Miami Dolphins losing battle in the trenches

Gregory Shamus

Struggles on both the offensive and defensive lines have Miami on a three-game losing streak.

An early strength for the Miami Dolphins has turned into a weakness, points out the Sun Sentinel, as the Dolphins struggle on both the offensive and defensive lines. Six weeks ago Miami's run defense was tied for first in the league, but they currently sit at No. 9. The team is on a three-game losing streak that has seen them give up an average of 131 rushing yards per contest.

The offense has managed only 198 combined rushing yards over that same three-game stretch, despite facing three run defenses in the league's bottom 10. Reggie Bush has had more than 50 yards only once in the last six games, and his November yards-per-carry average is more than two yards below his average from September.

Head coach Joe Philbin diagnosed the problem as one of the offensive line allowing penetration:

"If you look at the other night the second play of the game we had a guy in the backfield, so we had a minus-four, minus-five play. We had a couple other plays where a (defensive tackle) was in the backfield for a minus-five. To me what kills the run game, first and foremost, is penetration, especially if it is at the point of attack."

Miami next faces the Seattle Seahawks, who are sixth in the league in rush yards, averaging 142.4 per game. They're also third in the league defending the pass (196.2 yards allowed per game), meaning Miami's offense may have to succeed on the ground or not at all.

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