Miami Dolphins

Dolphins’ run defense falters again as McFadden, Cowboys romp

Miami Dolphins struggle with the combination of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and running back Darren McFadden in the fourth quarter at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, November 22, 2015.
Miami Dolphins struggle with the combination of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and running back Darren McFadden in the fourth quarter at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, November 22, 2015. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

Sunday was back to reality for the Dolphins’ run defense.

A week after shutting down the Eagles’ DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, the Dolphins got run over by the Cowboys’ ground attack.

Darren McFadden torched Miami for 129 yards on 29 carries, including 15 on a late third-and-14 that essentially put the game away.

As a team, the Cowboys rushed for 166 yards and averaged 4.4 per attempt. The success was a big reason why they won the time of possession battle by more than 17 minutes.

“I don’t know what we gave up, but obviously didn’t do a good enough job in that area,” said defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. “It’s as simple as it gets… I think it came down to execution on our part. Missed tackles and missed assignments and things of that nature.”

The Dolphins are now on pace to surrender 2,218 rushing yards this year, which would be the most since the team’s one-win 2007 season.

Bad day

Jamar Taylor was visibly upset about how he played Sunday. The Dolphins’ starting corner matched up mostly against Terrance Williams, who had four catches for a game-high 79 yards.

Late in the first half, Taylor had a defensive holding penalty that negated a drive-ending sack by Olivier Vernon. Later in the drive, Williams got behind Taylor on a 31-yard touchdown.

“I played horrible today,” said Taylor, who was solid against Philadelphia the week before.

Brent Grimes, meanwhile, held his own against Dez Bryant, and picked off Tony Romo at the goal line early in the game. Grimes played after missing the Eagles game with a stomach illness.

Playing for coach

Dolphins players insist they want Dan Campbell to be their coach next year.

But a few more performances like the one they had Sunday — losing to a team by 10 that had dropped its previous seven games — will make that a pipe dream.

“We have six games to prove how bad we want it,” said center Mike Pouncey said. “Coach Campbell is our head coach and I want to go out and play my butt off because the guy deserves it and I am going to do everything in my power to make sure he is here.”

Added Taylor: “He gives his all to us every day. He coaches his butt off. That would definitely be a blessing if he could stay here, and we’ve got to make that happen.”

This and that

▪ A baffling trend continued Sunday. The Dolphins averaged five yards per carry, but ran the ball just 14 times — including just seven by Lamar Miller. Campbell blamed penalties that put Miami in unmanageable downs and distances.

▪ Perhaps the only part of Ryan Tannehill’s game that’s improved this season is the deep ball. He had four completions of at least 20 yards Sunday, and would have had a fifth if Jarvis Landry hadn’t dropped it.

▪ The full list of Dolphins inactives: CB Tony Lippett, LB Spencer Paysinger, LB Jelani Jenkins, T Ulrick John, T Ja’Wuan James, WR Matt Hazel and TE Jake Stoneburner.

▪ Jason Fox, who played for James, committed two holding penalties.

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