CBS 11 Header TXA 21 Header MeTV Header KRLD Header The Fan Header
CBS DFW WEATHER APP: iPhone App Store | Android App Coming Soon | More Information

Tale of the tape

Tale Of The Tape: Carolina Panthers At Miami Dolphins

(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images) (credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images) (credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Carolina Panthers

Miami Dolphins

Cam Newton is proving to be one of the most improved quarterbacks in the NFL. He has come a long way this season in proving his consistency, and that’s why the Panthers have been able to climb the ladder so rapidly this season. Newton is a brilliant athlete who can make big plays with his strong arm or his quick feet. Quarterback The Dolphins may have pulled out a win against the Chargers in Week 11, but they are struggling to play consistently. Ryan Tannehill has the talent to throw short- and medium-range passes, but his long passing suffers and he lacks the leadership to bring the Dolphins victories in the fourth quarter. Tannehill’s 14-11 TD-interception ratio is not good enough.
The Panthers are finding a true offensive identity this year and the running game has much to do with it. DeAngelo Williams has the skill and toughness to run inside and the speed to get to the outside and make a big play. Fullback Mike Tolbert is a load when he runs or catches a short pass. Steve Smith is fighting hard to get the Panthers back to the playoffs while Greg Olsen has dependable hands. Offense The Dolphins have not had a consistent running game all season. They have tried to establish Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas and both have had their moments, but opposing defenses can usually shut them down when the game is on the line. Wide receiver Brian Hartline is a solid route runner with dependable hands, but Mike Wallace is an inconsistent deep threat.
The Panthers got off to a slow start, but the defense helped head coach Ron Rivera get the season turned around. The Panthers are big, strong, athletic and nasty on defense. They rank first in the league in fewest yards allowed. Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly is one of the best at his position in the league and he leads the team in tackles. Charles Johnson is a monster pass rusher. Defense The Dolphins have been ordinary on the defensive end and rank 21st in yards allowed. Middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe has been one of the few consistent Dolphins defenders and he leads the team with 70 stops. Defensive end Cameron Wake is the Dolphins’ best pass rusher with 6.5 sacks, while fellow DE Olivier Vernon is right behind with 5.5. sacks.
The Panthers have one of the most explosive return men in the league but he has yet to have a big return this season. Carolina is quite disciplined in its special teams coverage and rarely allows big plays. Graham Gano has made 13-of-14 FG attempts this season and is 5-of-5 on attempts of 50 yards or more. Special Teams The Dolphins have struggled with their special teams coverage and they have little chance of getting a big return from Marcus Thigpen, who is merely ordinary. Placekicker Caleb Sturgis has had an up-and-down season, but punter Brandon Fields has a strong leg and is averaging 49.3 yards per punt.

The winner is

(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Carolina Panthers
4 out of 4

The Panthers have a big edge in toughness and skill, and that’s a difficult combination to beat. The only issue is that Carolina is coming off a high-profile Monday night game and they may not be at the top of their game.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

More Tales of the tape

  1. 2014 NFL Draft 2014 NBA Draft
    Tale Of The Tape: NFL Draft vs NBA Draft

    Which of the professional sports human cattle auctions do you prefer?  We break down our take of both the NFL and NBA Draft to see which is the best.

  2. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote) (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Warren Little)
    Tale Of The Tape: Winter Olympics In Sochi Vs. FIFA World Cup In Brazil

    With both sites having their share of issues in hosting major international sporting events, we went to the tape to decide who was the worst host of 2014.

  3. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) LeBron James (Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: LeBron James Decision 1 Vs. Decision 2

    Let’s compare LeBron James’ first decision to leave the Cavs to his decision to opt out with the Heat.

See all Tales of the Tape