2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Dolphins encouraged by resurgent ground game

By STEVEN WINE - AP Sports Writer
    2012-11-26 15:02

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) - Reggie Bush's vantage point was from behind. Carrying the ball on a sweep, he happily followed 303-pound pulling center Mike Pouncey, who led the way like a runaway bulldozer.

``I knew it was going to be a big play,'' Bush said.

It ended in the end zone. The 21-yard touchdown run showed that when the Miami Dolphins get their ground game going, they can be hard to stop.

For the first time since Week 3, the Dolphins topped 100 yards rushing Sunday in their 24-21 victory over Seattle. While Ryan Tannehill led a fourth-quarter comeback and Dan Carpenter kicked the winning field goal on the final play, the resurgent running attack was an unsung hero - and cause for encouragement heading into December.

``All week we talked about getting back to Miami Dolphin football - running the ball well, getting 4 or 5 yards, and the big runs will come,'' Bush said. ``We really talked about controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.''

That they did. Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks' 1,000-yard rusher, netted only 46 yards in 19 carries for a season-low 2.4 per attempt. Miami outrushed Seattle 189 yards to 96.

That's the sort of differential coach Joe Philbin envisions as a winning formula for the Dolphins. With a rookie quarterback and so-so secondary, he figures the ground game and rushing defense should be Miami's strengths.

``It's important for us to be a good running football team, and a good defend-the-run team,'' Philbin said.

Running the ball might be mandatory for Miami to keep up with high-scoring New England on Sunday. The Dolphins (5-6) are unlikely to catch the Patriots (8-3) in the AFC East, but they're only a game out in the race for the conference's final wild-card spot.

``Every game is a playoff game from now on out,'' linebacker Kevin Burnett said. ``Now is the time.''

The Dolphins are ready to make a run at it, with a ground game that has become a two-back attack. Bush and Daniel Thomas have been alternating series in recent weeks, and against Seattle the tandem clicked.

Bush, who had just 82 yards in the previous three games, did his best work on the flanks. He made the most of Pouncey's uncommon agility on the touchdown run and finished with 87 yards in 14 carries. Thomas, working mostly between the tackles, added 60 in nine carries.

Combined they averaged 6.4 yards per carry.

``We definitely wanted to set a tone,'' Thomas said. ``We haven't been running the ball too well lately.''

The Dolphins' ground attack was potent at the start of the season but then stalled, a major reason they took a three-game losing streak into the Seahawks game.

Blocking was much improved Sunday, and the backs were tough to bring down, Philbin said after reviewing videotape of the game.

``Everybody offensively should take a look at this tape and see what we're capable of doing,'' he said. ``We haven't been doing that consistently enough, clearly. The other tapes we've showed would tell you that. We just need to continue.''

The same goes for a run defense that led the NFL a month into the season, then allowed the next five opponents to average 132 yards per game.

``Some people may have felt we were slipping a little bit,'' defensive end Jared Odrick said, ``and we were.''

Seattle netted only 96 yards rushing, including 38 by Russell Wilson on quarterback scrambles.

Even so, Philbin said, there's room for improvement across the board - the spin expected from a coach about to face Tom Brady and the Patriots. Against a team averaging an NFL-best 37 points per game, Miami will need stingy run defense, a clock-eating ground game and more.

``We've got an excellent team coming to town,'' Philbin said. ``We're going to have to play our best game of the year to win. We're going to have to improve. We're not inventing a brand new offense, defense or special teams to win this game. We have to get better from within, and we've got to do it quickly.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 30 10:43a

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) is expected to be out at least another week, although tests on his hamstring came back negative Tuesday, July 29. The [ More ]

Marquis FlowersJul 30 10:33a

Cincinnati Bengals DT Geno Atkins (knee) and LB Marquis Flowers (hamstring) were activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

David WilsonJul 30 10:13a

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) will sit out of practice the rest of the week and won't play in the first preseason game. He underwent tests Tuesday, [ More ]

Lardarius WebbJul 30 08:33a

Baltimore Ravens CB Lardarius Webb (back) had recent examinations reveal no structural damage to his back. It's believed to be a muscular problem that will require rest and rehabilitation. [ More ]

Chris RaineyJul 30 02:13a

LB Darrin Kitchens (Bills), OT Chris Faulk (Browns), PK Jake Rogers (Browns), OT Aslam Sterling (Broncos), RB Chris Rainey (Colts), WR Gerald Ford (Dolphins), OT DeMarcus Love (Giants) and [ More ]

Ricky SappJul 30 02:03a

The Houston Texans released LB Ricky Sapp (undisclosed) from their Non-Football Injury list Tuesday, July 29. Sapp is free to sign with any team.

Demarcus LawrenceJul 30 01:33a

Dallas Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence (foot) suffered a broken foot Tuesday, July 29, and he will need eight to 10 weeks recovery time, according to a source.

Brandon PettigrewJul 30 12:53a

Detroit Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew and the other tight ends have split time between working on the offensive line and working with the pass-catching receivers and running backs catching [ More ]

Corey HilliardJul 30 12:53a

Detroit Lions OTs Corey Hilliard and LaAdrian Waddle appear to be getting an equal shot at the starting right tackle job. Hilliard worked with the first-team offense Monday, July [ More ]

Kevin OgletreeJul 30 12:53a

Detroit Lions WR Kevin Ogletree has been spent time on the top unit each of the first two days of training camp, working as the No. 3 receiver. He [ More ]

Jason HatcherJul 30 12:13a

Washington Redskins DE Jarvis Jenkins said the team's signing of DE Jason Hatcher this offseason was a wakeup call that has motivated him to become a better player. 'I've [ More ]

Patrick PetersonJul 30 12:03a

Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson announced via Twitter Tuesday, July 29, that he has signed a five-year contract extension worth $70 million with $48 million guaranteed.

Robert MeachemJul 29 11:53p

New Orleans Saints WR Robert Meachem (back) and OT Tavon Rooks (back) returned to practice Tuesday, July 29.

Greg ScruggsJul 29 11:43p

Seattle Seahawks DT Jordan Hill, SS Jeron Johnson, DE Greg Scruggs and LB Mike Morgan are four players that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn mentioned when asked what players have [ More ]

Jonathan DwyerJul 29 11:33p

Arizona Cardinals RB Stepfan Taylor worked with the first-team offense in place of RB Andre Ellington (neck) Tuesday, July 29. Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com believes the move means that [ More ]

Jake MatthewsJul 29 11:23p

Atlanta Falcons OT Jake Matthews has impressed QB Matt Ryan during training camp. 'I think Jake, his size and he's very strong, very athletic,' Ryan said Tuesday, July [ More ]

Dale MossJul 29 11:03p

The Chicago Bears signed free-agent WR Dale Moss (Panthers) to a one-year deal Tuesday, July 29. The financial terms were not disclosed.

Jerrel JerniganJul 29 10:43p

New York Giants CB Charles James could make the roster as a punt returner as a result of injuries to RB David Wilson (neck) and WR Odell Beckham Jr. [ More ]

Zac StacyJul 29 10:23p

St. Louis Ram RB Tre Mason saw received some snaps with the first-team Tuesday, July 29, with RB Zac Stacy receiving a majority of the work with the first-team.

Ray McDonaldJul 29 09:53p

San Francisco 49ers CB Chris Culliver (knee), CB Tramaine Brock (knee) and DE Ray McDonald (leg) did not practice Tuesday, July 29.

O'Brien SchofieldJul 29 09:33p

Seattle Seahawks LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (stomach) missed practice Tuesday, July 29, with a stomach injury, and LB O'Brien Schofield was given a scheduled day of rest.

Bryan BulagaJul 29 08:43p

Green Bay Packers OT Bryan Bulaga (knee) performed well in one-on-one pass-blocking drills Monday, July 28, stopping a rush attempt from LB Clay Matthews and two attempts from LB Julius Peppers.

Calvin JohnsonJul 29 08:23p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson is taking part in fewer reps in training camp this year than in years past and said he is trying to be smarter about [ More ]

Giorgio TavecchioJul 29 08:13p

Detroit Lions K Nate Freese and K Giorgio Tavecchio both missed field-goal attempts from nearly 50 yards during practice Tuesday, July 29, and the two remain in a competition for the starting kicking job.

Theo RiddickJul 29 07:53p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick possesses intensity, hustle, desire and toughness, according to head coach Jim Caldwell. Riddick added that his versatility enables him to pressure defenses from the backfield.

Ben GardnerJul 29 07:33p

Dallas Cowboys DT Terrell McClain (ankle), OG Ronald Leary (hamstring) OG Darius Morris (undisclosed), LB William Smith (undisclosed), DE Ben Gardner (shoulder), CB Brandon Carr (personal), DT Amobi Okoye [ More ]

Sean LeeJul 29 06:53p

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee (knee) thinks he will return from his torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee completely healthy. Lee is with the team in California [ More ]

Brian HoyerJul 29 06:43p

Cleveland Browns QBs Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer may not be the team's answer at quarterback, according to NFL Media's Charley Casserly. Casserly said the Browns' answer at the [ More ]

David WilsonJul 29 06:33p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) will undergo tests after suffering a 'burner' in practice Tuesday, July 29. The team 'will be careful' with Wilson.

Bobby WagnerJul 29 06:23p

Seattle Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner (calf) and OG James Carpenter (calf) left practice Tuesday, July 29, with calf injuries. Head coach Pete Carroll did not think either injuries were serious.

Steven JacksonJul 29 06:23p

Updating a previous report, Atlanta Falcons RB Steven Jackson (hamstring) injured his hamstring Monday, July 28, which is why he wasn't practicing Tuesday, July 29. Head coach Mike Smith [ More ]

Michael VickJul 29 05:43p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith may be on a shorter leash this year with QB Michael Vick as his backup. Head coach Rex Ryan said the team's quarterback [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group