Long keeps Jared Allen at bay

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Palm Beach Post (Florida)

By BRIAN BIGGANE
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS — It was a matchup of Pro Bowlers that doesn’t come along often: Jake Long, the Dolphins’ massive left tackle, against Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen, whose 72 sacks are the most in the NFL the last six years.

“It was a battle all day,” Long said. “It was fun.”

Long, the No. 1 pick overall in 2008, became the first Dolphins offensive lineman named to consecutive Pro Bowls since Richmond Webb had that honor seven straight years (1990-96).

In Allen, Long was going toe-to-toe with a three-time Pro Bowler who had averaged 56 tackles and 15 sacks each of the past three years.

“Those are two of the elite guys in this league,” said left guard Richie Incognito. “It was a real physical battle.”

Asked if there was much conversation between the two, Incognito replied, “A little. But they were letting their pads do the talking. They were getting after it.”

Reminded that Allen trains during the off-season with MMA fighters, Long grinned and said, “Yeah, but he can’t do that on the field. I’m happy about that.”

Allen didn’t do all that much in Miami’s 14-10 win Sunday. He was credited with three tackles (including a sack) and two quarterback hurries.

“Jake did a great job all day,” quarterback Chad Henne said, “protecting my backside, giving me time to throw the ball downfield.”

“That’s what the NFL is all about,” tight end Anthony Fasano added. “Two All-Pros going at it. I didn’t lack confidence in Jake at all.”

First play a winner: With the Vikings expecting a run on Miami’s first play, offensive coordinator Dan Henning crossed them up, calling a Brandon Marshall streak that resulted in a 46-yard gain down the right sideline on a perfect throw by Henne.

“We practiced that play all week,” Henne said. “We were going to be aggressive, and that was a great call by coach Henning.

“They had one-on-one (coverage) on Brandon, and we improved from last week when we had that one-on-one matchup.”

Taking a pass on passing: Miami set a club record by attempting only five passes in the first half.

The previous low was seven, set most recently in a 22-0 loss at Cleveland on Nov. 20, 2005.

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