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Dolphins dominate battle of trenches in win over Pack

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Oct. 18, 2010 @ 7:40 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

The Dolphins have a reputation around the league as being one of the tougher teams. Their strength in the trenches showed on Sunday in an upset win over the Packers in overtime at Lambeau Field.

They say games are won and lost in the trenches, and the 'Fins dominated the Pack on Sunday, racking up five sacks and 10 QB hits while allowing zero sacks and four QB hits to the Packers' front.

The much-maligned special-teams unit didn't look great, except for PK Dan Carpenter's three field goals, including the game-winner in OT. QB Chad Henne is still too inconsistent, but it was an overall huge win for the Dolphins as they face a grueling stretch of games, beginning with hosting the Steelers next week.

The PFW spin

OLB Cameron Wake continued his torment of NFL quarterbacks, bringing Packers QB Aaron Rodgers down for three sacks and a total of six QB hits. We knew Wake had great speed off the edge, but many of his sacks are coming because of his relentless pursuit of the quarterback.

DL Randy Starks added a sack and two QB hits. The D-line did its best to rattle Rodgers and keep him from being comfortable in the pocket. Packers RB Brandon Jackson had just 53 yards on the ground.

The offensive line had its best game of the season. The Dolphins have arguably the best OT tandem in the league, with Jake Long and Vernon Carey, but also brand-new starters on the interior who have struggled. The unit performed admirably in protecting Henne, but even more so in its run blocking.

While the 'Fins' acquisition of WR Brandon Marshall opened up a passing game, their bread-and-butter is still pounding it on the ground with RBs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. The 'Fins had a season-high of 39 carries for 150 yards. Williams averaged just under five yards per carry, rushing for 64 yards, while Brown totaled 73 rushing yards on 19 carries.

On their drive to open the second half, the Dolphins had nine rushes for 39 yards. The time-consuming drive (7:18 off the clock) led to a Carpenter field goal and gave the Dolphins the lead.

In overtime, the Dolphins had great field position. Three runs by Williams, a run by Brown and a pass from Henne later, Carpenter nailed the game-winner.

While cynics will point to the Packers' injury-depleted defense as part of the reason for Miami's offensive success, you cannot deny that the Dolphins' lines put forth a solid effort. With five straight tough games coming up (Steelers, Bengals, Ravens, Titans and Bears), the Dolphins could use cohesive line play to get their running game and pass rush going as they attempt to compete in the AFC East.

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