Phins Lose Heartbreaker at Home
The Miami Dolphins took on their most hated rival Sunday at Sun Life Stadium, the New York Jets. Miami lost in heartbreaking fashion in overtime. It will not show up in the win/loss column but deserves to be said nonetheless; the Jets did not win this football game, the Dolphins lost it. The final score from Miami Gardens was 23-20 in favor of the Jets. The Dolphins played a very decent game and put themselves in a position to win, however the chips didn’t fall in the Phins’ favor. For those “Monday Morning Quarterbackers”, there really isn’t much to critique here if you really look at it.
Dolphin fans everywhere are waking up this morning still with an insatiable hunger for kicker Dan Carpenter’s head. Carpenter, usually one of the most consistent kickers in the league, missed on two field goal opportunities from 47 yards and 48 yards. Missed field goals are a part of the game, that’s just how things go. So this hatred for guy that has won this franchise some games in the past really needs to be reevaluated. Fans are also upset with Head Coach Joe Philbin for choosing to “icing” the Jets kicker before his attempt at sealing the win for his team. This proved to be a bit controversial as the Dolphins blocked the attempt just as the timeout was called. Nick Folk ended up making the kick on the very next play to win the game. For those who fault the coach for icing the kicker, don’t. This is something that every head coach in the league practices. It had just worked from Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan two minutes prior when he successfully iced Dan Carpenter. Fans have also been complaining about the play-calling late in the game especially on the final drive. The bottom line is that rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill got the team in field goal range and upon doing so, took some shots into the endzone in an attempt to win in regulation. For years we’ve been complaining about being too “conservative” and here we are crying about being too aggressive. Had Tannehill connected with Hartline in the endzone one that 2nd attempt at six, then the coaching staff would be revered for their aggressive nature. They made the right calls, period. Faulting the coaching staff for being aggressive and going for the win in this case is ignorant. Instead, take off the blinders people and really look at this game as well as the team.
Coming out of camp and fresh off of “Hard Knocks” the Dolphins were widely considered a joke even by their own fan base. They got trounced in week 1 by a very good football team. Expectations were in the toilet for this team. They then comeback in week 2 and jump all over the Raiders at home and nearly beat a division rival at home the next week. This is a Jets team that is supposed to give the New England Patriots some competition for the AFC East division title. With that in mind, look back at this game. Did the Dolphins really disappoint? No, they played a very solid game in spite of having an inferiorly talented team. Aside from Reggie Bush, Miami is gasping for a playmaker on offense and it once again made itself evident in week 3. In essence, for those that feel the need to pass blame, the landing spot should be General Manager Jeff Ireland. Theoretically, the Dolphins were only a couple plays away from securing a win. If they had a “go-to” guy aside from Reggie Bush, then they come out victorious. Apart from Brian Hartline and Davone Bess who both have been outstanding for Miami this season, the team gets absolutely no production from the wide receiving corps. They desperately need a guy to step up whether it’s Anthony Armstrong or Legadu Naanee doesn’t matter. Miami needs something out of the third wide receiver position.
The loss to a division opponent, and a hated rival much less, isn’t the only anguish the Dolphins suffered on Sunday. Star running back Reggie Bush was injured right before halftime. He left the game with what appeared to be a left knee injury and never returned to action. The injury didn’t appear to be severe as Reggie was seeing trying to get loose on the sidelines. However the Dolphins are awaiting the MRI results. If Reggie is to miss extended time, this would be a huge blow to the Dolphins. After Bush exited the game, Miami’s offense went stagnant, especially in the run game. They lacked the only explosiveness they have on the team. In the 3rd quarter, Miami went run-heavy on offense and really couldn’t move the ball for the most part. Reggie Bush is a monumental piece of this Dolphins offensive attack and is the key to their success.
In spite of Reggie’s injury, the team still ran for 185 yards. This is the kind of balance they need going forward. The offensive line once again had a great game. Ryan Tannehill was not sacked once in the contest. On the other side of the ball, the defensive line had a terrific game as well. They were constantly pressuring Mark Sanchez, forcing him to throw the ball early. Sanchez was sacked once but was hurried all day and as a result threw two interceptions. The defensive backs played very average again. They made a few great plays but were gashed by receiver Santonio Holmes who hauled in 9 catches for 147 yards.
All in all it was an impressive performance by the Dolphins against a good Jets football team. This is a very good sign for things to come. Moving forward, the Dolphins must run the ball successfully as well as hold on to the football to give themselves a shot at the end of games. They did exactly that against the Jets but unfortunately got a bit unlucky. That’s football. When judging this team, expectations must be tempered. Instead of hating Dan Carpenter or Joe Philbin, or Mike Sherman; be proud of the effort the team put up. Next on tap is a surprisingly good Arizona Cardinals football team. For the Dolphins to be successful, they need to do exactly what they’ve done the past two weeks. They need to run the ball successfully and hold on to the football on offense. On defense, they need to continue pressure the quarterback.