Sunday, December 16, 2007

A word about the Dolphins game...

See, this is what I've been saying about the Dolphins all season. With all of the injuries they've sustained and the ridiculous ways they've lost 6 games by field goals, the luck was eventually going to swing the other way. The other team would sustain the injuries, miss field goals, and make the bad decisions that would lead to the Dolphins' first victory. Even with the two out-of-bounds kickoffs, the Dolphins had enough good luck swing their way this time....

Things that went the Dolphins' way today:

  • Steve McNair not starting, Kyle Boller concussed, Ray Lewis' finger dislocated, Ed Reed getting banged up.
  • The reception that turned into an interception on a random bounce.
  • Stopping the Ravens' receiver at their own 1/2-yard line with 1 second left in regulation.
  • Billick going for the tie instead of the win.
  • The Ravens missing a 44-yard field goal when every other team has made all of their 40+-yard field goals against Miami this season. (I am likely engaging in hyperbole).
  • Their #6 receiver breaking open a 64-yard gain to win the game on an intermediate route.

Note that the same problems that have plagued the Dolphins for much of the season were still present today:

  • An old, slow defense that had trouble making stops at the end of the game when it mattered.
  • A defense that gave up big yards to no-name players.
  • An offense that struggled to move the ball for much of the game without dumpoffs to TEs or RBs.
  • Iffy red zone playcalling.
  • Poor pass protection.
  • An inaccurate quarterback.
  • A resulting inability and unwillingness to call deep pass plays.
  • A resulting tendency to call too many consecutive running plays.

In other words, the Dolphins were a bad team, but so are the Ravens. They both player poorly, but one team had more bad luck than the other. What does this mean for the Dolphins-Patriots matchup on Sunday? Well, as a fan, I am compelled to say we shall defend our history and our honor. Realistically... well, the Patriots have gotten a lot of good luck on their side lately. The Ravens' timeout. Facing a weakened Colts team. I could've sworn that was a touchdown for the Jets today... Then again, they usually are pretty lucky. The game against the Raiders. The playoff game against the Chargers last season. Clearly, the Dolphins are at a huge disadvantage in terms of talent and home field. However, only about 40% of divisional games have been won by the home team this season, and the Patriots have shown some weakness running the ball and defending against the run. The Ravens, Jets, a depleted Colts team, and an A.J. Feeley-led Eagles team put up good fights. Because of that, the systems I use don't see them as perfect. Close but not quite. And Brady has looked less than superhuman the last several weeks. More like a 14 or 15-win team, which is great but means they're likely to lose a game. I see the Giants as a better matchup because of their pass rush, but strange things happen all the time in football.

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