Week 12 Game Recap: Miami Dolphins 27, Detroit Lions 10
What you need to know
RB Ronnie Brown had a miserable week 11 against the Vikings, running the ball 12 times for only two net yards. Brown was more effective this week, picking up 46 yards in the first half and then getting four straight carries to open the second half before leaving the field favoring his left hand. He was taken into the locker room shortly thereafter and did not return to the game. He was later seen on the sideline with a large ice bag taped to his hand.
QB Joey Harrington and the Miami offense started the game rather inauspiciously, calling a timeout before the first snap and immediately afterward being penalized for a false start. Harrington eventually got them settled down and ran a very efficient offense. Playing with a little more motivation against the team that shunned him, Harrington threw for 213 yards and three touchdowns, completing 19 of 29 passes. In four previous Thanksgiving Day games as a Detroit Lion, Harrington had never thrown a touchdown pass.
WR Marty Booker had a strong showing, catching seven of eight targets for 115 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He seemed to always find the open space and was always on QB Joey Harrington’s radar. Replay revealed that his eight yard touchdown catch in the first quarter actually came up a bit short, but the Lions did not challenge the play.
The Dolphins’ defense played tough against both the pass and the run, sacking QB Jon Kitna seven times and limiting the Lions’ RB duo of Arlen Harris and Aveion Cason to 21 yards on ten combined carries.
QB Jon Kitna started hot, moving the Lions down the field on their first two possessions and scoring the first ten points of the game. Miami adjusted by intensifying their pass rush and got into Kitna’s face, sacking him seven times. Kitna was basically shut down until three minutes into the fourth quarter when he completed five straight passes out of the shotgun in a no huddle offense. The Dolphins defense looked tired and a Lions’ score appeared imminent until DE Matt Roth knocked the ball out of Kitna’s hand as he was reaching back to pass and Vonnie Holliday recovered, killing the drive. Kitna finished the game with 252 yards on 22 of 40 passing, one touchdown and one interception.
WR Roy Williams had a huge first quarter, pulling in five catches for 110 yards, but caught only one more pass the entire game. Many of his later opportunities were well off target as QB Jon Kitna fought to survive the Dolphins’ vigilant pass rush. Williams finished with 126 yards on six catches.
RB Kevin Jones was sidelined by his ankle injury and the Lions’ running game really suffered. Replacement RBs Arlen Harris and Aveion Cason started slowly, combining for 11 yards on seven rushes in the first half. Harris added only ten more yards in the second half as the Lions essentially abandoned the running game. Harris also picked up 22 yards on a pair of receptions.
What you ought to know
This had to be the most rewarding experience of Harrington’s career, returning to Detroit in a Dolphins’ uniform and dismantling his former team. He had plenty of time to sit in the pocket and look for his receivers as the Lions sent a three man rush on most occasions. The one time they did send a blitz; Harrington escaped and completed a pass to WR Marty Booker for a 19 yard touchdown. Harrington finished with 213 yards through the air and three passing touchdowns. He was intercepted once.
|RB Ronnie Brown, Rush: 15 - 68 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets)|
Brown was looking to recover from an abysmal performance in Minnesota and was off to a good start before leaving the game early in the second half favoring his left hand. It appeared he got his hand caught in a defender’s facemask. He returned from the locker room with an ice bag taped to the hand and did not take another snap. He finished with 68 yards on 15 carries.
Morris replaced Ronnie Brown who left a minute into the second half with a left hand injury. He ran right at the Lions’ defense, picking up a nice 55 yard gain up the middle and totaled 91 yards on 12 carries in just under a half game of football. Morris lost a fumble in the fourth quarter, but it didn’t seem to dash his coaches’ confidence as he returned to the game on the next series. There was no word yet on the severity of Ronnie Brown’s injury, but Morris looks to be the beneficiary should Brown miss more playing time.
Minor spelled Sammy Morris after a long run and had some garbage time carries. He totaled 27 yards.
Booker was QB Joey Harrington’s primary target, catching seven passes for 115 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Replay showed that his eight yard touchdown pass in the first quarter actually came up short as his knee was down before the ball crossed the goal line, but the Lions did not challenge the play. There was no question about his 19 yard touchdown in the third quarter as Harrington escaped a rare Lions’ blitz and Booker took the short pass around the left corner to pay dirt.
Welker was the Dolphins’ second leading receiver with 42 yards on five catches. He also added a nice 45 yard kickoff return to his stats.
Chambers was not targeted until the waning seconds of the first half and didn’t catch his first pass until halfway through the third quarter. Most of his targets were uncatchable balls and he finished with only a pair of catches for 23 yards. The disappointment continues for Chamber’s owners.
The rookie was targeted twice and dropped both passes.
McMichael’s five yard touchdown in the second quarter was his first of the season. He caught a pair of other passes, finishing with 25 yards receiving.
Peelle is used primarily as a blocker, but recorded a lone three yard reception.
Mare was perfect on the day with a pair of mid range field goals and three extra points.
The Dolphins’ rush defense limited the Lions’ back up RBs to 21 yards on ten combined carries. It’s hard to say if starter Kevin Jones would have performed better as the Lions basically abandoned the run in the second half.
The Dolphins’ pass defense was burned early by QB Jon Kitna, WR Roy Williams and the Detroit offense, as Williams racked up 110 receiving yards in the first quarter. Miami adjusted and started sending more pressure, forcing Kitna out of the pocket where he does not operate well. With the running game in trouble, Kitna became predictable and the Dolphins were able to record seven sacks. They also forced a Kitna fumble and one interception.
|QB Jon Kitna, Pass: 22 - 40 - 252 - 1 TD / 1 INT|
Kitna started strong, completing long passes to primary WR Roy Williams and finding the end zone on the team’s first offensive possession. The Dolphins adjusted and Kitna found himself under constant pressure throughout the balance of the game. He looked good on an early fourth quarter drive, completing five straight passes in the hurry up offense, but he lost a fumble just shy of the Miami red zone to end the drive. Kitna finished completing 22 of 40 passes for 252 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
|RB Arlen Harris, Rush: 8 - 15 - 0, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0 (2 targets)|
Harris started the game in place of the injured Kevin Jones and split time with Aveion Cason. He saw most of the action, but managed only 15 yards on eight carries as the Lions abandoned their ineffective running game in the second half. Harris added 22 yards on a pair of receptions out of the backfield.
|RB Aveion Cason, Rush: 2 - 6 - 0, Rec: 3 - 8 - 0 (4 targets)|
Cason had five touches for a combined 14 yards sharing the backfield with Arlen Harris.
The FB was targeted once in the first quarter, but did not record a catch or carry.
Jones was unable to play in this game because of an ankle injury.
Furrey was QB Jon Kitna’s most targeted receiver in this game, especially in the second half when fellow WR Roy Williams began drawing tighter coverage. Many of the balls aimed his way were uncatchable as Kitna had Miami defenders in his face often. Furrey was seen on the sideline trying to get his team pumped up, spouting “motivational” words and gestures. He finished with 67 yards on seven catches.
Williams caught QB Jon Kitna’s first pass of the game for a 41 yard gain and finished the first quarter with five catches for 110 yards. The Dolphins made some adjustments; both in the secondary and with their pass rush, and shut him down for the balance of the game. Williams recorded only one more catch and finished with 126 yards in the game.
The other Williams started the game and was given a round of applause when he made his first catch of the season, a seven yarder in the first quarter.
Bradford saw about as much action as Mike Williams, which didn’t amount to much. He recorded one catch for 16 yards.
Campbell found himself alone in the end zone for the Lions' first opening drive touchdown in a season and a half. He had a 13 yard third quarter reception nullified by penalty.
Hanson hit from 52 yards in the first quarter, but Lions’ coaches decided to forego two other 50+ yard opportunities, punting instead on one occasion and going for it on fourth and eleven on the other.
The Dolphins had their best rushing effort of the season against the Lions’ defense. Ronnie Brown, Sammy Morris and Travis Minor combined for 186 yards on the ground, wearing the Lions down and holding on to their lead on the scoreboard.
The Lions chose to send only a three man rush more often than not and Miami QB Joey Harrington picked them apart. When Detroit finally did send a blitz, Harrington escaped and hit WR Marty Booker for a 19 yard touchdown. It was a lose-lose situation for the Lions’ defense.