How Dolphins-Chiefs storylines played out

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Before tonight's game between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs, I presented some storylines to follow.

This is how they played out:

Miami Dolphins

Q: How does RB Ricky Williams respond to being the feature back for at least the first half? RB Ronnie Brown is out with an injured right thumb.

A: Williams was a mixed bag. He looked like his old self to begin the opening drive with a 21-yard gust and an 8-yard carry to the Chiefs' 4-yard line. Williams used to be money from that close, but he couldn't punch it in on four tries. On his last carry of the series, the Dolphins were on the 1-yard line, but Williams was forced out of bounds for a loss of four yards.

After the game, he seemed to take offense to my line of questioning on the subject.

"I'm the running back, and it's my job to try and get the ball in the end zone," Williams said. "You always want to score six points when you get down there, but I thought we did a good job of running the ball down there. We took 10 minutes of the clock and we put our defense in a good position. Ideally, we want to score, but we'll get it ironed out."

Take away his 21-yard run and Williams ran 11 times for 26 yards, a 2.4-yard average.

Q: Does QB Chad Pennington continue to show progress in learning the Dolphins' system?

A: You betcha. Dolphins coach Tony Sparano has been coy about his plans for the starting quarterback job, suggesting rookie Chad Henne might have a shot at it.

But Pennington was sharp again. He played four series, with the Dolphins scoring 10 points. He completed 11 of 15 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. His passer rating was 111.5.

Henne completed only two of his seven attempts for 14 yards and threw an interception for Miami's first turnover of the preseason.

Q: Does WR Ernest Wilford, who could be in jeopardy of not making the 53-man roster, make his presence felt?

A: Wilford did not. He played almost the entire second half and didn't have the ball thrown his direction, although the Dolphins attempted only nine passes in the second half.

Q: What will OLB Joey Porter look like? He's dealing with multiple injuries that have the Dolphins concerned.

A: Porter looked decent in his limited time. He started the game and sacked Brodie Croyle for a 7-yard loss on third down at the end of the first quarter.

Q: Can rookie K Dan Carpenter continue to acquit himself since the Dolphins cut proven veteran Jay Feely?

A: Carpenter made a 19-yard field goal in the first quarter, keeping him perfect on seven preseason attempts. He also made two extra points. His kickoffs went to the 12, 2, goal line, goal line, 1-yard into end zone, goal line.

Kansas City Chiefs

Q: Can Brodie Croyle continue to establish himself as a worthy starter? The Chiefs have scored only 13 points in Croyle's three quarters of preseason work so far.

A: Croyle had a miserable night, and he admitted as much. He was 12 of 21 for 110 yards and one interception. He was sacked three times and lost a fumble.

"It as a setback, obviously," Croyle said. "We wanted to go out and have a good showing, score points and win the game. We just kind of shot ourselves in the foot in the first half."

Damon Huard didn't do any better. He completed three of his seven passes for 26 yards and one interception. He was sacked twice. Tyler Thigpen also threw an interception on five attempts with no completions.

"It's pretty tough when you don't score any points and you turn the ball over like we did," Huard said.

Q: Which kicker will put his best foot forward? Nick Novak and Connor Barth are dueling for the job, and the Chiefs reportedly want to name their guy before the final preseason game.

A: Novak had the only attempt. His 48-yard try sailed wide right, but he was kicking from a weird spot where the dirt behind what would be second base meets the grass on the field where the Florida Marlins play.

"I thought Novak would have made that one," Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said. "It would have been nice if he made that. So we're still evaluating."

Q: Will the reworked defensive line make any noise against a young Dolphins front that includes two rookies? DE Turk McBride is having an impressive preseason, and first-round pick DT Glenn Dorsey is under the microscope.

A: The Chiefs didn't record a sack. The stats will show the Dolphins ran 31 times for 164 yards, but that includes three kneel-downs at the end of the game and an 80-yard run by Jalen Parmele.

Dorsey had three tackles, including one for a loss.