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Steelers @ Dolphins Keys To Game

The Dolphins are stumbling into Week 17 going only 2-3  in their last 5 games, at a time when they needed to go 4-1 to have a chance at the playoffs. As it stands now, all the Dolphins had to do was win one of those three losses, and they would control their own destiny going into the final week of the season, against the defending Super Bowl champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers are coming off two big wins to get them back into the playoff hunt, but do have their weaknesses, and with Troy Polamalu admittedly not likely to suit up tomorrow, the Steelers one big glaring weakness is their defense, especially their secondary.

Henne’s Game, Keep Him On His Feet:

What normally would be a lose-lose game for the Dolphins going against the Steelers, and their vicious defense, is now a game that Chad Henne can win with his gun shot like release, and big arm.

The past 4 games Henne has averaged 45.5 pass attempts. In those games, the Dolphins have won two of them, and lost the other two.

The reason for these losses is not that Henne is throwing too much, it is that the Dolphins aren’t running the ball enough.

The Dolphins strengths right now as a team is to run the ball, even with the season ending injuries to Ronnie Brown and Patrick Cobbs. Ricky Williams can lead the way, and has rushed for over 1,000 yards so far this season.

The Dolphins have been one-dimensional in each of their past 4 games, and each of those games has featured the Dolphins putting the game into young Henne’s arm, something that they should not be doing at such a young stage in this kid’s career.

If only the Dolphins would find that all important balance, and give the ball to Ricky, and let him and the offensive line do their jobs.

But with the Steelers main weakness being their secondary, expect Henne to throw the ball at least 45 time yet again.

With Henne throwing the ball so often, the offensive line will have to keep the pass rushing linebackers that the Steelers boast at bay. Henne cannot afford to take hits in tomorrows game, because that is when he starts to force his throws, and makes mistakes that cost the Dolphins.

I am more concerned with the right side of the line than I am the left side. Vernon Carey has not been playing up to expectations thus far this year, and for the tenacity that the Steelers linebackers will be coming at him, I fear that he will get rattled early and often, and in turn cause Henne to make mistakes, and put the Dolphins in an early deficit.

The Dolphins cannot afford to let Henne fall on his back snap in and snap out. The Dolphins line needs to hold sturdy and not let the Steelers penetrate the line of attack.

Don’t Let Big Ben Be Big:

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is famous for avoiding the oncoming pass rush, and making the defense pay for it.

The Dolphins defense has a respectable pass rush, but it may not have enough bite to capture Big Ben in its grasp all game long.

For this game to not turn into a shootout, the Dolphins have to get Roethlisberger on his back.The more chances Ben has to make plays, the more times he will burn you because Ben Roethlisberger is the quarterback that we all want Henne to turn into, a guy that plain and simple, makes plays, and leads his team to victory.

Final Score:

31-27 Dolphins


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