Let’s have some fun with logic.
The Dolphins will need to score points (probably at least 24) to beat the Packers Sunday.
The Dolphins only score that many points when they produce big plays on offense.
Ergo, the Dolphins’ best (and perhaps only) chance to beat Green Bay is with explosive plays.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
The data to back all that up: The Packers average 24 points per game. The Dolphins have only scored that many three times this year. In each of those games, they had two plays of 40 or more yards, at least four plays of 40 or more yards and touchdowns on big gainers.
Let’s get even more basic.
The Dolphins have eight plays of 40-plus this year, and they have come over the course of five games. They have averaged 26 points per. In their other four games this season, they have managed just 14.3.
“At times this year, we’ve relied too much on splash plays and not execution and the detail of those things,” Dolphins offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “When you don’t get those splash plays and you don’t execute the way you need to, you’re going to get into some slug fights.”
Last Sunday against the Jets was one of those slug fights. The Dolphins had just one play of at least 20 yards (and none of 40 or more). As a result, they finished with 7 first downs and 6 points on offense. They won only because Jerome Baker returned an interception for a touchdown.
Against a feckless Sam Darnold, that was enough because Miami’s offense didn’t self-immolate.
“One thing we’ve done a really good job of this year in those games is we didn’t turn the ball over,” Loggains said. “I think in the NFL, we have the second fewest pre-snap penalties in the NFL. You guys know the old saying, ‘To win, you can’t lose first,’ and that’s what the offense did.
“We did enough not to lose the game and the other two phases played really well and we were able to get out with a win and we didn’t beat ourselves,” Loggains continued. “If I’m looking for a positive, that’s what I would say it was, because that’s about the only one.”
But if the Dolphins play on offense Sunday against the Packers like they did against the Jets and Patriots, they are going to get run out of Lambeau. They are going to need a handful of explosive plays.
Unfortunately, their most dynamic player, Albert Wilson, will not play again this year due to a hip injury.
So where are those big-hitters going to come from?
“You don’t change your offense and we still have guys that can do it,” Loggains said. “‘19’ (Jakeem Grant) can do it, ‘32’ (Kenyan Drake), ‘10’ (Kenny Stills), ‘11’ (DeVante Parker). Those guys have done it. You just can’t rely on those things. You have to rely on execution and detail of your assignment. Those are things that we need to work on and improve.
“We need to coach it better and we need to execute better, because you can’t rely on splash plays to score 28. You play 65 plays in a game, you can’t rely on six, seven plays to win the game for you. We need to put drives together and finish drives.”