Dolphins Finish a Dissapointing Season

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Dolphins Finish a Dissapointing Season
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QUARTERBACK

D | The Henne-White-Thigpen three-headed attack is bad news for a multitude of reasons. It means folks were injured (Henne and White) and folks that didn't work with the starters were in the game (Thigpen). In the end, it was a prescription for two TD passes and three interceptions, and that's not winning quarterback play.

RUNNING BACK

D | The Steelers decided someone not named Ricky Williams would have to beat them. No one could. Williams become less important as the game wore on because the Steelers built a big lead and corralled Williams the 12 times he took a handoff. Lex Hilliard runs hard, as his TD reception showed, but he rarely gets much of an opportunity.

RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

B | Not surprisingly, a pass attempt to Ted Ginn Jr. signaled the end of the Dolphins comeback as Miami's alleged No. 1 receiver fell down and let two Steelers to climb over him for what turned into an interception. Otherwise, Davone Bess, Brain Hartline and Anthony Fasano had good days.

OFFENSIVE LINE

C | The highest-paid unit on the team is now the most overstaffed unit on the team because Miami coaches used running backs and tight ends and all sorts of other maximum protection schemes to limit the Steelers to only three sacks.

DEFENSIVE LINE

D | Where has this Kendall Langford been? He had six tackles, a QB hurry, a forced fumble and a deflected pass. Welcome to the 2009 season! Randy Starks, without a sack since November, got one Sunday. Everybody else struggled as the Steelers averaged 5.6 yards per rush.

LINEBACKERS

D | Joey Porter had a coverage sack, and Jason Taylor deflected a pass. That's it. That's the only good thing that can be said about this group. The inside guys got pushed off the line of scrimmage and couldn't get off blocks. And no one made a drive-ending play in the first half when the Dolphins were bleeding points.

SECONDARY

D | Yeremiah Bell is the best of a struggling group. The Dolphins alternated at free safety with Gibril Wilson, but he was the last man responsible on a 54-yard touchdown pass. Sean Smith was called for pass interference and Vontae Davis, while valiant in playing with a wrist injury, also yielded completions. Nathan Jones struggled in coverage.

SPECIAL TEAMS

C- | Miami's solid kick and punt coverage teams had their worst day in quite a while, giving up an average of 20.5 yards on punts returns and 27.7 on kickoffs. Brandon Fields, as usual, had a great gross average, but the coverage hurt his net average.

COACHING

C- | The defense has been terrible for three consecutive weeks -- particularly early in the game. The offense was ready to play and never gave up, even when it was down to its third QB. Question: If Thigpen seems more dynamic at moving the team than White, why was White playing all year long while Thigpen didn't?

OVERALL

F | The Dolphins started and ended the season with three consecutive losses. That loser sandwich is the reason this team has much work to do in the coming offseason.

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