Saturday, December 08, 2007

That's odd...

The NFL concluded that the officials were right in the Ravens-Patriots game on Monday night, and that nothing further would come of it. Except that they are wrong.

Okay, they were right when the fined the player who argued with the official and threw the flag into the crowd. And maybe they were right in fining the one player who spoke out and said "we can't play the patriots and the officials."

But, they said that was a TD catch at the end, which is clearly wrong. And they didn't even comment on the defensive coach who called time out.

And then there's the issue of the ref calling a player "boy." The player commented on it after the game, and the league said they looked into it, and it was all taken out of context and incorrect. And then the fined the player for criticizing the ref!

Uhhh, that's just not warranted in this case. The NFL messed up...

What?

"To be honest with you, if it's in God's plans for us to be 0-16, we're going to be 0-16. If that's what we've got to deal with, that's what we've got to deal with. But, I don't plan on it."

-- Jesse Chatman

So, its not in your plan, but it may be in god's plan, and you're a part of god's plan? Wait. What?

[editor's note: reminds me of the comedian who used to say "god hates our team! Jesus made me fumble!"]

Looks backward

For those of you keeping track at home, each week I presented a "look back" at a previous game between Miami and their opponent. Usually I had a particular game in mind, but more often than not, it was a game I could *find*....

Those Dolphins are an exciting 4-7-1!

Roster turnover

(not apple turnover....yum...)

The Dolphins have a 14 players on injured reserve, which is freakin' unbelieveable.

And not coincidentally, they also have 14 new players since the start of the season ...

That means there has been 26% turnover this year on the roster. That doesn't excuse 0-12, but it does contribute to it in some way.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Quirky

I am proud to say that I have not watched a single Patriots game this year. The reasons? They are so smug, their coach is an arse, and to me their wins are all tainted. And, by the way, no Patriots players appear on any of my fantasy teams. I did, however, reluctantly pick them in the eliminator a few weeks ago...

Anyway, I saw the highlights of Sunday's game, and there were three things that stood out to me:
(1) on the 4th down play, a defensive assistant called timeout to negate the stop of the Patriots on 4th and 1. If anyone is keeping score at home, the rule says that any player or the HEAD coach can call timeout. Since it wasn't the head coach, it should have been ignored.
(2) The pass interference call against the Ravens on the ensuing 4th down may have been correct, however, it was picky considering that that much contact happens on most plays, and the ball wasn't catchable IMHO.
and (3) the TD pass to Gaffney was incomplete. He was bobbling the ball as he stepped out, therefore incomplete. I was surprised the officials didn't review the play. Or maybe I'm not at all surprised...

So, while the Dolphins can't catch a single break, the Patriots are always given *every* break.

I did love seeing the kickoff from the opposition 30. That was amusing.

Miami 14, NY Jets 41

From ESPN.com
November 1, 2004

Martin, Jordan flatten Dolphins' defense
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Jets gave the Miami Dolphins a little of Curtis Martin, and a little of LaMont Jordan.

They made a perfect combination. The running back duo helped the Jets embarrass the hapless Dolphins, sending their defense to a new low in a 41-14 rout Monday night. Martin and Jordan each ran for 115 yards and a score, and the 275 yards the Jets racked up on the ground are the most in the NFL this season.

"We always talk about being a 1-2 punch," Martin said. "And you could see that from us tonight."

The last time the teams met on Monday night, the Jets erased a 23-point, fourth-quarter deficit for a 40-37 overtime win in 2000 in what is known as the "Monday Night Miracle."

There was no chance of a comeback this time around. The Jets (6-1) scored 34 straight points, stifling the ineffective Dolphins (1-7) on offense and humiliating the proud Miami defense, which entered the game ranked fourth in the NFL.

Chad Pennington threw three touchdown passes and went 11-of-19 for 189 yards before being lifted for Quincy Carter in the fourth quarter. The Jets finished with 472 yards of total offense.

"They gave us an old-fashioned beating," Dolphins linebacker Junior Seau said. "I tip my hat to them, for not only what they did against us but the whole year."

New York entered the game after its first loss of the season, 13-7 to New England last weekend, but turned in its most complete performance of the year. Jets coach Herman Edwards knew it was important to keep pace with the Patriots and Steelers, both 6-1 in the AFC.

"If you can keep this bottled up, we have a chance to be a pretty good football team," Edwards said.

The last time the Jets had two 100-yard rushers in a game was Sept. 28, 1975, when John Riggins ran for 145 yards and Carl Garrett had 135 in a 30-24 win over Kansas City. Miami last allowed two 100-yard rushers on Oct. 29, 1989, at Buffalo, when Thurman Thomas had 148 yards and Larry Kinnebrew added 121.

Martin, 31, has had a renaissance in his 10th NFL season. He came into the game second in the league in rushing, while carrying the Jets burden on the ground.

That all changed against the Dolphins. Edwards made it a point to use both backs and wear down the Dolphins defense in the second half. Martin finished with 19 carries and Jordan had 14.

"It feels good any time you have a 100-yard rusher and we had two," Jets left tackle Kareem McKenzie said. "How often does that happen? That's something you can tell to your grandkids."

The Jets defense harassed Jay Fiedler the entire game, sacking the Dolphins quarterback four times and picking him off twice. Miami got a meaningless score as the game ended, when Fiedler threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Derrius Thompson. Fiedler finished 20-of-41 for 218 yards.

Sammy Morris had 11 carries for 48 yards.

"When you don't run the football and you don't stop the run, you don't win," Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt said. "No one understands that more than I do because that's how we've won around here."

The complete humiliation of the Miami defense was perhaps the most confounding part of the game.

Pennington connected on one big passing play after another on the vaunted Miami secondary, repeatedly taking advantage of cornerbacks Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain.

After Donald Lee fumbled and the Jets recovered, Pennington needed three plays to convert the turnover into points, throwing a 35-yard touchdown pass to Wayne Chrebet.

Randy McMichael caught a 21-yard TD pass from Fiedler to tie the game at 7, but the Dolphins never got closer.

Pennington responded with a 27-yard scoring pass to Justin McCareins, who took advantage when Madison fell down. McCareins toed the line to stay in bounds at the 2 and stretched the ball into the end zone for his first touchdown as a Jet.

They added to the lead just before the break, going 39 yards in four plays in only 20 seconds. Doug Brien kicked a 49-yard field goal as time expired in the half to make it 17-7.

The Jets got possession first to start the second half and kept rolling. Martin scored on a 25-yard run and left the game after one more carry with a bruised knee. Edwards said the injury is not serious.

"When Curtis had that long touchdown to the outside I was on the sideline throwing my fist down and cheering," Jordan said. "I was saying, 'That guy can't be getting old.' He's having such a great season."

Jordan got the reigns after Martin exited the game, and he scored on a 25-yard run early in the fourth quarter.


Game notes
Jets backup guard/tackle Brent Smith hurt his left knee, and Edwards said he would be re-evaluated this week. ... The 27-point margin of victory is the largest for the Jets in the series. ... Dolphins tight end Randy McMichael finished with seven catches for 87 yards. ... Chrebet caught his first touchdown pass since the third game of last season.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The telephone game

Seems that last week Mike Mularkey was calling plays from the press box. He relayed them to Trent Green, who then called them in. While that part we know to be true, I can't confirm the rumor that there was a 5th grader who then called them into John Beck.

I assume it went something like this:
Mike says "Quick out to Marty Booker on 3"
Trent Green says "Outside run to Lorenzo Booker in the tree"
The 5th grader says "long pass from the spilt tee"
Beck tells the team "Let the rush sack me"

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bad behavior

Its been a while since I mentioned Bill Bellicheat.

As I've discussed in the past, the NFL wants very badly to distance itself from anything that might tarnish its image. In Michael Vick's case, yes dog fighting is bad, and cruel, and should be punished. But, the real threat was from Vick allegedly bankrolling the entire operation across state lines. That might have led to charges for racketeering, and would have brought to light that Vick was, in fact, gambling on his dogs. In that case, the NFL would stand to lose a lot. So, Vick gets accused of dog fighting and is kicked out of the league for the same.

Then, there's Pac Man. Of course, there was an altercation and shots were fired, and someone was paralyzed. Again, that's bad. But, what gets left out is that Jones had $83,000 in cash that he was carrying around in a garbage bag.

With all the money laundering laws, and various pieces of homeland security that are in place, it makes one wonder: how in the heck did he get $83,000 in one dollar bills? Its not like he could simply walk into his local bank and say he'd like to withdraw that amount. (A) because no one would have it, and (B) because he'd set off several government alarms for potential mis-deeds. I'm sure the NFL wanted to tread lightly, because it is possible that he got them through some means they didn't want to know about, or didn't want exposed.

And that leads us back to ole' Bill. Sure, maybe every NFL team has some sort of rule bending or whatever. I have nothing new to add here, really, except to say that I heard Brady say the other day something like they don't just want to win, they want to embarass the other team. For shame. And the coach should be ashamed, too. Its possible they're still cheating in some way, and comments like that are just stupid, and draw attention back to it all. Bill wants this to just go away. It can't as long as there's no humility.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Its in the other teams heads

When the Bucs had their 0-14 season, and a few games into the following year, each team they faced was saying they didn't want to be the first to lose to the Bucs.

And so it is with Miami. For the first time this year, Miami was favored to win. The Jets used that as their rallying cry - they're 0-11, we've got 2 wins, lets not lose to them!

And so it will be until Miami figures this out, and finds a way to stop losing...

Sacks

I would like to pay my respects to the NFL, the Dolphins, and CBS, because I have screen shots in this and two other posts.

On three consecutive drives, Beck was sacked and fumbled. On the first drive, it was 3rd down, and he recovered, but Miami was forced to punt. But, on the next two downs, the play was a turnover.

I wanted to show you each of the three plays. In each case, the Jets were rushing only four players, against Miami's five offensive linemen, and at least one other blocker. Count them; you'll see that there was a mismatch in Miami's favor. And yet, 3 sacks and 3 fumbles.

I'll reiterate that I think Beck could have done a better job of holding onto the football, but come on! How can he be expected to do anything when his line can't even block for him!

I don't show it, but on each of the plays, the Jets showed a formation and rushed from odd angles; its a zone blitz of sorts. But, that's no excuse for a line that early in the year was nothing short of fantastic...


More on playcalling

I also wanted to show you what the Jets did, shortly after Miami's "miscue" after the turnover: they threw it deep, and gained 51 yards and started the rout.

Take a look at this play. The route is a simple fly by the receiver. The QB starts to move back, and fakes a handoff to the running back. But, look at the play, he is so stretched out, it can't possibly be a run. There are plays where the QB is supposed to intentionally reach out to get the defense out of position, but this was so awkward, it couldn't pssibly be a long reach...and the linebackers, well, they had enough of a lapse to be drawn in for just a moment. Long enough to let the play develop...

Then, the QB simply drops back and heaves it. Look, its like the Patriots and he's 7 yards behind the line when he throws it. No wonder it worked...

I suspect this is not in our playbook.



playcalling


It was early in the game. Joey Porter had just picked off a Jets pass and run it back to the 32. There's a general rule (which I've heard as "the law of the other shoe") which basically says that after a big play such as a turnover, the offense has the advantage, and should make a gutsy call for a TD. That is, the turnover was one shoe, and going for the TD is the other shoe.

Anyway, did Cam call for a quick strike to get a TD? Nope. He ran straight ahead for a modest gain. And this was against an 8 man front, meaning that they EXPECTED the run. This was the *perfect* opportunity to try and score. They didn't. And then, to make matters worse, he called runs on second and third downs as well, and settled for the field goal. I heard Cefalo, Mandich, and Rose calling for him to try for the score, because they saw it, too. He kept it conservative, and at that point, he lost the game. I'm serious. This was the turning point that gave the game to the Jets.



Just to illustrate a point, this was a typical Miami play. Beck lines up, rolls slightly to the right, and throws to the tight end, who is 5 yards downfield. Yipee. Really attacks the defense, doesn't it?

Amusing...

This is not about the Dolphins, but rather the Hurricanes:
 
Some years ago, the Hurricanes joined the Big East, in the hopes that their basketball team would improve because of the competition.  In return, the other school's football teams would get better.  Never happened.  Miami's hoops team was not allowed to compete in the Big East, so they never improved. But, the football teams all get better because of the competition, and Miami's got weaker to a degree.

Then, Miami joined the ACC, and the basketball team did get better.  Better than the football team.  The hoops squad is 7-0 at the moment.  The football team finished a disappointing 5-7.

0-16?

I've taken to calling it the IMperfect season.  I'm starting to think that it is a reality, and therefore I'm thinking that I want to go to the last game of the season to be a part of the majesty that is a totally futile season.

Not that offensive!

I've singled out Cam Cameron as the wanker this week (details to be posted in the wankerer section later).  But, here are a few facts for you:
* Miami has not scored an offensive TD in 3 games
* Chris Chmabers in still the leading receiver on the team, and he hasn't played here in a month
* The running game has disappeared
* Overall offensive scheme is weak
 
So, it sure seems that Cam - the offensive coordinator - should be fired, as he's not getting enough out of the offense. 

Not so quotable

When asked if Miami was going to go 0-16, JT responded:
"We're not going to go down like that.  We're going to keep fighting and we'll get one."
 
That's what this season has come down to: this team is fighting to get just one win.  Not to make the playoffs.  Not to get on a role.  Not to end the season on a winning note.

That's just sad.

Quotable

"They'll be happy, and their fans will be happy they got three wins this season...We're 0-12; it can't get much lower."
 
--Mr JT

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The losing finally stops!!

The team from Miami was home, and took on the team in green...and they won!! And thus ended a long, long losing streak.

Only, this was the college team - FIU - and they were taking on the Mean Green of North Texas. And it happened to be on Saturday night.

But, ah well, its nice to think about how good a win would feel, isn't it?

A tough choice?

This week, I was offered a free seat to the Dolphins game. But, I already had plans to visit an elderly relative.

Hmmm. See the Dolphins try and win or go and listen to the same tired jokes? I chose the jokes. Er, the ones told by the relatives not the ones on the field.

I watched the first quarter of the game, and listened to most of the second quarter on the radio as we drove. I stopped right at the 2 minute warning as the Dophins were driving. My wife said "what difference does it make? You know they're going to lose."

And I got back in the car shortly after the final down. 40-13 sounds pretty bad to me. I'm watching some of the, ahem, hilights now, but thankfully, Tivo will allow me to fast forward when the going gets really bad. As it just did. Ouch...

Wallowing

Good teams always find a way to win. A lucky bounce, a skillful play, a great call. Bad teams always find a way to *lose*...and in each case they find new ways to do so.

Miami is in the latter category. Nothing has gone their way, every ball has bounced wrong, every break has gone against them. And each week, its a new experience in methods of losing.

Now they sit at 0-12 with little hope in the remaining 4 games of eeking out a win. It seems improbable and unlikely that they'll manage to pull a rabbit out of their hat.

And therefore that odd noise coming from Miami is a combination of a sucking sound coupled with a freight train headed straight for ignominy.