When Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman took the reigns of the Miami Dolphins offense, anyone with an opinion thought they would have a pass-heavy attack. They came in with a goal of running more than 90 plays per game.
But if the running game is working as well as it did against the Oakland Raiders (although it may not work that well against any other team this season), the Dolphins would be foolish to press on toward that goal.
For on Sunday, at least, the Dolphins showed the willingness to run the ball, and they learned how valuable and explosive that running game can be, rushing 43 times for 263 yards (6.1 yards per carry) and four touchdowns.
Even quarterback Ryan Tannehill got in on the fun with a 13-yard bootleg. Looks like they have finally started taking advantage of his athleticism.
The emphasis on the running game was a surprise, but the writing could have been on the wall—that is, if we were reading the right wall.
Sherman helped running back Ahman Green have the most productive season of his career for the Green Bay Packers in 2003. He rushed for 1,833 yards that season. Green also topped 1,000 yards each year from 2000 to 20004. Under Sherman, even running back Samkon Gado rushed for 582 yards in just eight games in 2005 after Green was injured.
The quarterback during those years was Brett Favre.
Of course, there was a time under Sherman when his Texas A&M teams laughed in the face of a balanced offense, with Mike Goodson leading the team in rushing with 408 yards in 2008, a season in which the Aggies only rushed for 1,067 yards As Sherman set his roots deeper into the ground at Texas A&M, though, the running game grew along with him.
Then with the Aggies, Chiefs running back Cyrus Gray topped 1,000 yards in 2010 and 2011 and five yards per attempt for his career.
Tannehill was rewarded for the Dolphins' reliance on the running game Sunday as well. He had a highly efficient outing, completing 60 percent of his passes for 10 yards per attempt and no interceptions, a passer rating of 90.97.
Going forward, the Dolphins should continue to feed Bush. He proved that he can carry a heavy load last year, and although one game (against the Raiders, mind you) isn't enough to anoint him a franchise back, 18 games is more than enough to anoint him a necessary component in Miami's offense.
If he gets going, it only makes life easier for Tannehill and company.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.