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Random thoughts following Buffalo victory

STILL IN SNOWBOUND TORONTO -- I just wanted to share you some thoughts about the Dolphins that have popped into to brain in the hours following Sunday's 16-3 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

Today I wrote about how the Dolphins continue to prove doubters wrong with each passing game. Some players on the team take great satisfaction in that there are still some holdouts that don't trust Miami will continue to compete for first in the AFC East after finishing worst in the AFC East last year. They point to media that is critical -- did you hear the announcers on Sunday's telecast? They point to fans who have been late to jumping on the bandwagon. They point to fans who jumped on and then off after the New England loss and are only now getting back on. I think its time we believe these Dolphins, however imperfect, are not going to simply collapse the final three weeks of the season.

In fact, Tony Sparano earlier this season promised his team would be playing better late in the season. And they are.

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The playoff picture in the AFC is still muddled but it seems likely the AFC East will only have one representative in the postseason, that being the division winner. So the Dolphins will likely have to win out to get in the playoffs. It's in their hands, but it is a tough assignment.

The interesting thing is if Miami wins out and finishes 11-5, they not only will make the playoffs, they will be seeded as high as No. 3 in the playoffs, which would give them at least one and possibly more home field playoff games. Amazing.

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It was easy to rave about the defense's performance against the Bills. They didn't give a TD and left the Bills such as Lee Evans saying things like, "We didn't have a clue how to score."

But did you notice Chad Pennington's second half performance?

He was 11 of 11 for 75 yards without taking a sack.

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The Dolphins coaching staff is trying to maximize every ounce of talent from every player on the roster.

Nathan Jones got lots of playing in the nickel and dime defense for the first time this year. Backup linebackers Charlie Anderson and Reggie Torbor provided good pressure on the quarterback and combined for 1.5 sacks. And on offense, Brandon Frye got work at left guard even though he's a left tackle by trade.

The Dolphins had only one active player Sunday who did not play: Chad Henne.

That's maximizing!

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I'll file again later today when I land so check back.

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Mando, since when is Henne the 3rd QB? I thought he has been the back up all season.

I thought Henne was the #2 QB...Has Beck passed him?? And he didn't play either. I'm confused.

As much as I hate the Jets, I hate the fact that the Partiots are still in the thick of things. With only one real game left, their prime to take the AFC East, again. Now I have faith in my Phins, I do. The defense has stepped up, and limited mistakes on offense have prevented shifts in momentum. However I see the next three opponents as extreme challenges. San Fran is playing out of their shoes, Hill has been masterful at working the pocket. Hill reminds me alot of Chad Pennington, sure they both have suspect arms but they more then make up for it in anticipation. For the record Pennington is far better. Kansan City has tremendous playmakers on both sides of the ball. Our weakest opponent by far may prove to be the most challenging, we have to apply the same pressure we did in the seconfd quarter of this Bills game. Then the Jets, who may be totlaly out of the picture by then. Teams have found a way to beat them, and a big part of that strategy is to hold on to the ball. We do that quite well.

Winning out is the only way to not only win the division but also make the play-offs. Still this to me is all bonus points, the Dolphins have far and away exeeded all my expectations. I credit Tony for about hmmm... 75% of this run. The players and personel managers get the rest. We knew this team had players, we allways did. Now their playing, and from the gutters around the league Ireland has unearthed talent forgotten, unreal. But again the most impressive have been the use of these talents.

I'm really proud of my team, as I was last year too. Look at the Lions desined to complete the unimaginable. We prevailed from that same fortune, now we're exhibiting the majic this league offers fans; will we ever see an "AFC East" go from worst to first? Lets just hope we do this year!

Wait? Did I read that wrong? Chad Henne was the inactive number 3 QB? I thought Beck has been the 3rd stringer. So does that mean Beck was the guy if Penny got hurt?

Two games, exactly ZERO TDs given up! Wow!!

Henne??! Beck!!?? I STILL want MARINO BACK!!!!
MARINO IS GOD!!!!!

Hello? Why are people so gullible? I just don't get it! Duh? That was a misprint on the Henne being the #3 QB. Henne was "active", but didn't play and he was definitely the #2 QB. roll eyes/shaking head...

not to nitpick, but doesn't anyone else remember an incompletion (a back shoulder fade to bess) towards the end of the game that pennington threw about 5 yards too short. I'm not ripping him, I'm just wondering about ending the game on an 11-11 streak.

Maybe he meant Henne, AND the inactive QB, because #2's are active.

My contention is not with that, but with the comment "if Miami wins out and finishes 11-5, they not only will make the playoffs, they will be seeded as high as No. 3"

If they win out they will be as LOW as the No. 3 seed. If we win out, even if the Broncos win out, we have the head to head over them. There is also the remote possibility that the Ravens beat the Steelers next week and then they both lose out and the Dolphins sneak into the #2 seed.

Hey MrED, gullible? What he printed is a head scratcher. It doesn't make sense. So we want clarification. A) The only QB that played was Chad P. - so neither the second string or inactive 3rd string QB played B) Henne is the 2nd stringer

So asking him to clarify what the hell he is talking about isn't gullible - its a valid question. So STF up.

I love how the AFC East is a three way tie, and our Phins are in the mix. Right now, since the Dolphins control their own fate, I'm not worrying about the other teams. The Dolphins just have to take care of business and with on of the four games counted for, there's only three wins left to the playoffs. This is what I've been waiting for.

kenviro,

I remember that pass too although didn't think it was that bad...Bess was supposed to stop and come back and in for it. They either missed it or it was the 1st half.

Watch and read Penninton's lips during the 1st series if you DVRed the game...Ginn short arms a ball on a classic Camarillo route and Bess was wide open. CP was POed and looked for Bess the rest of the day.

I dont know why everyone is talking about Henne and Beck. Pennington should be the QB for the next two years. You see what he is doing, we are winning b/c of his play. He may not be the Mannings, Brees, Favre type, fancy QB, he is one of the smartest QBs in the league.

I would be the first person to say that i was not sold on Penny at the beggining of the season, based on his arm strength, but i believe now. Henne has great potential, and he can learn a lot from Penny as a backup for next year. I say we trade Beck for some draft picks next year to Dallas.

If we become the 3 seed, we could be either playing an AFC East opponent or the Ravens at home. the way the ravens have been playing, i dnt think i would want to play them. Of the wild card team races, Ravens have the hardest schedule.

I like our chances at winning the division, only if we can finish with TD's and less field goals! We need to work the middle of the field more with the Fasano and Martin!

Hey Chris, how many times are you (and/or "rickyray") going to post your Ginn comment? The same 3 sentences wioth only minor varioation of wording each time. You made your point the first time, when it was at least vaguely on topic.

Armando just misspoke. Beck was the inactive 3rd QB. Henne was active as the 2nd QB, and he was the only active player that did not play.

All I can say is, it's December 8th and my Dolphins are relevant for the first time in 5 years! Football is fun again!

I like our chances at winning the division, only if we can start to turn those FG's into TD's! We need to work the middle of the field more with Fasano and Martin. Go daryl's dolphins!


I agree with Mclovin 100%, at the first of the regular season after two games, I was about to say this team wasn’t going anywhere, to see the fins step up and play smart football is awesome. Pennington has played very smart football and we need to give him allot of credit for the wins, Henne needs to sit back and learn from Pennington, that will only help Henne's future. We need to keep Pennington for a couple more years!!


I agree with Mclovin 100%, at the first of the regular season after two games, I was about to say this team wasn’t going anywhere, to see the fins step up and play smart football is awesome. Pennington has played very smart football and we need to give him allot of credit for the wins, Henne needs to sit back and learn from Pennington, that will only help Henne's future. We need to keep Pennington for a couple more years!!

So It Was A Typo, Yes Mando Made A Mistake So Now You Can Call Him Every Name In The Book. Have Fun.

You Guys Bitch More Then My Wife.

You Guys Bit@h More Then My Wife.

Salguero Sucks

Armando, Who wins the tie-break if Miami wins out and New England does as well? 11-5 and 11-5 with 1-1 records in the season vs each other....

I am so proud of the Dolphins, I am practically bursting. Playoffs or no, this has been the most enjoyable season in the past 10 years.
The Dolphins were always hanging on to the past, but now I feel the future can't come soon enough. Keep Pennington as long as you can. Scary to think of what another draft, free agency and added experience from those that will stay (albeit a tougher schedule) might do to this team.
These Dolphins are strong, big and tough and are only getting better - No way I would want to play against them.

Henne was active. My mistake. It is corrected now. Thanks for the excellent editing folks.

Beerphin, if both the Dolphins and Pats win out, the Dolphins win the tiebreaker.

The Jets Defense is going to get destroyed again next week. They cant stop anybody. Who is the defensive coordinator over there? Fidel Castro? I cant wait to see Marshawn Lynch against them. That team is a joke, especially their defense.

Dont Be A Quick To Dismiss The Pats, There Got A Great Dec Record In Dec. Mando Could You Check There Win Percentage In Dec.

Nevep Mind Mando New Eng Since 05 Is 14 - 1 In Dec Games .933%, This Team Is Still Alive.

Menace is right. The Pats come-from-behind win yesterday may sustain them to winning out in December. They get to play at OAK, home versus AZ (who is pretty weak on the road against real teams), and at BUF - who is very pathetic lately no matter where they are or who they play against. Even if the Jets lose two more in a row, we will have to win out - I can't see Pats choking like NYJ and BUF have.

Who cares what the Patsies do? The Phins win out and its a done deal!

Anyone else notice fat boys(Solai) back to back critical plays?

The final game vs Jets needs to be elevated to 8:00pm national game.

Pennington had to wait a while behind Testaverde before he finally got his chance; now his backup gets to wait and wonder. Given his injury history, it might not be that long. Hopefully that won't be an issue. The mo watching Henne does, the mo betta.

I'm spanking my monkey.

Finally the truth.

Can we start talking about Ted Gimp please. Did anyone see the alligator arms he showed on the route down the middle. He could have caught that pass if he had any cojones. Camarillo would have. I don't want to give up on this kid but come on. Catch the damn ball. Make a play dude. Not just every four weeks, but every week. Number #9 for crying out loud. Ninth Pick in the draft. Give me more, or we need to pick up a real number one receiver this year. We need this kid to step up or we are going to either not make the playoffs or get embarrassed if we do. Lets go Dolphins

If I had to point out one reason they,ve been sucessful it's been balance...granted nobody aside from Porter maybe is having pro bowl #s but they spread the wealth and change it up every week...highly unpredictable. one wk ground game split between 4 backs one wk teddy one wk camarillo one wk bess one wk its 2 tes its 2 fbs...they have so many different looks and none are really superstars but everyone has been playing "solid". it would be a nightmare to prep for us with as many looks as we give defenses...that IMO has been the chief reason we've been sucessful...keep it up!

I've just been waiting on the day that all phases of the team play equally and to a high level as they each have done independantly and that will be whebn we become a serious contender...

This next game against the 49ers is really tough. This dude Shaun Hill is very smart, and Singletary and Martz exploited the Jets' weaknesses against the pass. Fortunately, I feel a lot better about the Dolphins' pass defense than I did a couple months ago. They MUST get pressure on Hill, and a lot of it. Otherwise, he'll dink and dunk the Fins to death. The other factor is Frank Gore. If he doesn't play, of course the odds of Miami winning go wayyyy up. I wouldn't count on Gore sitting this one out, though. Miami is home, and he'll have a bunch of his people in the stands.

Miami controls their own destiny. We do not need any help other than win our games. No need to scoreboard watch as NE's loss to San Diego gives Miami the tie-breaker over them.

omg you guys, HENNE is ahead of beck, beck was unactive for the game.

I can't say enough about Pennington, in my book Chad went from flop to the one player miami can not do without! Parcells knew chad was the guy, he knew Pennington was extremly accurate and smart, he knew chad was playing through injury with the jets, he knew what a healthy chad could do. leave it to Parcells to sign the same guy twice, even as the media said Pennington was a flop. this was NO gamble! Parcells knew his initial evaluation of chad was dead on balls, and jumped at the chance to reunite with his jet drafted quarterback post injury! WAY TO GO GUYS!!!!

To take budtki's thought a step further: if the Jets play s hitty thier last 3 games, and Favre is less productive than Pennington, then the a sshole whose idea it was to pay for Favre and let Penny go will be fired and beaten.

Pennington should be getting some consideration for MVP...we're not here without him.

The Dolphins should be awfully thankful for the gift of Chad Pennington...

http://newqbrating.blogspot.com/2008/12/crazy-debatable-and-lucky.html

There is no doubt the Dolphins benefitted from the Brett Favre saga

Probably not Falco, but his #s won't support it, nor should they. His intangibles make him invaluble but Penny is not a Pro Bowler...12 TDs vs 6 picks are not PB figures...especially when half of those 3K yards are YAC from screens, hooks, and flat routes...Not taking anything away from him he's definitely responsible in large part to our success, but Warner for example is as accurate and is a gunslinger...

Rock Me Amadeus

The Dolphins &NFLMVP this season is Chad Hennington. When the Jets traded him, they gave away their future and bets on an older player in Bret Favre who so farsdidnt make them much better im my opinon. I checked ESPN but couldnt find out. Does anybody know how many drafts pics we got for him?

Marc,
I beg to differ. Falco had excellent numbers, with four #1 Hits - "Der Kommissar", "Rock Me Amadeus", "Jeanny" and "Coming Home".

Armando or anybody who knows........


If the Dolphins and Pats both win out, what is the tiebreaker? I saw Armando said we would win it, I was just wondering what it was since we traded victories this year.

Thanks

Amazing that it's all in the Fins hands. At this point, one loss very likely knocks them out of the playoffs. One WC is virtually tied up by Indy, and the other likely by Baltimore. In fact, if the Ravens beat Pittsburgh next week, that will virtually clinch the 2nd WC for one of those two teams (the other winning the AFC North). To avoid that and free up a WC, we should all hope for Ravens losses to Pitt and Dallas, neither of which seems likely to me.

As for the AFC East, there's no way through other than to win them all. Even if the Jets lose another game along the way, the Fins still have to beat them to avoid the tiebreaker. Never mind that NE can still sneak in and take it from them as well. Yikes, what a tight race in the AFC!

All tough games too. I'm very worried about SF - just glad we get them in Miami. KC has also shown occasional signs of life and that one's in their stadium, and what realistic Fins Fan wouldn't be nervous about a Dolphins game in the Meadowlands in December? Time to bring back the "fake spike" play? :) But you know what's nice? We're 14 weeks in and we're talking playoffs, not draft picks. This season is such a monumental success, let's keep rollin'.

Division Tie Breakers:
1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
5. Strength of victory.
6. Strength of schedule.
7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
9. Best net points in common games.
10. Best net points in all games.
11. Best net touchdowns in all games.


Miami would surely beat NE in conference records (8-4 vs. 7-5). Not sure if it would get that far, as they may edge NE in common games.

Armando,
When are you going to man up an say you totaly blew the article about Jason Allen. It is way to easy for reporters to use an anonymous source to hide behind.You owe everone an apology.

MDFINFAN

My random thought is that although I would have loved a Ravens loss yesterday, with every game the Redskins lose, that trade for JT gets better.

Yeah I wonder how long before both Zach and JT decide to "come home" and retire...Id gladly welcome back Zach...

Pennington, the former Jets hand me down, is hands down better than John Madden's altrnative lifestyle companion, Brett Favre (aka Wrangler Boy).

I wonder what JT is thinking right now. The 'Skins are in last place in their division, while the Fins are tied for first! Think he's got any regrets?

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