Henne's fourth-quarter turnover woes continue

Posted Dec. 06, 2010 @ 2:49 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

Before Week 13, you could cut the Dolphins a little slack for their 6-5 record. While they showed no ability to win the "big" game, their losses came to the Jets, Patriots, Ravens, Steelers and Bears — five of the best teams in the league.

But no slack will be given after a 13-10 home loss to the Browns essentially putting the Dolphins out of playoff contention and dropping their home record on the season to 1-5.

Sunday was very typical of what we've seen from Miami this season: solid defense, attempts to establish the run with little success, a special-teams gaffe (blocked field goal) and mistakes from QB Chad Henne.

With four games left, the Dolphins will need to win out and get some help from the Patriots' and Jets' opponents to make the playoffs. At this point, it's time to start considering Henne's future after another fourth-quarter meltdown.

The PFW Spin

As frustrated as Henne and members of the offense might be, you have to imagine that Mike Nolan, Karlos Dansby, Cameron Wake and the rest of the Dolphins' fifth-ranked defense are pretty frustrated that their performances have not been reflected in the won-lost record.

They held Browns RB Peyton Hillis to 57 rushing yards and his first no-touchdown game since Week Six. Wake now leads the NFL with 12 sacks. But, like we've seen time and time again this season, the defense for Miami wasn't enough.

Before we get to Henne's miscues, here's a quick reason that all the blame cannot fall on him: The Dolphins managed 114 yards on the ground, but gained just 3.6 yards a carry. Their 3.8 season average is tied for 25th in the league after rushing for 4.4 yards per carry in 2009. The offensive line has not opened up running lanes all season. The Dolphins are second-to-last in the league with four rushes of 20 yards or more.

So Henne is not getting any help from a consistent run game, but his inconsistency all season long has turned a team that could be in the playoff hunt into a 6-6 squad on the outside looking in. He threw three interceptions on Sunday: badly underthrowing Brian Hartline, trying to force it to 5-foot-10 Davone Bess and the game-clinching miscue, a tipped ball at the line that led to the Browns' game-winning field goal.

Henne completed just 50 percent of his passes and finished with a career-low 37.8 passer rating. His fourth-quarter stats have been pretty miserable too. Three of the Dolphins' losses have come in games when Henne had the ball with a chance to lead the team to tie or take the lead.

This season, Henne has thrown six interceptions in the fourth quarter, tied for the second-most in the NFL. He has thrown only two fourth-quarter touchdown passes and his passer rating in the final quarter is a woeful 51.4 — near the lowest in the league. The third-year signalcaller now has 15 interceptions this season — throwing at least one in each of his last nine games.

It's starting to look like the Chad Henne experiment in Miami is coming to an end. Head coach Tony Sparano can't stand turnovers, and Henne hasn't been nearly consistent enough to get the offense rolling in a season in which the defense has carried the Dolphins.