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.''

---

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Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Julius ThomasNov 27 07:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Anthony DavisNov 27 07:23p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared OT Anthony Davis, WR Bruce Ellington, DL Glenn Dorsey, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Quinton Patton, CB Tramaine Brock, TE Vance McDonald inactive for Week 13.

Arian FosterNov 27 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Allen BradfordNov 27 07:12p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared LB Allen Bradford, TE Cooper Helfet, CB Jeremy Lane, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, C Max Unger, TE Rashaun Allen, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 13.

Jordan CameronNov 27 06:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Latavius MurrayNov 27 04:52p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 27 04:02p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Tony HillsNov 27 03:22p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared LB Dekoda Watson, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, FS Jeff Heath, DL Joshua Brent, OT Tony Hills, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 13.

Taylor HartNov 27 03:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 13.

Jordan ReedNov 27 03:02p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Dwayne AllenNov 27 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Kyle FullerNov 27 11:32a

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (knee) will play in the team's Week 13 game against the Detroit Lions. Fuller had been questionable during the week.

Lance BriggsNov 27 11:22a

The Chicago Bears have declared WR Chris X. Williams, LB Darryl Sharpton, OT Eben Britton, DL Jeremiah Ratliff, LB Lance Briggs, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott inactive for Week Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

The Detroit Lions have declared QB Kellen Moore, OG Larry Warford, DE Larry Webster, DL Nick Fairley, RB Reggie Bush, OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles inactive for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is inactive Thursday, Nov. 27, for Week 13.

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Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

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Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

The Buffalo Bills claimed WR Marcus Thigpen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also waived DE Bryan Johnson.

Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

The Tennessee Titans waived TE Richard Gordon Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

C. PattersonNov 26 06:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jerick McKinnonNov 26 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Brandon LaFellNov 26 06:03p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jace AmaroNov 26 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

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