Carpenter keeps Miami from imploding

For the period following the dismissal of their special-teams coach, Miami Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter has been named special teams player of the month.

Of course, none of the problems that doomed coordinator John Bonamego had anything to do with Carpenter. The Dolphins had little choice but to fire Bonamego on Oct. 5 for a rash of mishaps. They gave up blocked punts and long kickoff returns. Carpenter had a field goal blocked -- and returned for a touchdown -- through no fault of his own.

But then Carpenter emerged as the Dolphins MVP through the first half of the season.

The only team that has scored fewer touchdowns than the Dolphins are the abysmal Carolina Panthers.

The trustworthy Carpenter has kept the Dolphins competitive.

He became the fourth in NFL history to kick five field goals in consecutive games last week and led the league with 13 field goals in October. He made a 44-yarder in overtime to defeat the Green Bay Packers in overtime at Lambeau Field.