For nearly two months, the Dolphins’ running attack was toothless, averaging fewer than 70 yards per game over a seven-game stretch. But against the Seahawks, owners of an elite defense, they went for 189 and two touchdowns.
Guard Richie Incognito credits a hellacious midweek practice.
The Wednesday before the Seahawks game, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin challenged his frustrated offense. Seattle’s defensive front is physical, the pep talk went, and Miami’s offensive line had to match strength with strength.
And then, Philbin oversaw perhaps the hardest-hitting practice the Dolphins have had in some time.
“We took it out on each other on Wednesday,” Incognito said. “We just got after it.
“It’s stuff like that, you can look back and point to and say, ‘OK, we were successful, because we prepared to be that, physical.’ After you win and play physical like that, the bar is set.”
The Patriots average 73 offensive plays per game. The Dolphins? Fewer than 62.
That discrepancy has as much to do with pace as it does efficiency. New England runs a wide-open, hurry-up style, dashing to the line of scrimmage before opposing defenses can substitute.
“We’re prepared to do as much [substituting] as we can, or little, or none,” Philbin said. “We have to find a way to play well on third down. We have to find a way to play well in the red zone. The better job we can do on third down, the less that’ll be an issue.”
Incognito was fined $10,000 for driving Titans linebacker Colin McCarthy’s face into the turf Nov.11, but he is appealing.
However, he hasn’t yet been able to state his case to the NFL. The reason, he said Thursday: The league hasn’t found enough video evidence to properly fight the appeal. But the fine hasn’t been waived, either, he added.
Earlier this week, his coach dismissed the prevailing opinion that Incognito is a dirty player.
“It was not a smart play on his part,” Philbin said. “But aside from that, I watch the film every week and he’s probably got 700-something plays on tape, and he plays the game hard and he’s played the game the right way.”
THIS AND THAT
• Dolphins fullback Jorvorksie Lane (knee) practiced on a limited basis Thursday after sitting out the entire session Wednesday. He expects to play Sunday.
• Kevin Burnett, on the NFL’s all-time great quarterbacks: “[ Tom Brady] is up there with the best. You go [ Joe] Montana, [ John] Elway, Peyton [ Manning] then Brady. Those are the guys you watch out for.”
• Members of the Notre Dame football operations department attended practice Thursday to scout out the Dolphins’ Davie training complex ahead of January’s BCS Championship Game.