Miami Dolphins Week 12: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Miami Dolphins played another 20-16 contest at home, but this week, Miami was on the losing end. The Carolina Panthers used a late 1-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cam Newton to tight end Greg Olsen to top the Dolphins and win their seventh straight game.
With the loss, the Miami Dolphins fell back below .500 at 5-6. Despite the defeat, the Dolphins sit in a six-way tie for the final wild card spot in the AFC. The last four games for Miami and six of the last seven have been decided by four points or less.
The Miami Dolphins will have two critical road games upcoming against 5-6 teams also in the playoff hunt. The Dolphins will visit the New York Jets on Sunday before traveling to face the Pittsburgh Steelers. Looking back on yet another heartbreaking loss for Miami, this time against Carolina, here were the good, the bad and the ugly for the Dolphins in Week 12:
Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill had another solid day for the Dolphins completing two-thirds of his 42 pass attempts for 310 yards and a touchdown. The effort marked the third time this season and fourth in Tannehill's career that the second-year quarterback hit the 300-yard mark. Tannehill completed passes to 10 different receivers and also carried what would have otherwise been a non-existent running game going for 36 yards on four carries.
Tannehill and wide receiver Mike Wallace finally hooked up for a long touchdown on a 53-yard strike midway through the first quarter. Wallace added a 57-yard reception and finished the day with five catches for 127 yards, his second highest total of the season.
Nolan Carroll's second quarter interception marked Miami's seventh straight game with a pick. The Dolphin have forced a turnover in every game this season. Carroll had a game-high four pass defenses while linebacker Philip Wheeler added three.
The Dolphins also did a decent job of getting pressure on Carolina quarterback Cam Newton. Olivier Vernon and rookie Dion Jordan each recorded sacks. Newton completed just half of his 38 pass attempts and the Dolphins held the Panthers to 6-for-17 on third down.
Punter Brandon Fields had an outstanding day averaging 48.5 yards-per-punt on six punts. Fields had a long of 64 yards and four of his six kicks were downed inside the 20-yard-line.
The Dolphins once again struggled converting third downs. Miami went just 4-for-16 on third down conversion attempts. The Dolphins also stalled on both trips to the red zone settling for Caleb Sturgis field goals of 32 and 23 yards.
It was also another quiet day for defensive end Cameron Wake. Wake finished the day with just a pair of tackles and got only one hit on Newton. The Miami defense also yielded 136 yards on the ground. Sunday's loss marked the fifth straight game that the Dolphins allowed their opponent to break the century mark rushing.
With Miami clinging to a late 16-13 lead, the Dolphins allowed the Panthers to convert on a 4th-and-10 on a 19-yard pass from Newton to Steve Smith. A stop would have put Miami in field goal range and one first down away from cementing the victory. Carolina would go on to score the game-winning touchdown on the drive.
The Miami Dolphins were shut out in the second half after leading 16-6 at the break. It was the second time this season that the Dolphins blew a double-digit halftime lead. The Dolphins have not scored a fourth quarter touchdown since a 26-23 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on October 6th. Miami has not scored an offensive touchdown in the fourth quarter since September 30th at New Orleans. The Dolphins have now led in the final quarter in three of their last four losses. Miami also missed an opportunity to win consecutive games for the first time since beginning the 2013 season 3-0.
The running back combination of Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas combined to go for a mere 16 yards on 13 carries on Sunday. Neither broke a run of longer than four yards. Miller even had one carry result in a loss of nine yards.