Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – After Monday’s complete defensive demolition at the hands of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, the Dolphins needed a bright spot and it came from the Fins’ passing game.
Quarterback Chad Henne threw for a career-high 416 yards and wide receiver Brandon Marshall showed his All-Pro potential by pulling down seven passes for a total of 139 yards.
“We definitely threw it around a little bit, and guys made plays,” Marshall said. “But we left a lot out there.”
It wasn’t hard to find evidence of what Marshall was talking about. From bad defensive plays allowing a 99-yard touchdown pass to Miami converting just two of 14 third downs, mistakes were everywhere for the Fins.
For Marshall and Henne, they may get another chance to put on a passing display against the Houston Texans on Sunday. The Texans ranked last in the NFL in pass defense in 2010 and made a complete switch to the 3-4 defense in the offseason.
The first game for the Texans yielded great results against a quarterback-less Indianapolis Colts team. The Fins will try to get Jake Long in the way of Mario Williams all day long, but that’s easier said than done against the 283 pound outside linebacker.
If the Fins can give Henne time to throw, it could be a long day for the Texans secondary.
But perhaps more importantly for the Dolphins will be if the secondary can correct the mistakes from week one. The job doesn’t get any easier this week with the Texans’ Andre Johnson coming to town.
Johnson is a mismatch against almost every corner in the National Football League. The former Miami Hurricane has consistently been one of the best receivers in the NFL since he first entered the league.
The Fins have to hope the cramping issues that wreaked havoc on both starting cornerbacks, Vontae Davis and Sean Smith, will be a thing of the past. Both players had bad cramping issues against the Patriots, with Smith getting burned for a touchdown when he was cramping on the field.
The Dolphins also need to see what they can get going from their running game. Relying on the passing game can work for some games, but eventually the Fins have to run the football.
Reggie Bush got significant touches in the first game, but he doesn’t have the power to get through arm tackles of defensive linemen. That could open the door for more carries for Larry Johnson and rookie Daniel Thomas, if Thomas is healthy enough to play.
The game is set for a 4:15 p.m. kickoff at Sun Life Stadium. It can be seen exclusively on CBS4.