Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Then, in Feb or March, he'll get traded to anyone who wants him.
MIAMI (Ticker) -- Lamar Smith rushed for 158 yards and a touchdown and safety Brock Marion scored on a 100-yard interception return on the final play as the Miami Dolphins rolled to a 34-7 rout of the Buffalo Bills.
The Dolphins clinched a home wild-card playoff game with the win. However, the New England Patriots won earlier Sunday at Carolina to edge Miami for the AFC East Division title based on a better division record.
Smith registered his third 100-yard outing of the season and first since December 10. In his previous three games, the 5-11 224-pound running back rushed for a combined 59 yards.
The Dolphins dominated the ground game, outrushing the Bills 202-39 "The best thing about today's win was that it was the type of win that we enjoy," Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt said. "We ran the ball for over 200 yards and we held them to about 30 yards rushing. I think with a win today, we're going into the playoffs with some confidence."
Wannstedt guided the Dolphins to their second straight playoff berth in his two-year reign. Miami won the AFC East title a year ago.
Marion grabbed Miami's third pick of the game and lifted the Dolphins to 6-0 when they record a defensive touchdown.
"I just played inside the guy and didn't really think he (Travis Brown) was going to throw it," Marion said. "Then when he throws, I'm down the sideline."
Marion recorded his second touchdown in as many weeks and just the third his nine-year NFL career. He returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown last Sunday as the Dolphins clinched a playoff spot for the fifth straight season with a 21-14 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
The Nevada product's only other score also came in a regular-season finale, but in a Dallas Cowboys' uniform. On Christmas Day, 1995, Marion returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown at Arizona.
However, the Dolphins have injury concerns entering the postseason. Pro Bowl middle linebacker Zach Thomas was sidelined with a shoulder injury and rookie receiver Chris Chambers left the game late in the first quarter with a sprained right ankle.
"We had a couple of guys out, they were banged up. But that's where NFL experience and having depth comes in," Dolphins cornerback Sam Madison said.
Pro Bowl fullback Larry Centers caught a 12-yard TD pass in the third quarter for the Bills, who lost for the ninth time in their last 11 games.
"We were not able to overcome turnovers and penalties in untimely places," Bills coach Gregg Williams said. "When pressed to get back into the game, our younger players committed some turnovers, negating some significant big-play opportunities."
Jay Fiedler threw for a touchdown and ran for another. The Dolphins quarterback completed 9-of-16 passes for 110 yards with no interceptions as Miami improved to 7-1 at Pro Player Stadium this season.
"Not having to travel, not having to exhaust yourself going on the road, getting the home crowd going -- being a little more hyped up at home -- it's just going out there and playing better," Fiedler said.
Fiedler has won all four of his contests with Buffalo, posting an 8-to-1 career TD-to-INT ratio.
The Dolphins defense proved dominant in the first half. They held the Bills to just 13 yards and two first downs on six possessions, which resulted in an interception and five punts.
But second-year quarterback Travis Brown, who replaced the injured Alex Van Pelt early in the second quarter, went 4-for-4 on the Bills first drive of the second half. He capped the seven-play, 84-yard effort with a TD strike to Centers to cut Buffalo's deficit to 13-7.
But Fiedler found receiver James McKnight in the end zone with a 16-yard pass early in the fourth quarter and had an 18-yard TD run down the left sideline with 8:03 left to give Miami a commanding 20-point lead.
Miami led 3-0 in the first quarter when Jeff Ogden returned a punt 48 yards to the Buffalo 37. On Smith's third carry of the four-play drive, he burst up the middle for a six-yard TD run.
"Lamar Smith got confidence," Wannstedt said. "But our offensive line got confidence, as well. These guys really did a great job today."
"They made up their mind they were going to run the ball. I think they called every run play in the playbook," Bills safety Pierson Prioleau said.
Olindo Mare's second field goal came on the final play of the half to send the Dolphins into the locker room with a 13-0 lead.
A field goal lead for most of three quarters, and we're excited? Wow, times are tough...
Monday, November 12, 2007
Again, Miami had a good playcall. Lemon was to drop back and heave the ball 30 yards or so to Booker who was running a crossing route from right to left. He was wide open. The ball was well placed.
And Marty dropped the ball. The moment should have been seized. Instead, it ended Miami's day...
He was on Buffalo's sideline, and was "taunted" by two players - you can see the guy miming that he should have made the catch on the right of the picture; the guy on the left comes over and asks for a high five.
Marty came back to the huddle, and he was shaking his head and looking at the ground. At that point, I knew *he* was defeated. And that sort of attitude permeates the team. It was over.
Then, Beefalo got creative. They wanted to create a mismatch with their big tight end on a linebacker to get a short gain. So, they used the wideout to the right of the offense to clear the corner, and then the tight end slipped out into the flat to make the catch.
The problem with Miami's defense was that, technically, no one covered him. Porter rushed the passer. And Crowder was caught in no mans land. He simply stood around, and looked into the backfield. He was watching the playfake, and then just watched the QB. He did not react to the tight end, who should have been his responsibility.
In other words, the play worked even better than the Bills could have hoped. They scored 1 play later.
Miami had been pinned near their own goal line. First down was a run for a couple. 2nd down was a drop by Peele. On 3rd down, the play was fairly well designed. The only flaw was that Chatman had to block the defensive end. As for Lemon, there are two rules he has to follow: don't turn the ball over, and don't take a safety.
The play starts, and Chatman lunges at the end. But, he's in a bad position, too low, and the lineman is charging hard. Lemon makes a mental mistake and pump fakes to try and make the lineman freeze. The lineman reacts by stretching...
... but its clear he sees its a fake, and continues to Lemon, who now has no chance.
...is that St Louis came out of the bye and clobbered the Saints to win a game. Miami now stands alone at 0-9, and still has Philly, Pittsburgh, the Jets, the Bills again, the Patriots, Cincy, and Baltimore. I don't see a win in there, particularly.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Plus, they led in every statistical category, and had a dominating time of possession...
When Miami scored to take a 10-2 lead with about 5 minutes left in the 3rd, it sure seemed like they would gather enough steam to actually win one.
But...Buffalo managed to get a drive going and scored a TD late in the 4th to tie it. And they got another score very late, to take a lead.
Miami had a first down near midfield, with 45 or so seconds left. It would take a mere 20 yards to get into field goal position. Lemon threw for 4, and then had three straight incompletions, ending the contest.
Allen is really only playing because of injury. And he hasn't done much, if anything.
Cromartie had the longest return - ever - last week on a missed FG return. And this week, he was forced into the lineup due to injury. But, all he did was pick off three Peyton Manning passes in the first half of his game.
Thanks, for nothing little Nicky.
And that leaves him with exactly 0 returns for TDs this season.
Meanwhile, San Diego's return guy (Darren Sproles) had a kick and a punt return for a TD in the first quarter of his game against the Colts.
Yeah, Ginn, jr, and his family are awesome.
Flash forward to the end of 2004. The Patsies had already won a couple of superbowls. Miami was in search of a head coach. Why not the guy who was college's best and who was a friend of Bellicheat? After all, the win at all costs attitude would be good. Right?
Now I see the other side. Saban fizzled and was never worshipped. He did more harm than good. And we see Bellicheat for what he really is: a SFB.
Shula critized the Patriots, then backtracked. The Patriots fans (and team, predictably) all cried foul. Sal Palantonio just published a book about how the 72 team was over rated, and won lousy against mediocre opponents (while the Patriots are a great team!!!!)
I've heard people saying all kinds of things on both sides. And the reality lies somewhere in between. For whatever its worth the 72 team went 17-0 and won playoff games on the road. No one else has accomplished that feat since. And Miami never cheated in that time. Their games were legit.
Bellicheat is on the other side of the line. Yeah, they're beating quality opponents *and* running up the score. But, his legacy will forever be tainted by his pushing the rule envelope. Maybe they cheated before, maybe since. Who knows?
The debate will rage until someone comes out with the real truth.
But here's my real truth: The 72 Dolphins were more fun. They had more character. Heck the whole NFL was more interesting. There may have been "better" teams by some measure, but they won them all without the need to cheat. Or be bad sports.
I'm glad Saban was here to open my eyes to the reality of just how bad things could have been. We may be 0-8, but we have self-respect. That's something that the Patriots fans can never have now. I don't care if they go 19-0 and have an asterisk or don't have an asterisk. I care that the game has been changed as a result of the actions of one organization. (I know the argument, it was dealt with, and is over, right? NOT!)
I'm just glad it wasn't the Dolphins. I betcha Bellicheat will want to run up the score against them because Shula said something perceived as derogatory about them. Oh, the truth is hard to hear! Should they do so, it only underscores just what this team really is.
We here at Dave's Bitchin' bid a fond farewell to the stadium formerly known as the Orange Bowl. The last time I attended a game there was more than 10 years ago, and even then she was old and decrepit. I remember seeing chunks of concrete missing in various spots around the stadium. I remember the bathrooms being small, and often backed up. And these issues just continued through last night...
I was always bemused by its charm, and I loved the fact that you parked in someone's back yard to go to the games. It had so much more life than any other cold, antiseptic stadium. It can never be duplicated.
I saw a lot of games there. I was a Dolphins season ticket holder there before the Phins moved. I went to UM during their heydey in the early 80s. And I went to a few soccer games there, as well. And it used to be the place where all the big musical acts would come.
But, by far, my best memory of the place was in the early 80s when a friend and I went to buy Dolphins season tickets. We had a little misadventure along the way; we got lost in Little Havana. My friend was driving, and thought he knew how to get there. Here we are, going up and down streets, trying to find our way to a giant stadium...
Anyway, it was April, and we got there and inquired about tickets. The lady in the office might have been Joe Robbies sister for all we knew; the organization was very family oriented, not like the larger operation it is today. She told us to go into the stadium and pick out the seats we wanted. And we did.
For the next hour or two, the stadium was all ours. We saw a few stadium people around, doing various jobs on the field and what not. But, otherwise, it was empty. So, we relished the moment. We walked through the entire seating area of the stadium, upper and lower deck. We walked through the open endzone. We stepped onto the field. We made our way into the locker rooms. We tried to get up into the pressbox, but couldn't figure out how to get in.
It was awesome. Finally, we picked a couple of seats, and went back to the office.
And thus ended our adventure for the day. It was more than 20 years ago, and I remember it vividly (and fondly). It was the day we got the Orange Bowl to ourselves.
....As a complete aside, the Miami Herald ran a look back at the (Miami Hurricanes at the) Orange Bowl (with a short blurb about the Dolphins and a few other events). They had the picture included here of Richard (the guy with the signs), who they identified as Dolfan Denny. I was amused by that...
Its pretty sad when you have every major sport covered, plus a big-time college program. And they're all bad.
...for the record, the Univeristy of South Florida is actually in Tampa. Why its called "South" I can not explain.