The sun came up this morning and we're all still here. The Dolphins haven't bagged the remainder of their season. And as I write in my column today, Miami did show a good amount of fight Monday night.
The running game came to life. Jake Long answered the call against Dwight Freeney. Wildcat is back.
So it wasn't a complete disaster, as so many of you are portraying on my flooded e-mail box.
But in answering issues positively, the Dolphins also provided answers to issues going the other direction. Simply, Ted Ginn is not a premier wide receiver and probably will never be. Secondly, Gibril Wilson is playing terrible right now, just terrible.
Here's the thing on Ginn: If he makes one play, just one more play at the game's most important moment, the Dolphins are winners today. He had a desperation pass into the end zone in his hands. He had the game-winning catch in his grasp. He had a signature career moment on his finger tips.
And he dropped it.
“I got both hands on it…," Ginn said. "Guy came through and made a good play. That’s what this league is about. Everybody’s going to make plays, you know, it’s who comes down with it.”
Look, I'm not asking for miracles here. I'm asking for Miami's alleged best receiver to make a play very good NFL receivers routinely make. I would estimate 80 percent of the NFL's premier receivers make that catch.
And so I'm forced to conclude Ginn simply is not premier. He's just getting by at average.
“I should have came down with it, I should have made that play," Ginn said. "That’s why I got the sad face, you know, that’s why I’m over here thinking about it nonstop and the only thing you can do is go back and see what you did wrong, and try to work at it.”
I'm not throwing in the towel on Ginn. But let's face it, he is a good complementary player. He is not now a star and isn't likely to be a star. This isn't based on one failure last night. This is based on watching him since 2007.
He's improved a good deal since being drafted No. 9 overall that year. But he will never be elite. Randy Mueller used to say he could turn out to be like a Joey Galloway. That's not going to happen. It's not that Ginn doesn't have the hands or the speed or the desire. He has those tools.
But he lacks something. He lacks "it," to be a difference-maker in the NFL.
And the Dolphins, short on playmakers, are kidding themselves if they think otherwise. This team has done a wonderful job telling us how it's good not to have a No. 1 receiver, how having tons of good-not-great options is a positive.
What we saw last night on that play is Miami's inability to add a premier receiver to the roster the past few years costing a victory. Mueller tried but didn't do it and failed. The current regime has tried some, but has failed to recognize that in not bringing in a receiver ready to make that play in either of the last two seasons, they exposed themselves to losses ... like last night.
Yes, Patrick Turner or Brian Hartline may some day be ready to make that play. But not now. And the Dolphins happen to need it now, as in last night.
The Dolphins did go out and sign a new free safety in Gibril Wilson this offseason. They paid him $27.5 million over five years with $8 million in guaranteed money. They should try to get a refund.
Wilson, you see, is Miami's free safety and so he's the last line of defense. That means he has to be quick to the ball. That means he has to be a sure-tackler. That means he has to have good hands to pluck interceptions from the air.
I'm not asking for Ed Reed, here. But at least give me a step up from Renaldo Hill for that price.
Wilson is playing like he's a step back from Hil, although coach Tony Sparano today defended his player.
“One of the things I think that’s very good right now back there is the mental part of it," Sparano said. "I think mentally, Gibril’s been super back there, and you know, has made a bunch of tackles in the first couple games, just obviously missed a couple tackles out there yesterday. I think sometimes when those things happen, when they happen is the thing that gets magnified.”
Magnified because they cost games.
Last night Wilson had a chance to tackle Dallas Clark at the Dolphins 40 yard line on the first play of the game. Clark shook him off like dust and just kept chugging toward the end zone. Understand that Wilson was not responsible for covering Clark. But after Akin Ayodele peeked into the backfield on the play-action and was soundly beaten in coverage, it was Wilson's responsibility to mitigate the mistake with a tackle.
Wilson has been a step slow a lot since he's been with the Dolphins. Throughout the preseason, we saw a lot of mediocre receivers and quarterbacks attack the deep middle of the Miami defense with little problem. That's an issue Wilson needs to address.
By the way, on Pierre Garcon's breakaway 48 yard TD with 3:18 to play, Wilson was the last man chasing the receiver into the end zone. How does the free safety allow a receiver screen to get behind him and into the end zone?
Well, Wilson couldn't get off a block. That's how.
Finally, Wilson looked to have made one timely play just before halftime when he snatched a tipped ball out of the air for an interception. Except that a review of the play showed Wilson didn't hold on to the interception even though no one touched him until after he caught it.
The interception-turned-incompletion hurt. Given new life, the Colts were able to move into range and salvage a 48-yard FG as time elapsed in the half. If Wilson holds on to the ball, the Colts go into halftime trailing 13-10.
Such is the value of a solid free safety.