The Dolphins beat the 49'ers Sunday in what was the final regular-season game at Dolphin Stadium. I wish you could have been there because it was truly electric despite the fact San Francisco is in now way a rivalry game.
In my opinion this game had the feel of playoff football and that's what I wrote for Monday's edition of The Miami Herald. Anybody disagree with that?
It began with Joey Porter and San Fran tight end Vernon Davis jawing at each other before the game. Davis didn't stop talking even after his team lost 14-9. Davis complained that he wasn't used to block Porter on Miami's final defensive play -- the one on which Porter beat backup tackle Barry Sims for the clinching sack.
"I know that if I was out there," Davis said, "he wouldn't have got that sack."
Porter has 17.5 sacks this year after adding one today. He still trails DeMarcus Ware of the Cowboys for the NFL lead. Ware, who had three sacks against the New York Giants Sunday evening, has 19 for the season. Ware is one bad dude.
The Miami fans also were bad (as in very good) Sunday. It was Orange Bowl-loud at Dolphin Stadium and it had serious repercussions for the San Francisco offense. In the final series of the game, with victory and defeat hanging in the balance, the fans were loud enough that SF quarterback Shaun Hill couldn't hear the complete play-call in his coach-to-quarterback helmet.
Hill thus called the final two plays with the crowd in his ear, so to speak. He called the right plays. But he called them to the wrong side of the field, the side opposite the side offensive coordinator Mike Martz intended the plays to go.
Chalk one up for Miami fans on that one. Last time I remember local fans actually having a role in the game was in the 1980s when Ron Jaworski couldn't get a play off twice in the closed end of the Orange Bowl and ended up throwing an interception as a result. Anyone remember that? Anyone there that night?
Other quickie observations:
The Dolphins offense had three false start penalties -- one on Andy Alleman, one on Ernest Wilford, one on Samson Satele. Hard to understand how a center or receiver get away with a false start. Come to think of it, they didn't.
After Wilford got called for his penalty with 12:56 left in the second quarter I didn't see him in the game again. He didn't have a catch all day.
After Satele got called for his penalty with 32 seconds remaining in the first quarter, it wasn't long before the Dolphins experimented with Al Johnson at center. Satele did eventually come back to the center spot, however.
Ted Ginn Jr. had two receptions for six yards. Not his best game.
The Dolphins converted only 1 of 7 third down plays -- that's a 14 percent conversion rate. Tells you the Dolphins have issues at the WR position. Miami missed Greg Camarillo on Sunday.
David Martin's catch of the 61-yard TD was great in that he came back to the pass, timed his leap perfectly, out-fought the defender for the catch, held onto the pass, and kept his feet so he could score. Excellent athletic work.
Congratulations to tight end Joey Haynos on his first NFL touchdown.
Congratulations to Nathan Jones who had zero sacks this season but had two on Sunday while blitzing from the slot corner spot.
And congratulations to the entire Dolphins organization for making the 180-degree turn from winning their first game of the season one year ago in Week 15 to winning their ninth game of this season in Week 15.