By Adam H. Beasleyabeasley@miamiherald.com
Down a score and in desperate need of a stop, the Dolphins picked a peculiar time to sit down both their top two defensive ends.
For much of the Patriots’ game-clinching, 16-play, 77-yard field-goal drive that sapped more than seven minutes off the fourth-quarter clock, Jared Odrick and Cameron Wake were on the bench.
Neither were injured.
Meanwhile, the Patriots, who couldn’t run the ball all afternoon, called 12 rushing plays on the possession and gained 53 yards.
“That was our best drive of the day,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “We needed it.”
So what was Dolphin coach Joe Philbin’s rationale for using Olivier Vernon, Derrick Shelby and even linebacker Koa Misi at defensive end during the game’s deciding moments?
“They were running the ball,” Philbin said. “We have a play count that we want to keep guys to [in order] to keep guys fresh.”
Likewise, Odrick cited the Dolphins defensive line rotation when asked about his prolonged absence.
As for Wake’s response, it was a bit curt.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It was one of those questions for the coaches.”
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