Sparano says Dolphins not a passing team

Victory and defeat have been clear cut for the Miami Dolphins.

They went 2-0 on the road in their first two games. They went 0-2 at home in their past two games.

Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano noted the difference has little to do with the venue.

When the Dolphins can run, they win. When they have to throw, they lose.

Sparano, speaking at a news conference Thursday, made comments that seemed to re-emphasize his team's commitment to a ground attack despite big-armed quarterback Chad Henne and star receiver Brandon Marshall.

"The truth is, in my opinion, we've had two football games that we've been in that we've had to deviate from the norm," Sparano said, "and in both those games we lost.

"I look at the 37 games since I've been the coach here. Twenty of them are wins. In those 20 wins, 15 times the number of rushes were greater than the number of throws. In the 17 losses, 15 times the number of throws were greater than the number of rushes."

In Week 1, the Dolphins ran 36 times and passed 34 times to beat the Buffalo Bills.

In Week 2, the Dolphins ran 29 times and passed 15 times to beat the Minnesota Vikings.

In Week 3, the Dolphins ran 23 times and passed 45 times in a loss to the New York Jets.

In Week 4, the Dolphins ran 21 times and passed 44 times in a loss to the New England Patriots.

"I would tell you that from our end we deviated from the norm a little bit, and that maybe is what you see," Sparano said. "When you look at the averages, you can't argue with the averages."

Sparano noted the Dolphins need to run better in the red zone. But they had second-and-goal from the 2 against the Jets, and offensive coordinator Dan Henning called two pass plays. Both throws were incomplete.

Thirty running backs have at least three goal-to-go carries. Neither Ronnie Brown nor Ricky Williams are among them.

"What we don't have right now is a lot of touchdowns out of that group yet," Sparano said, "and that's part of this red-zone thing that I'm saying needs to improve from our end. We got to be."

The Dolphins rank eighth in red zone percentage at 62.5 percent, "but we need to be better than that," Sparano said. "We finished better than that in the red area last year, and I think we can do a better job rushing the football down there."

The Dolphins scored on 64.8 percent of their red-zone appearances last year, which ranked second in the NFL.