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Sports

December 1, 2012

Turnovers big concern for Miami against Patriots

MIAMI — The Miami Dolphins had just completed their most recent victory when offensive coordinator Mike Sherman approached rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill to offer congratulations — and some stern advice.

In the midst of the locker room celebration, Sherman reminded Tannehill about an ill-advised pass that had been intercepted in the end zone, nearly costing Miami the game.

“It was pretty jovial, but I still was able to pretty much make my point,” Sherman said. “I doubt very much you’ll see that pass again.”

One turnover at a time, the Dolphins are desperately trying to solve a long-standing problem. This season they’re tied for fifth worst in the NFL in turnover differential at minus-10, which is especially worrisome going into Sunday’s game against high-scoring New England.

The Patriots (8-3) lead the NFL in turnover differential with a whopping plus-24, a big reason they’re on the verge of clinching their fourth consecutive AFC East title. The Dolphins (5-6) would help their wild-card chances with a win, but they must figure out a way to slow down Tom Brady.

“I’m open for anybody’s suggestions,” Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said.

The best bet would be to take away the ball, but New England has committed only eight turnovers all season. Brady has the NFL’s lowest interception rate; he has been picked off three times in 420 passes, while throwing for 24 scores.

“Amazing and unbelievable,” Miami linebacker Karlos Dansby said. “But I know why they’ve got the least interceptions in the league. It’s because their running game is so good. You have to stop the run. Then you get hit with the play-action pass. They’re real precise and efficient. If you don’t make them one-dimensional, you’ve got a long day ahead.”

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