistakes too much to overcome in 13-10 loss to Browns 

By Post Staff

MIAMI GARDENS — The Dolphins just made too many mistakes to overcome.

A 41-yard field goal blocked in the first quarter. Two bad interceptions by Chad Henne in the second quarter. A dropped interception by Nolan Carroll inside the final 2 minutes. And another unfortunate interception for Henne shortly thereafter, which Cleveland’s Mike Adams returned all the way to the 2 yard line.

The last mistake was too much to overcome, and the result was a season-killing 13-10 loss to the Browns, effectively ending any hope the Dolphins had of making the playoffs.

Henne had his worst day of the season — 16 of 32 passing for 174 yards, a touchdown to Anthony Fasano and the three interceptions for a 37.8 passer rating. The Dolphins gained just 281 total yards, and dropped to 6-6 on the season, 1-5 at home. They have scored one touchdown in their last eight quarters at home.

Heading down now to the locker room for post-game reaction. Thanks for stopping by today!

Yet another glorious day for football in South Florida

Yet another glorious day for football in South Florida

MIAMI GARDENS — Welcome to sunny South Florida for today’s Week 13 matchup between the 6-5 Dolphins and 4-7 Browns!

It seems like we say this every week, but we have another beautiful day of weather for today’s game: temperatures in the mid-70s with clear blue skies. The winds are gusting around 15 mph, however, which could make things tricky for the kickers and punters today.

The Dolphins will be without their biggest offensive weapon for the second straight week, as Brandon Marshall in inactive due to a hamstring injury after being listed as Questionable on the injury report. The full list of inactives can be found below.

Marshall expressed optimism throughout the week that he would be able to play after missing the last game and a half with his injury, but clearly he is not close to 100 percent healthy. The Dolphins still excelled without him last week, throwing for 307 yards in their 33-17 win over Oakland.

For the Dolphins’ defense today, the goal is simple: Stop Peyton Hillis. The Browns’ third-year running back is averaging 121 total yards per game, fifth-most in the NFL, and he is second with 11 rushing touchdowns.

But the Dolphins will have an added challenge of slowing down Hillis today, as they will be without inside linebacker Channing Crowder, one of their best run stoppers. Crowder didn’t practice all week because of a knee injury, and Tim Dobbins will likely earn the start in his place. Dobbins, mostly a special teams player, started the first four games of the season as Crowder sat out with a groin injury, and the Dolphins allowed 118 rushing yards per game in that stretch.

The Dolphins will also be without Al Harris, who is inactive after injuring his hamstring this week in practice. Expect safety Tyrone Culver to see more snaps in the “Dime” defense.

For the Browns, 12-year veteran Jake Delhomme will start at quarterback today in place of rookie Colt McCoy, who is out with an ankle injury. Delhomme has one touchdown pass and six interceptions in three games this season. The Browns also expect to have dynamic kick returner Josh Cribbs available as he recovers from four dislocated toes on his right foot suffered three weeks ago.

Here are the inactives for both teams:

Dolphins
WR Brandon Marshall
CB Al Harris
LB Channing Crowder
OT Matt Kopa
C Eric Ghiaciuc
TE Mickey Shuler
DE Ryan Baker
DT Chris Baker

Browns
WR Jordan Norwood
QB Colt McCoy
WR Carlton Mitchell
DL Brian Sanford
TE Alex Smith
WR Demetrius Williams
DL Jamye Mitchell
LB Scott Fujita

That means defensive end Phillip Merling will be active today for the first time this season. Merling ruptured his left Achilles tendon in July right before training camp, and was supposed to be lost for the season. But he as activated this week off the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List, and is surprisingly on the gameday roster today, even though Tony Sparano said Merling still needs to work himself into football shape. He will likely play a few snaps on the defensive line to spell Kendall Langford, Paul Soliai, Randy Starks and Tony McDaniel.

Also, Pat McQuistan is replacing rookie John Jerry in the starting lineup at right guard. McQuistan started four games earlier this season when Jerry was out with an illness. And for Cleveland, rookie first-round pick Joe Haden, a former star at the University of Florida, will start at cornerback in place of Eric Wright, who is injured. Haden has an interception in four straight games and was named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Month for November.

We’ll do the same drill with the live blog today, with full updates after each quarter. Thanks for stopping by today, and enjoy the game!

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First Quarter

The Dolphins were able to move the ball in the first quarter. But, as has been the theme all season, they couldn’t produce any points.

The Dolphins gained 97 yards in the quarter and held the ball for 10:43. But they have lacked the killer instinct so far. On the opening drive, they ran the ball on third and 11 from their own 32 instead of trying a pass, willing to settle for the field goal. But the strategy backfired when Shaun Rogers blocked Dan Carpenter’s 41-yard field goal, the second block Carpenter has had this season.

The Dolphins’ second drive fizzled at their own 47 when Ricky Williams dropped a 3-yard pass on third down, and the third series ended in a punt when Tony Sparano decided against going for it on 4th-and-1 from the Browns’ 49.

Chad Henne was 4 of 7 for 53 yards in the first quarter, while Ronnie Brown rushed for another 27 yards. Miami’s defense forced Cleveland into two three-and-outs.

Second Quarter

The Dolphins can thank Dan Carpenter for salvaging the sloppiest half of football they have played all season.

Carpenter nailed a 60-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining in the half to tie the score at 3-3 and prevent the Dolphins from being shutout in the first half for the first time this season. The field goal is the longest in franchise history, besting the 59-yarder Pete Stoyanovich kicked against the Jets in 1989, and is tied for the fifth-longest field goal in NFL history.

Otherwise, the Dolphins’ offense was downright miserable in the first half. Chad Henne earned several boos after completing just 8-of-16 passes for 100 yards and two bad interceptions. First, Henne underthrew a wide open Brian Hartline on a deep pass, and Joe Haden recovered in time to make his fifth interception of the season. Later in the second quarter, Henne threw a ball in heavy traffic that was picked off by Riviera Beach’s Abram Elam.

Elam’s interception gave the Browns the ball on Miami’s 28 yard line, and the Browns were able to convert the good field position into a late field goal.

Ricky and Ronnie have combined for 64 yards on 15 carries, while Davone Bess has four catches for 52 yards. But the Dolphins have been conservative and unimaginative on offense, and hurt by penalties — a 10-yarder by Vernon Carey, who hurt himself late in the first half, and a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Bess. Brian Hartline also may have injured himself at the end of the half, as he was not in the game or on the sidelines, though he is back for the start of the third quarter.

Fortunately, the Browns are just as bad as the Dolphins. Jake Delhomme is 11 for 17 for only 48 yards. Peyton Hillis has been a one-man band, with 32 rushing yards and 14 receiving yards on 16 total touches.

Third Quarter

The Dolphins will be kicking themselves for not taking advantage of their early opportunities, because the Browns have completely taken control of this game.

The Dolphins’ offense continued to struggle under Henne, who finished the third quarter with 13-of-25 passing for 152 yards. The Dolphins once again ran the ball on third-and-8 to set up a punt, drawing loud boos from the crowd. “That’s more conservative than Barry Goldwater,” radio announcer Jim Mandich cracked.

And Cleveland’s offense finally woke up. Jake Delhomme led a 96-yard scoring drive in just six plays to stake the Browns to a 10-3 lead after three quarters. Delhomme was 4 for 4 passing on the drive for 88 yards, including a 37-yarder and a 33-yarder to Mohamad Massaquoi. He capped off the drive with an easy 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ben Watson.

Henne, though, hit his final three passes of the quarter, and had the offense just past midfield at the beginning of the fourth quarter. For the Dolphins, Vernon Carey is currently out with a knee injury, while Brian Hartline is dealing with a finger injury.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Dolphins-Browns Live Blog: Offensive mistakes, conservative offense leads to …Palm Beach Post (blog)But the Dolphins have been conservative and unimaginative on offense, and hurt by penalties — a 10-yarder by Vernon Carey, who hurt himself late in the …Dolphins report card: Conservative approach hurts against BrownsSun-SentinelDave Hyde: 10 thoughts on Dolphins 13-10 lossSun-Sentinel (blog)Halftime update: Browns, Dolphins knotted at 3Chronicle-Telegramall 422 news articles » [...]

  2. [...] themselves exposed to gut-wrenching losses, like the one Cleveland pulled off Sunday when …Dolphins-Browns Live Blog: Offensive mistakes, conservative offense leads to …Palm Beach Post (blog)Dave Hyde: 10 thoughts on Dolphins 13-10 lossSun-Sentinel (blog)Halftime [...]

  3. [...] themselves exposed to gut-wrenching losses, like the one Cleveland pulled off Sunday when …Dolphins-Browns Live Blog: Offensive mistakes, conservative offense leads to …Palm Beach Post (blog)Dave Hyde: 10 thoughts on Dolphins 13-10 lossSun-Sentinel (blog)Ugly loss [...]