What a day in the life as a Miami Dolphin’s fan. I entered today’s game against Atlanta with very low expectations. I had a perfectly good reason for that and that was through 4 games the Dolphins were hovering around dead last in every statistical category that there is. Their defense in those 4 games played very tough especially against the run but anyone with a set of eyes could tell that their pass defense was getting shredded. Seemed like when any team wanted to get a first down through the air, they could. Besides the on the field play, Hurricane Irma has completely displaced not just the team but the entire state of Florida. The Dolphins have been all over the c̶o̶u̶n̶t̶r̶y̶ world, having their week 1 game postponed, to spending the entire week 2 week in California, then flying to London to play a home game. No routine at all. Then the video of now former offensive line coach doing bumps of the white stuff early in the week came out and the potion for a total meltdown was well in the making. But through all that madness, the Dolphins were still 2-2 and only a game back of first in the AFC East.
But I’ll be honest, I entered today believing that there was no way that Miami who have played so inept on offense would be able to go on the road to Atlanta, who were coming off a bye, and be able to hang with them on their fast track. Vegas also agreed with me by making Miami a 13.5 point underdog. And if you asked me at 2:30, I would of told you “yep, this is not a surprise at all to me.” Miami couldn’t do anything on offense. They had some nice runs with Ajayi and the line seemed to be a bit more improved, but they couldn’t sniff the redzone. Their one drive where they were really threatening. Smoking Jay climbed the pocket and delivered a strike right to the arms of a Atlanta defender. Of course, thoughts of put Matt Moore were screaming in my head because why the heck not? The half ended and the score was 17-0 Falcons. I started the game nervous, but by the beginning of the 3rd quarter I was in a state malaise where the anger and nervousness about the game were replaced by a feeling of whatever, saw this coming kind of attitude.
Miami opened the 3rd quarter and went right down the field. The running game was still clicking and even smoking Jay was connecting to actual Dolphin’s receivers. Got to point where the whole throwing to Dolphin receivers was working so well they decided to throw it to Kenny Stills for a score. 17-7 and I get a slight pep in my step but nothing that convinces me that we’ve arrived. Defense steps up and gets to Ryan for a big sack and Miami gets the ball back. Ajayi continued to run hard as the line was getting off the ball. Great to see. Cutler gets them down inside the 10 and then run a beautiful dashback with Landry for the easiest score he will ever have and all of a sudden it’s 17-14 and there’s signs of life on the Miami sideline. Who knew playing better would generate that? 4th quarter comes and the defense is still doing their thing with Cam Wake letting everyone know that he still got game with a sack of Ryan. I’m officially pumped and I’m yelling Fins Up all over the place. Back to back drives where Cody Parkey(sneaky pickup of the year by Miami) hits non-chipshot FGs and some how Miami is winning 20-17. 2 and a half minutes left for that fantastic Falcon’s offense seems like an eternity because in football it is. I’ve been there, we’ve all been there where your team gets a late lead but they leave to much time on the clock. The letdown was looming. My great feeling of getting the lead was instantly replaced with the feeling of dread and visions of Ryan leading his team up the field with ease was playing in my head. And that’s exactly how the drive started with throws to Julio Jones and JJ Hardy as if Miami didn’t see either of those coming. Can’t believe they would try and get the ball to Julio and try and use the middle of the field with 2 minutes left. Mind blowing strategy. Here we go, they’re going to get into FG range, get the tarp, cover the field, it’s over, just got to get the ball lined up. But then, out of complete nowhere, Matt Ryan rockets one down the middle of the field and it gets deflected directly into the gut of Rashad Jones for the INT. Esqueeze me? Miami is going to hold them off and come out of here with a major upset and comeback? Get right out of town!!!!!!!!!!! LETS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m losing my mind in my buddies kitchen and I couldn’t feel better. That’s what sports can do to somebody.
I lived a full day today and we’re on to the Jets next week. No idea how that game will go. Will today’s team show up and take of business or will they revert to the team that can’t move the ball? Who knows. That’s the beauty of sports. I do know that this team has it in them to play with anyone. Smoking Jay Cutler showed he can make the plays necessary to compliment the Jay Ajayi. The O’Line showed up today but lost all the time injured center Mike Pouncey with a concussion. I’m sure they have a long term contingency plan for this since they probably figured Pouncey wouldn’t make the entire year. Sucks that he’s hurt and potential done for a bit but they mauled the Falcons today without him. The defense, especially the pass defense played very well. Holding Julio Jones to only 72 yards is worth noting. Much improved from last year. The AFC is wide open and Miami is right in the thick of things. Cool
PS- The Chiefs lost which means the 1972 Dolphins go another year being the only team in NFL history to go undefeated. Yeah, I know it was only 17 games and that the Patriots went 18-0 before losing in the Super Bowl and yes some of the 1972 players really like to be the only team to go undefeated. If you don’t like tough old guys caring passionately about something amazing they did when they were younger, deal with it.
PPS- Somewhere I hope Don Shula, Mercury Morris, Csonka and the rest are popping the champagne