Dolphins’ Slow Start, Inability To Stop The Run Proves Costly In Loss To Panthers

CHARLOTTE – The Miami Dolphins’ inability to score points early continues to be a trend as the offense was seemingly listless in their 45-21 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

The Dolphins (4-5) are averaging just 4.8 points in the first half of games this season. They managed to score a touchdown in the second quarter of tonight’s game, but the Panthers had already put 10 points on the board by then.

The Panthers would go on to score 21 unanswered points until Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake raced down the field for a 66-yard touchdown to make the score 31-14. The Dolphins wouldn’t be able to celebrate their longest touchdown run from scrimmage this season for very long as the Panthers’ offense responded with an 87-yard drive that culminated in a two-yard touchdown reception from Cam Newton to Christian McCaffrey, expanding the Panthers’ lead 38-14.

The Panthers won the time of possession battle as they held onto the football for 33:11. The Dolphins defense wore down as the game went along as a result of the amount of time they were on the field and fatigue rendered them unable to stop the pass or the run.

The Dolphins’ defense gave up whopping 548 yards of total offense to the Panthers – 296 of those yards were on the ground.

Carolina Panthers’ Jonathan Stewart (28) runs past Miami Dolphins’ T.J. McDonald (22) in the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. Photo: AP Photo/Bob Leverone.

Why couldn’t the Dolphins stop the run?

The Panthers ran the football exceptionally well out of 11 personnel, which essentially kept middle linebacker Rey Maualuga off of the field. The Dolphins will need to get stronger stopping the run while in nickel, as more teams are figuring out they can spread them out and run the football against them.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dolphins were originally slated to have a bye week following their respective Week 10 contests. Since their Week 1 matchup was rescheduled due to Hurricane Irma, both teams were forced to forego their bye week and will face one another at Hard Rock Stadium next week.


Brandon Howard joined the Sports Talk Florida team to cover the Miami Dolphins in April 2017 and will work diligently to provide daily Dolphins content and give accurate analysis of the roster, coaching and front office. Last season, Howard was the curator of content for Miami Dolphins Wire/ USA Today while aggregating high school sports results in Broward and Palm Beach counties for the Sun Sentinel. Prior to moving to South Florida Howard developed NFL content for Pro Player Insiders while covering the Cleveland Browns from 2014-2015. Howard, a Columbus, Ohio native graduated from West Virginia in 2004 in Athletic Coaching and Education. He also was a scholarship track and field athlete and walk-on football player. Howard was the 2003 Big East Long and IC4A long jump Champion and was a provisional national qualifier in the event. He also maintained his status as a member of the Athletic Director Academic Honor Roll during his time as a Mountaineer.