The Sports Daily > Phins Phocus
Life sucked out of the Dolphins in loss to Panthers 20-16

In what proved to be a great game for avid football viewers, the Miami Dolphins proved they can't do enough to avoid losses in the 4th quarter.  After clinging onto a slim 16-13 lead and a lead since the first quarter, the Dolphins lost the game after Cam Newton found a wide open Greg Olson in the back of the end zone.  The play resulted in Miami safety Chris Clemons biting on the Cam Newton's play action fake from the 1-yard line thus resulting in Olson slipping off the line for the wide-open score with 43 seconds.

However, with 43 seconds remaining, the Dolphins without any timeouts were forced to go into desparation mode and almost pulled off the win with a 60 yard pass to Mike Wallace who had trouble corralling the ball and dropped it on the 1-yard line.  

For most Dolphins fans, they can see the angst and anguish of losing this clearly winnable game after the Dolphins jumped to a 16-3 lead with a 53 yard Mike Wallace touchdown pass play and three field goals from Caleb Sturgis.  Everything the Dolphins appeared to execute offensively failed miserably as the Dolphins seemed content holding the 16-13 lead after 10 unanswered points by the Panthers at the end of the second quarter and the beginning of the third quarter.

Clearly, this game was more about what the Dolphins didn't do.  They stopped the Panthers from taking the lead for almost the entire game.  The game of football is about 60 minutes of play.  Playing for 60 minutes and going out a winner is what usually gets the job done.  However, despite the ineptiude on offense, the Dolphins defense was pushed to the brink trying to nurse the 16-13 lead and forced to stop the ever so dangerous Cam Newton who ran the ball, got himself free of sacks and on one critical run for a first down, turned the run into a critical 15 yard penalty as he slowed up and let safety Reshad Jones of the Dolphins hit him out of bounds.  The play appeared to be more acting on the part of Newton as he slid violently to the ground.  However, most football people will say, at the end of the game, it's better keep the hands off of any runner out of bounds.  The refs saw the slight push by Jones and awarded the Panthers 15 yards.

For the Dolphins today, they were not able to overcome several big opportunities.  Whether it was the play of quarterback Ryan Tannehill that has drawn criticism from most fans this season or the lack of 4th quarter touchdowns in the last 7 games which falls squarely on the coaches, or despite the Dolphins having three possessions to put away the Panthers due to staunch defense, the Dolphins didn't make the most of their chances and lost the game because of a failure to execute as a team.  One wonders if the injuries are mounting as the Dolphins yet again played without Center Mike Pouncey and had their week disrupted by three days of exhaustive interviews by the NFL appointed Ted Wells.  One wonders if there is more fight left in the 2013 Dolphins who today proved that they can lose games all by themselves.  Perhaps, next week might have a different outcome and get the Dolphins back in the win column and playoff hunt with a win over the NY Jets.  Next week and winning a game against the Jets can't come soon enough, but the Dolphins have their season on the line and must win next week. The Dolphins must win, to put life back into their season and give their fans something to be proud of.