MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins are on a record-breaking pace when it comes to quarterback sacks, but the team may also set another record for futility, fewest rushing yards in a season.
After managing just 22 yards on the ground in Sunday’s loss to Baltimore, the Dolphins have rushed the ball for 348 yards through five games, or roughly 69.6 yards per game. And the lack of a running game is directly linked to the inability to protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
If defenders don’t have to worry about the running game, which Dolphins opponents don’t; they can pin their ears back and go after the quarterback full throttle.
Based on the current rushing yards from the Dolphins, the team will rush for roughly 1114 yards in 2013. That would challenge the team record for fewest rushing yards in a season.
In the past three games they’ve run the ball a total of 45 times — 15 per game. They had 11 rushing attempts against Baltimore, three more than the franchise low. Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman has opted for a pass plays 68 percent of time, fourth-highest in the league.
“Do I like to run the ball? I love to run the ball. My history, I think running the football sets up everything else, and it also helps in the protection, where you’re not throwing all the time,” Sherman said. “I would like to be able to run the ball, but if the defense forces you to throw it, you take what they give you in those situations.”
One of the Dolphins’ key plans, the stretch running play, has been failing at nearly every turn. Sherman said the that it’s been a “break down here, a breakdown there,” plus they have pretty good players on the other side of the ball.
“We try to grab runs when they give us the numbers right, and we try to throw it when the numbers are against the run,” Sherman said. “Yes, I would envision us having better balance than what we had, but sometimes the situation dictates certain things.”
“Coming up on a bye week is a chance for us to come up for some air,” guard Richie Incognito said. “Evaluate what’s working and what’s not working, and just come back and hit the ground running. I can’t tell you what’s wrong, but we just have to figure out what is working and build on those things we are doing right.”
The bye also gives Philbin and general manager Jeff Ireland a chance to assess the situation and consider possible changes in personnel. Miami has gone with the same five starters in the line in every game, and stability has brought little reward.
On Monday, however, Philbin downplayed the possibility of a lineup change.
“We believe in the guys that we have,” he said. “We have confidence in them. We’re going to continue to work with them.”
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)