Miami Dolphins Offensive Line Is the Key to Win over Seattle Seahawks

Erik FrenzSenior Writer INovember 21, 2012

Tannehill must be shielded by the big guys if the Dolphins are going to win on Sunday.
Tannehill must be shielded by the big guys if the Dolphins are going to win on Sunday.Tyler Barrick/Getty Images

There are two first-round picks, a second-round pick, a third-round pick and a free-agent acquisition on the Miami Dolphins offensive line.

Sounds like a recipe for greatness.

Except not.

The Dolphins have the fifth-lowest rushing average in the league at 3.8 yards a carry and quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been under a good deal of pressure, with defenders in his face on 28.3 percent of his drop-backs.

Whether it's pass protection or run-blocking, the Dolphins line has struggled.

Want proof? Look at the 18-yard touchdown run by Reggie Bush. It was an amazing display of athletic ability that would have never been possible were it not for the offensive line letting two defensive linemen into the backfield almost immediately after the snap, and unblocked defenders all the way up the field.

Or look at the sack-fumble of Tannehill against the Arizona Cardinals. Did Mike Pouncey even snap the ball before he rolled out the red carpet for Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett?

Their struggles running the ball have been particularly troublesome in the past three weeks.


Those struggles have come against the Indianapolis ColtsTennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills. All three teams rank in the bottom 10 in rushing YPA, and in Football Outsiders' DVOA against the run.


And their competition doesn't get any easier against the Seattle Seahawks this coming week. They allow 4.3 yards per carry, which may seem like a lot, but not when you consider the following:

  • They've only allowed more than 90 rushing yards in two contests.
  • The Vikings and 49ers, the top two teams in rushing YPA, combined for 418 yards on 59 carries (7.08 YPA).
  • Those two games account for 41.6 percent of the total rushing yards against the Seahawks this season.

It's not necessarily just the run-blocking that will be important, though. The Seahawks have gotten less than dominant performances from their defensive line in all four of their losses, sacking opposing quarterbacks just seven times in those games and on just over five percent of their opponent's drop-backs (their season sack percentage is 7.4).

Protection for the quarterback and holes in the running game have been the keys to exposing the Seahawks defense. 

A win on Sunday, and subsequently Miami's season, rests on the shoulders of the offensive line. 


Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained via team press releases.