Wow. Two devastating defeats back-to-back, all but ensuring no repeat visit to the postseason for the Dolphins. Strangely, after having problems all year finishing games after strong starts, the team now has come out flat two weeks in a row, gotten way down early, and had to furiously fight to get back in the game but fall just short both times.
The Tennessee was the "shoulda won" game. Six times on the Titans side of the field in the first three quarters and they settle for three field goals while turning it over three times. Three was the magic number. Vontae Davis appeared to be in good position on both of Justin Gage's two TD catches but he never made a play. Miami finally caught a break when Jeff Fisher bizarrely decided not to use any of his three time outs at the end of regulation when the Fins were backed up at their own two. Miami got the ball in first in OT but Henne badly overthrew his pass to Bess, the Titans intercepted it, and when the refs tacked on that terrible unnecessary roughness call on Camarillo (how the hell was he supposed to know the untouched defender wasn�t getting back up to advance the ball?), the Titans were in field goal range even though they couldn't advance the ball any further. It was nice to see Miami fight back to tie the score after being down by 18, but all that effort ended up going to waste.
They fell behind even further to the Texans in Week 16. 24-0? At home? That first half was a complete embarrassment. Way worse than the Week 15 embarrassment. I�ve praised Sparano several times for having his team come out prepared and motivated to compete almost every week so I'm at a real loss to explain what's gone so wrong so early two weeks in a row. Especially with the playoffs on the line. Again, there are positives: The defense coming up big in the second half; Lex Hilliard adequately subbing for Ricky Williams; and especially Henne getting his team back in the game. He�s not afraid to try to make a tough throw and he's only a first-year QB so you have to live with some mistakes. But it would have been nice to see a complete game at some point down the stretch from the whole team.
You know, I'm not one to blame officiating for a loss but you've gotta admit Miami�s getting jobbed way more than the average team this year. The worst this week was that obvious fumble by Chris Brown (recovered by Miami) ruled instead to be an incomplete pass even though Brown ran with the ball for three freaking steps. C�mon refs! And don't forget the ticky tack tripping call nullifying the bomb to Ginn that would have gotten Miami to within 10 with a whole quarter still to play plus all the momentum. The Dolphins just can't catch a break this year (literally in the case of Gibril Wilson who dropped the easiest interception opportunity he's ever gonna have).
My prediction of a 9-7 record was looking pretty good before the twin disasters of the last two weeks. Instead, as Dolphins� radio analyst Jim Mandich wrote after the Texans loss, "I'm sure when I open the phone lines this week for the talk show it will be 'Mad Dog, who are the Dolphins going to take with their first pick?'"