The Browns will face a winless squad this week, but cannot take anything for granted. Obviously the Ohio State Buckeyes found out what can happen when facing a Miami team looking for its first win. And yes, sure we are talking apples and oranges a wee bit, and sure, this game, as opposed to the Buckeyes', will be a home contest.
But it would be prudent for the Browns to take the Dolphins seriously.
Miami followed up a 3-1 preseason by opening the 2011 season with two home games, and lost them both. However, there needs to be a caveat with that statement, and that is that the opponents were the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans. No chopped liver there.
The Patriots won 38-24 over the Dolphins in Week 1 when Tom Brady racked up 517 yards through the air and four TD passes. Even so, the Dolphins managed to get into a 14-14 tie early in the third quarter before seeing the Patriots erupt for 24 of the next 27 points in the game, before Miami scored a "feel good and pad the stats" score late in the fourth quarter.
Week 2 was a bit more settled and competitive for Miami, but the 2-0 Texans had enough to claim the victory. Again the Dolphins were in the game in the second half, coming back from a 16-3 halftime deficit to cut the lead to three early in the fourth period. The Texans went ahead by 10 with just over 10 minutes to play, and neither team put any more points on the board in a game which finished 23-13, Houston.
So yes, the Dolphins are 0-2. But they have also either been tied with or very close behind two undefeated teams in the second half of each of their games.
Chad Henne is the field general for Miami, and has amassed 586 yards through the air in the first two games, going 42-of-79 with three touchdowns and two picks.
Miami is led on the ground thus far by Daniel Thomas, who in just the Houston game had 107 yards on just 18 carries for an average of almost six yards per rush. Henne is second on the squad with 85 yards on 10 carries with a long of 20, so the former Michigan QB bears watching, and containing, by the Browns' defense.
Brandon Marshall has run up 218 yards on 13 receptions over two games with a touchdown. All but one of Marshall's receptions have resulted in a first down. Reggie Bush is next with 10 receptions for 59 yards, and Bush has also accounted for 56 yards on 17 carries running the ball.
Something else to keep in mind about the Dolphins. While a trend one season might not carry over into the next campaign -- Miami was only 1-7 at home last year...but 6-2 on the road.
The Browns won last year in Miami 13-10 on December 5, and in the all-time series, Miami leads 9-7, although Cleveland has won the last three meetings and has not lost to the Dolphins since 2004.