Have a question for A.C.? Submit your questions to Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFins. Andy will answer questions every other Wednesday throughout the season.
Plenty to talk about on the Tuesday after the Sunday that gave the Dolphins real hope heading into the final six games of the season.
• I can’t watch the Charles Clay touchdown enough times. This was the signature moment of his short career and may prove to be the signature moment of this season for the Dolphins. His tackle-busting 39-yard scoring catch came down to one thing: Clay wanted it more than the Chargers wanted it. A beautiful thing to watch.
• Loved the aggressive approach taken by the Dolphins offense late in the game with their backs to their own goal line. How many times have we seen Dolphin teams take the conservative path in that situation? You know the scenario. Run three times and punt. Let your defense win the game. Give offensive coordinator Mike Sherman credit for taking the bold route and, as a result, reversing field position and making the Chargers drive from their own 17 yard line in those final seconds. For the Dolphins to matter in December, this go-for-it mentality must continue.
• One of the great stories of Sunday’s win was undrafted rookie guard Sam Brenner going from the practice squad to the starting lineup and playing reasonably well. Admit it: Had you heard of Brenner before Sunday? Brenner is a likeable guy whose humor brings some levity to the team. But what he did Sunday was serious business and indeed very impressive, especially when you consider he didn’t know he was going to start until Sunday morning.
• Also impressive was offensive lineman Nate Garner moving from guard to center to replace an ill Mike Pouncey. Garner is the Jim Jensen of the offensive line. Can do anything and do it anywhere. “That’s what they pay me for,” said Garner. And on this day he earned every penny of that salary.
• One of the real concerns of this team – and baffling as well – remains an inability to consistently stop the run. Seven times in the 10 games the Dolphins have given up at least 130 yards rushing. On Sunday, they allowed Ryan Mathews to escape on a 51-yard run. The tackling has been alarmingly inconsistent and I’m not sure you can point to one or two players. The Dolphins should be better than this and you just know that Carolina – an excellent rushing team – will come at them hard this Sunday.
• Ryan Tannehill did some nice things, threw some nice passes, showed some excellent poise in a pressure-packed environment. But the one memory that won’t go away from this game was Tannehill once again underthrowing Mike Wallace on a long pass in the second quarter. This has now happened five or six times this season. We hear so much about the two of them getting on the same page. How much longer do we have to wait?
• Nice to see the pass rush return in the fourth quarter with sacks by Cameron Wake, Jared Odrick and Olivier Vernon. It is no coincidence that in each of the Dolphins five wins, the pass rush was a big factor. This, in my mind, is clearly the strength of this defense.
• Time for the yearly toast to the 1972 unbeaten Dolphins. With the Chiefs losing to Denver Sunday night, those Dolphins once again stand alone with an unblemished record that is secure for yet another season. Some people grow tired of this toast thing. But for those of us who vividly remember what that team accomplished, it never gets old.
• Through 10 games, nobody is having a better, more consistent season than cornerback Brent Grimes. Each game, it seems, Grimes makes a difference in some significant way as he did on the final Phillip Rivers pass. Little man. Big impact.
• Joe Philbin has instilled a one-game-at-a-time mentality into his players so you won’t hear much talk about the playoffs at this juncture of the season. Still, it was nice to see veteran tackle Tyson Clabo ask in the Dolphins locker room early Sunday evening: “Somebody has got to get the last playoff spot. Why not us?” Crazier things have happened.
• Daniel Thomas averages 5.7 yards per carry after averaging minus yardage the week before in Tampa. Now that’s more like it!
• Massive defensive tackle Paul Soliai races 25 yards downfield to assist on a tackle late in Sunday’s first half. That’s the type of play that gets your attention in a hurry.
• And now we’ve got Carolina on our mind. Can the Dolphins build on what they accomplished against San Diego? This Sunday’s game should tell us a lot – just as last Sunday’s game did.
On Wednesday, AC in the AM takes a close-up look at massive tackle Bryant McKinnie.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
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