5 keys to Dolphins’ possible win against 49ers
1. Protect the ball: The turnover margin has been one of the factors that sets mood for an early predictable game – as proven by the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers’ stats for this season. The Miami Dolphins are 4-0 when they are on the right side of the turnover battle but 1-7 when they are losing it. On the other hand, the San Francisco 49ers are 8-0-1 when they have the edge in turnovers and lost all three of their games when they’ve given too many turnovers. The Miami Dolphins offense has been trying to take control of the situation over the past two weeks, producing just two turnovers overall. But the Miami Dolphins defense has remained unproductive in the department, forcing just one turnover in five games.
2. Run away from 49ers’ Smiths: The San Francisco 49ers’ left side plays vicious defense. Outside linebacker Alfondo Smith currently ranks No.1 in the league with 17.5 sacks, while defensive end Justin Smith was thrown into the NFL Defensive Player of the Year ballot after finishing last season with 7.5 sacks – an extraordinary task under a 3-4 defense. They’ll be up against Miami Dolphins right tackle Nate Garner (starting in place of Jake Long, out with season-ending injury, and right tackle John Jerry. The Miami Dolphins better invest on the other side, running maximum plays behind left tackle Jonathan Martin and Left guard Incognito.
3. Utilize Daniel Thomas: The Miami Dolphins have a sturdy defense, ranking No.3 in yards allowed (90.6 per game) and No. 2 in average yards allowed per carry (3.6 yards per game) – but it ha proven weak against teams with solid rush game and elite running backs, The allowed 146 rushing yards in a loss to Minnesota Vikings and Adrian Peterson, 149 yards in a defeat against the New York Giants and Ahmad Bradshaw, as well as 159 yards in a tie with the St. Louis Rams and Steven Jackson. Although Daniel Thomas registered only five carries for 10 yards in a loss to the New England Patriots last week, his physicality might allow the Miami Dolphins to control the clock and layout a few drives.
4. Improvise in the box to stop Frank Gore: The San Francisco 49ers fearlessly run the ball with Frank Fore having a huge impact over their game (7-1-1 record) when he registers at least 15 carries. Currently Frank Gore has 972 yards and six touchdowns, averaging .9 yards per carry. The Miami Dolphins could choke the San Francisco 49ers’ run game by bringing third-year safety Reshad Jones into the box, leaving quarterback Colin Kaepernick to battle it out in the air.
5. Neutralize Colin Kaepernick inside the pocket: In three starts (and one appearance as replacement) Colin Kaepernick has completed 64 percent passes with 8.4 yards per attempt and three touchdown pass against one interception (96.7 passer rating) this season. But the Miami Dolphins have more to fear than Colin Kaepernick’s deadly arm. The second-year quarterback ha rushed for four touchdowns this season and recoded 84 yard as well as 50 yard runs against the St. Louis Rams last week. Colin Kaepernick can run for first downs to set up big passing plays unless the Miami Dolphins contain Colin Kaepernick inside the pocket.