Dolphins need to find answers on defense to challenge in AFC
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Despite an embarrassing performance on Monday night, the Miami Dolphins remain in playoff contention in the mediocre AFC.
But if the Dolphins (4-5) hope to challenge for a postseason berth they’ll need to fix a struggling defense. Miami has allowed 37.3 points per game during its current three-game losing streak, which included a 45-21 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Monday night.
Carolina piled up 458 yards of offense, the most in the franchise’s 23-year history.
“There is no way we should give up 350 yards with the players we have, let alone 550,” said Dolphins defensive end Andre Branch. “We just have to go back to work and it will be fixed for sure.” It will need to be soon. Things won’t get much easier for the Dolphins who still have to face Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots twice in the next four weeks.
“It was a frustrating night,” Branch said. “The coaches will figure out how to get it fixed.”
The Panthers gashed the Dolphins repeatedly on the ground, running for 294 yards and averaging 8.2 yards per carry — and that includes two kneel downs by backup quarterback Derek Anderson which brought the average down significantly. The pass defense wasn’t any better, allowing Cam Newton to throw for 254 yards and four touchdowns.
At one point the Panthers scored touchdowns on five straight possessions.
The Panthers had 30 first downs and were 11 of 14 on third down conversions.
“We didn’t get off the field when we needed to get off the field, especially on third downs,” Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said.
Carolina Panthers’ Cameron Artis-Payne (34) runs for a long gain against the Miami Dolphins in the second half of an NFL football game Monday in Charlotte, N.C.