Reporting Tim Kephart
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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins left Cleveland with a victory last Sunday, but there was one glaring problem with the team’s offense, the running game, or lack thereof.
Miami ran the ball 23 times against the Browns and managed just 20 yards on the ground. Starting running back Lamar Miller had 10 carries for three yards while backup Daniel Thomas ran the ball eight times for 14 yards.
The performance was every bit as ugly as those numbers show. But quarterback Ryan Tannehill bailed out the offense with a strong performance, 24-38, 272 yards, one touchdown, one interception. But the Fins know they can’t expect to win in the league without running the ball.
“Rushing for 20 yards, we’re not going to win many games that way,” center Mike Pouncey told CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.
Looking at the Browns game, the Dolphins struggled the most running behind the tackles and had better luck running inside. The Fins ran the ball four times behind left tackle Jonathan Martin and lost six yards on those runs.
Behind right tackle Tyson Clabo, an offseason free agent acquisition, the Dolphins only attempted one rush and lost two yards on that carry. Incidentally, the running back on all of the runs behind tackle was Lamar Miller.
Running inside, the Fins ran six times for 16 yards behind left guard Richie Incognito and nine times for 13 yards and a touchdown behind right guard John Jerry.
Looking ahead to this Sunday’s matchup with the Indianapolis Colts, the Dolphins will be running against a team that gave up 171 yards on 33 carries to the Oakland Raiders last weekend. The Raiders were led in rushing by quarterback Terrelle Pryor who ran for 112 yards on just 13 carries against the Colts.
Oakland did most of its damage in the running game by getting to the outside and right up the middle of the Colts 3-4 defense.
For the Fins to get the running game going, it will be a team effort. The offensive line will have to run block better; the backs will have to hit the holes faster and with more authority; and wide receivers and tight ends will also have to step-up their running blocking against the Colts.
The Fins have a top-notch defense that is continuing to improve as more players come back from preseason injuries. If the offense can get the running game going, the team has the potential to make a special run in 2013.
But, the running game will be essential as the Fins face the Falcons, Saints, and Ravens in the next three weeks before getting a bye week. Keeping quarterbacks Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, and Joe Flacco will be on the defense, but Miami has to put points on the board in bunches if they want to beat those QB’s.