The Dolphins plowed the Indianapolis defense, solved their turnover issues, and generally fought hard.
It still wasn't good enough.
The Colts beat Miami, 27-23.
The interesting thing is the Dolphins got the game they wanted. They pounded the football. They had a possession advantage, holding the ball 45:07 to Indy's 14:53. They kept Peyton Manning and his offense on the sidelines.
And they still lost!
Fact is the Colts had the ball less than any winning team since the time of possession stats began to be recorded in the 1970s.
Ronnie Brown was dominant in gaining 136 yards on 24 carries. Can I tell you something? Do it again next week. Give him the ball 24 more times.
Ricky Williams added 69 yards on 19 carries. Excellent complementary work.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, have very little in the way of passing offense. Ted Ginn Jr. did have 11 catches for 108 yards. But he allowed a potential game-winning TD pass to slip through his grasp. Ginn wasn't alone.
Tight end Anthony Fasano also had a potential TD grab squirt through his hands in the first half. It would have been a spectacular catch, I grant you. But it's nothing I haven't seen in the NFL. Unfortunately didn't see it from the Dolphins tonight.
The Miami defense looked eerily like the Dave Wannstedt-Jimmy Johnson era D. They seemed to play well ... until the game or season was on the line. And then they'd fold.
Well, leading 23-20 with 6:16 to play, the Miami defense didn't exactly present itself a concrete wall. Manning completed a 15-yard pass to Reggie Wayne. Then a 17-yard pass to Dallas Clark. Then a 48-yard pass to Pierre Garcon.
It was more of a red carpet treatement than J-Lo got before the game.
Even after the Colts took a 27-23 lead, the Dolphins had the ball at their 18 yard line with 3:18 to play. And although they moved the ball, it was not exactly organized. Actually it was a clock management collapse.
The Dolphins used a time out one play into the drive at 2:26. Terrible. "We had to use a time out that I didn't really want to use," quarterback Chad Pennington said. "but we had to do it."
The problem originated on the sidelines. And although head coach Tony Sparano is not necessarily responsible for getting the right personnel on the field, he fell on the grenade because the buck stops at him.
"What happened there, I have to take responsibility for that," Sparano said. "We had the wrong personnel grouping in. So we needed to take the time out at that point."
Finally, I leave you with this statistic as the Dolphins prepare to travel to San Diego Friday for Sunday's game against the Chargers: Since 1990, only three teams that have started the season 0-3 made the playoffs.
The 1992 Chargers, 1995 Lions and 1998 Buffalo Bills all qualified for the playoffs as wild-card entrants.