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Dolphins’ playoff chance slim

November 30, 2010
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

DAVIE (AP) - The Miami Dolphins' most lopsided win this year did little to help their slim playoff chances, and coach Tony Sparano knows it.

The Dolphins (6-5) might fall short of a postseason berth even if they sweep their final five games. Odds are long in part because the Dolphins have lost to the four teams they're chasing in the AFC race - the Patriots and Jets (both 9-2), Ravens and Steelers (both 8-3) - and head-to-head results are the first tiebreaker for a wild-card berth.

All four teams won last week, so Miami gained no ground despite a 33-17 victory at Oakland.

"This is back-against-the-wall time," Sparano said Monday. "Winning the game, our margin for error is still the same as it was going in."

That means it's small, and Miami desperately needs a December surge beginning Sunday against Cleveland.

At least the inconsistent Dolphins looked like a playoff team against Oakland. They gained 471 yards, their highest total in 15 years, and held the Raiders to 16 yards rushing, which matched the second-lowest total ever by a Miami opponent.

"Our mentality was, 'Let's start that tough climb,'" running back Ronnie Brown said.

With playoff hopes in jeopardy, the Dolphins bounced back from a rash of injuries and a prime-time drubbing by Chicago. They showed plenty of emotion against the Raiders and Sparano led the way, throwing roundhouse punches as his team pulled away.

It's fun to play well, and the Dolphins did that. They achieved season highs in points, yards rushing (186) and time of possession (41:38), while the defense had three takeaways and allowed only one touchdown.

A long list of surprising contributors included reserve receivers Marlon Moore and Roberto Wallace, and backup linebackers Tim Dobbins and Ikaika Alama-Francis.

For the first time in a month, Sparano will start the same quarterback two games in a row. Chad Henne's grip on the job became firmer with a 307-yard, two-touchdown passing performance at Oakland.

 
 

 

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