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This is what's happening at this hour:

As I first reported Sunday afternoon, the injury to Reggie Bush is not serious. Bush had an MRI exam this morning and the result showed swelling but no structural damage. He might miss some practice time this week if the swelling does not go down sufficiently.

The worst-case scenario is Bush misses Sunday's game at Arizona. Best case? He's back in the lineup this weekend and forward we go.

The play-calling is a big topic of media conversation today. I wrote my entire column about that topic in today's Miami Herald. Coach Joe Philbin admitted today that, on second look, he would have made some play-call changes during Sunday's game.

“Sure," he said. "You always examine everything. Look I mean we had a first and ten on the 35, I think or something like that. We ran the ball on first and ten, got a couple of yards, not as many as we would have liked. We threw it on second down because they played a specific coverage so we took a shot. Geez would it have been better if we could have completed a seven or eight yard crossing route? Yeah, absolutely. And got a first down? Sure. But credit them; we thought we had a good call and they played that situation better and we weren’t able to get a first down and make it an easier kick for Dan (Carpenter).

"Those are the facts. There are always calls that, again, I’ve never seen a NFL player play a perfect game or a coach coach a perfect game. There are always calls you want to have back, all three phases. But that’s football, that’s the way it is. You have a plan, sometimes you have to adjust it, but I’d be lying if I told you (otherwise). I’ve been in a few games (like that). I don’t think the calls were bad. The result wasn’t what we wanted. Sure we wanted a first down. I thought we had some good calls.”

Frankly, the Dolphins face an interesting philosophical question soon. You see, they're pretty good at running the football. They do it as well as anyone in the NFL so far this season.

But they are not very good passing the football.

Their problem? They want to be balanced. They want to be "aggressive," as one coach told me privately. They want to throw the ball because this is a passing league.

I would say this to the Miami Dolphins: There are only three undefeated teams at this hour in the NFL. Not one of them has had a 300-yard passing performance so far. Not one. (Matt Ryan has come close but still hasn't done it.)

I'm not saying it's not important to pass. It is very important. But if you aren't equipped to be a pass-first team, if you aren't good enough at it, find what you do well and do that instead.

Philbin addressed some of these issues at today's press conference.

He was asked what is the identity of the offense. My guess is the identity is Wait 'til next year. Philbin cannot say that. So he said this:

“The way I’d like to be is protection the football number one, which we’re not there right now, okay. We have what six giveaways in the three games. Is that accurate? So two-a-game is way too many. 32 that’s not going to cut it. That’s the first thing we’re off the boat on. The second thing is we’d love to be an explosive offense that can make big plays. I think we’ve been excellent in the running game with explosive plays, not as good in the passing game, but we’re getting better as an explosive offense. I think we had eight (explosive plays) yesterday. I think we had nine last week. We didn’t have as many in Houston. Then, the other stuff is okay, let’s have balance, let’s have flexibility, let’s be multiple formation wise, let’s kind of take what they give us type of things. But that’s all kind of fluff. What the real stuff is, is let’s hold onto the football, let’s make some big plays and make first downs, get into scoring position and all of the other stuff that sounds good we can do later."

Protection of the football is a big deal. Well, then why are you passing from your own 6 yard line with a rookie QB against that secondary when you're leading?

If protection of the football is a big deal, why was Daniel Thomas your back of choice in the fourth quarter and overtime after he fumbled for the second time in two games? Philbin, by the way, said Thomas has two fumbles in three games. Actually, he's only played two games because he missed the Oakland game with a concussion. So Thomas is averaging one fumble per game.

“Some of it was protection related," Philbin said of the work Thomas got later in the game at the expense of Lamar Miller. "We try to get moving a little bit offensively in terms of the tempo. We like to keep a, there’s a couple different schools of thought – sometimes, you can change personnel every play and sometimes you can keep the same group in for a while and try to play faster. We’re more of the less substitution more faster. We thought Daniel, pass protection wise, gives us a little bit more, bigger guy. Some of the matchups that we thought, that was really primarily the reason.”"

So let me get this correct: The running game is working exceedingly well. You are leading going into the fourth quarter. So then you sub in a back that is an inferior runner because you want to pass more and he's a better pass protector?

Idea: Run the football! It's been working!

I hate second-guessing. But when you have the same thing happening in multiple games, I have to bring it up. Yesterday the Dolphins had the ball in their own territory with 36 seconds to play. They weren't going to attack. So they handed the ball to Bush rather than take a knee.

He got hurt. Not injured seriously, as you just read, but he missed the remainder of the game. The second-guess is to simply take a knee.

Two weeks ago, the Dolphins were in a similar spot just before halftime. They weren't attacking but rather simply running out the clock to  get to halftime. They ran a play for Daniel Thomas. He fumbled. He suffered a concussion.

Time to rethink?

"It all depends," Philbin said. "You have to… Every situation’s unique. The fun thing about game management, whether right, wrong or indifferent, you certainly could argue we’ve made some mistakes or I’ve made mistakes. I should clarify that. Every situation’s unique. Yeah, you have to argue as a coach do you have faith in your players to execute a base play in your offense and run the ball or do you want to take a knee.

"Sometimes, I struggle with that a couple times, obviously already this year. We’ll have to examine it. We’ll take a look at it. We’ll discuss it. But I don’t know that there’s any hard fast, how are you playing at that particular time? Do you have any momentum? Do you want to get in the locker room and make some adjustments? You think you might be able to have a shot play that you’ve had that you might be able to take a shot and get into field goal range? How many timeouts do you have? How many do they have? There’s a bunch that goes into it. I don’t think there’s any hard and fast."

One more thing ... The Dolphins are still struggling to find wide receiver help -- no, not via trade but rather from their own roster. Anthony Armstrong, claimed on waivers from Washington, hasn't performed as hoped. He dropped a pass Sunday. He hasn't factored for Miami.

So while Davone Bess and Brian Hartline are mostly contributing, the Dolphins are apparently using practice every week to determine which other wide receiver gets work on Sunday.

“I think some of it is based on weekly performance, weekly preparation in practice," Philbin said. "I don’t think we’re locked and loaded by any stretch of the imagination."

Comments

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Armando for head coach, he's a genius....NOT !!!

Again, we complained about Sparano's conservative play-calling and desire to take a knee at the end of games. We get a guy in Philbin who is more aggressive and now we're complaining about his play-calling and that he choses NOT to take a knee. Can't have it both ways guys.

To me Philbin is a breath of fresh air and I wasn't completely sold on the hire (I was more in favour of Fisher).

The guy's articulate, takes resposibility and recognizes what this team is....a team that needs to grow. Better days are ahead.

Giving the ball to Bush up the middle on our side of the field with 36 seconds on the clock is inexcusable. Calvin Pace started celebrating right away because they knew they took Bush out. One bright spot from the game was that Revis island was taken off the map & we were knocking their guys out left and right.

Mando's head coach record is 0-0. So he's .500.

And that's better than Cam Cameron, Joe philbin, nick satan, and Tony sparano had here. They were or are all under. 500.

ESPN said that either Bart Scott or Pace, forget which one, tweeted that Reggie was having his way with them so we knew we had to take him out.

Bottom line.....the Fins coaches want a big play offense....trouble is, we have too few big play guys...plain and simple...

...when Hartline is your #1 WR...and move-like-a-piano-Fasano is your premier TE....and your over-the-middle guy weighs a buck eighty...and your only real playmaker draws a crowd in running situations...

....and when you it's 3rd and 1 yd to go, with 6 minutes left in the 1st half, leading 10 to zip.....and you throw to the five from midfield, while your 245 pound FB (who scored the previous TD) is on the bench....but you want that "BIG PLAY"...

...need I continue?.....it's called high expectations over low yield reality......

......as a Coach, one needs to work to the team's strenghts...not wish for unrealistic results....

.....I once knew a great auto mechanic who wanted to manage the entire shop....but he had a one car at a time mentality........some NFL coordinators want to be Head Coach....but have that same restriction...

...multiple tasking is too much for most of them..that's why there are two hundred or so assistants and only 32 Head Coaches...and only a handful of them are top of the line...

...we're about to find out if Joe P is a supervisor, or just a good mechanic....

Again, we complained about Sparano's conservative play-calling and desire to take a knee at the end of games. We get a guy in Philbin who is more aggressive and now we're complaining about his play-calling and that he choses NOT to take a knee. Can't have it both ways guys.

Posted by: Craig M | September 24, 2012 at 02:39 PM

It's not both ways. Ppl hated Spo cause he'd be losing big & he'd take a knee at the 40 with 36 seconds to go.

Philbin runs the ball at his 20, up 7, with 36 sec to go. They aren't even remotely similar cirumcstances.

TRUTH,

They're not the way you're painting it. But there were many instances when Sparano's team would be up and Henning and him would get too conservative and let the other team back into the game. Looks to me that Philbin's not prepared to do that. Works fine for me.

MOVE MILLER TO WR

You don't give the ball to your star RB who has racked up 60 yards in the 1st half on your side of the field with less than a minute left. You invite the defense to tee off on him, which they planned and did.

Mando is 100% correct.

Cam Philbin Cameron 2.0 is in WAY over his head and, while perhaps a decent man, is garbage as a head football coach.

I have told you for 3 years that this is not a "passing league." Look at results (like what Mando points out) instead of being sheep.

The way to win football games is same as it ever was: possess the ball, don't turn it over, run better than the other team, play defense.

Same as it ever was.

Craig M.
Every coach worth his salt will tell you that coaches have to adapt to the personel at hand and play your hand accordingly. Miami is not equipped to be an agressive passing team right now. It's foolish to force it because they cannot do it on a consistent basis.

Craig no "we" all didn't. Only children call for more passing so it can look like their Madden video game.

I have always called for running the ball. Wannstache had it right but was stuck with Fiedler for 5 years.

Here's an idea:
1. Move Miller to WR
2. Move Armstrong back top the unemployment line
3. Sign Rueben Droughns to take Miller's reps with the RB's

It's great we have all these successful former coaches on this blog, who know what you should and shouldn't do. Yeah let's just play conservative and give the other team some confidence. This isn't how Philbin coaches and I say BRAVO.

Irescum and Albert....I agree 100 %

Biggest mistake was not the int or missed FG's.

It was running Bush when they could just take a knee.

That changed the dynamic of the game.

2nd biggest mistake was Miami deciding to get pass happy when Revis left & abandoned what worked so well.

Maybe the kneel(victory formation) isn't in Miami's playbook.

Has anyone untaped Dan Carpenter from the shower wall yet? 24 hours is enough I think.

finbukaki is correct.

absolutely horrendous in over his head bush league amateurish FAIL call by Cam Philbin CAmeron 2.0 to do that to Bush like that when he did.

*that's* when you get miller a carry or take a knee.

albert,

I'm not syaing we have the personnel to pull off what Philbin wants to do. It's going to take another season or two. But to play things too conservatively is going to play into the oppositions hands. Its what happend under Henne and Henning and it doesn't work. That's why the 41 yarder late to Hartline was a nice surprise.

Get well soon, Reggie! We need you back in the line-up, Baby!:)

D. Thomas = (Sammy Smith - Speed or Vision). Coach needs to unload this guy prior to the trade deadline before he costs us any more games. He's a fumbling machine. Runs too high. He put the ball on the carpet in college...he's doing it in the pro's. This was the knock on him coming out of K-State. Every team in the NFL knew it...but Miami, I guess. And Ireland traded up to get this him? C'mon, Man!!!!!

Miller caught 28 passes at the U.
He is happy to play wr

Yeah I agree with TRUTH, theres a difference in smart and not so smart play calling. If youre down and arent taking a shot then thats not smart. If youre ahead and can just take a knee to go into the half.. thats smart. There wasnt a point in running the ball at that time bc they werent trying to score.


Here's an idea:
1. Move Miller to WR
2. Move Armstrong back top the unemployment line
3. Sign Rueben Droughns to take Miller's reps with the RB's

Posted by: LincolnContinental | September 24, 2012 at 02:57 PM

#2 is about the funniest yhing I read today.
Add Laggado Foghorn Leghorn(Whatever his name is) Also to the unempkoyment line.
0 Catches in three games.

Old warrior is EXACTLY correct on Thomas. He is Sammy Smith. Exaclty. Dump him.

Lincoln/Home, stop it with that. I usually agree with you, but Miller is a great RB.

What we need to do is dump Thomas or move THOMAS to TE.

TRUTH,
They're not the way you're painting it. But there were many instances when Sparano's team would be up and Henning and him would get too conservative and let the other team back into the game. Looks to me that Philbin's not prepared to do that. Works fine for me.
Posted by: Craig M | September 24, 2012 at 02:55 PM

So, a running play isn't a conservative approach with 36 sec to go from the 20? That's what you'd call aggressive? You're not making sense.

Philbin should have told Sherman to just take a knee. It would accomplish the same goal as running out the clock without risking a player, as important as Bush, to injury.

Everybody recognizes that. Well, I guess not everyone.

Almost every comment here except the ones from perrenially wrong Craig M are correct.

Craig, to defend Cam Philbin Cameron 2.0's perfomance thus far is INDEFENSIBLE.

Joe Cam Philbin Cameron 2.0 is an UNMITIGATED DISASTER.

So is Sherman and his (not really run) WCO.

It's a long season. Bush has shown he can be durable and run between the tackles, but no need to overuse him for no reason.

Giving him the ball on that play call when they did on that play that got Bush hurt was BEYOND stupid, indefensible, total bush league garbage FAIL of epic proportions.

Heres a thought. Keep Miller in with Thomas and send Miller out as a reciever. Let him line up in the backfield so the defense thinks run. Best of both worlds. Mismatch Miller vs a LB or slot corner.

What you and apparently a few others must have missed Armando is that Miller completely blew a play call. It was a very crucial drive, we needed the yards.

The play was called for Miller to run to the left behind Incognito and Long. They opened a lane for him between Cogs and Pouncey. Accept when the ball was hiked Miller ran right. Tannehill turned left to hand the ball off and Miller was on the wrong side.

The linemen who were pushed to the left (creating the hole) were running around Long at that point. Tannehill had no choice but to tuck the ball and try to run for a couple of yards.

Not only did we lose 3 yards on a crucial play but our rookie QB was smashed into the ground by two linemen as he had turned into the running back. The proof was all over his face and helmet in the form of dirt.

I agree that Thomas isn't getting it done and Miller WILL be the better option. But he almost got our QB killed and they took him out right after that.

If we can punish Thomas for a fumble Miller can certainly be punished for what he did. And who's to say it wouldn't have happened again. He should not be mixing play calls up like that in the third game of the regular season. And Joe gave you guys the company line to protect Miller from any harsh criticisms. I'm sure they talked about it today in the film room.

Posted by: Phins78 | September 24, 2012 at 02:55 PM

What you must have missed Armando is that Miller completely blew a play call. It was a very crucial drive, we needed the yards.

The play was called for Miller to run to the left behind Incognito and Long. They opened a lane for him between Cogs and Pouncey. Accept when the ball was hiked Miller ran right. Tannehill turned left to hand the ball off and Miller was on the wrong side.

The linemen who were pushed to the left (creating the hole) were running around Long at that point. Tannehill had no choice but to tuck the ball and try to run for a couple of yards.

Not only did we lose 3 yards on a crucial play but our rookie QB was smashed into the ground by two linemen as he had turned into the running back. The proof was all over his face and helmet in the form of dirt.

I agree that Thomas isn't getting it done and Miller WILL be the better option. But he almost got our QB killed and they took him out right after that.

If we can punish Thomas for a fumble Miller can certainly be punished for what he did. And who's to say it wouldn't have happened again. He should not be mixing play calls up like that in the third game of the regular season. And Joe gave you guys the company line to protect Miller from any harsh criticisms. I'm sure they must have talked about it today in the film room. Coaches don't like when their rookies get their qbs faces smashed into the turf.

I would leave Miller right where he belongs, in the backfield.....
he is the future starting RB.....no doubt in my mind.... just needs work on his blocking and blitz pick-ups..

but running the football is his inherent strength, and so far he doesn't show a propensity to fumble the ball..

he has the things that are hard to find....taeching him to improve his blocking is easy by comparison..


but he has quickness...and you can't teach THAT to D Thomas....ergo...it's a no-brainer who is the choice at that position, based on this current roster...

Craig M.
Passing on occassion is great. But the question is why when you are lining up for a potential game winning FG are you swinging for the fences? Your best offense all day was the run. Why abandon it at this point. Also I question the use of Daniel Thomas so much in the 4th quater and Miller not getting any touches. All in all a learning lesson for a very inexperienced HC.

Something about being 6'0" and 230 makes RB suck. Too tall?

Sammie Smith = Ronnie Brown = Daniel Thomas....

I could go on and on. Better to be 5'10" or smaller as a RB, either 205 like Bush and Barry Sanders or 230 like Ricky Williams and Emmit Smith.

6'0" and 230 clearly does not work as an NFL RB.

They are always too upright and fumblers.

5'8" is better.

Here's another one for you. Wrap your brain around this one. Another option is to weigh 280 at HB like Christian Okoye, Jerome Bettis, or.....our Lane.

I AM TELLING YOU LITERALLY THAT WE'D BE 2-1 OR 3-0 THIS YEAR HAD J. LANE *FROM THE TB POSITION WITH A LEAD BLOCKER, WHAT'S FAIR IS FAIR* BEEN GIVEN EVERY SINGLE CARRY AND ASSIGNMENT THAT THOMAS HAS RECEIVED THIS YEAR.

NO FUMBLES. More yards. Thomas has given the other team points this year.

Albert...you're right on the money....

the kicker ALREADY missed from 48 yds..

...how novel an idea to RUN (what we do best) to get it a little closer...and MAYBE...a first down..

..but oh....excuse me...that's not BIG PLAY mentality....geez

mattybfromNC,
I agree. Running Bush into the line with 34 seconds to go before half was a brain dead idea. That single play may have caused the Dolphins the game because of the injury to Bush. If you are not trying to score at that point, take a knee and be done with it.

.....I thought the idea at that point in OVERTIME was to WIN the game !!!!!!


not pursue wishful team identity

....duh !

Phins78 makes a good point.

Miller better know the playbook.

Buster is correct.

Hahaha not a passing league. Please man look at the last 10 running backs to win the Super Bowl.

Bradshaw
Green
Thomas
Parker
Addai
.........I'm not gonna keep going, it's a freaking passing league

OK ..agreed Miller needs to know the playbook....you can school him there...


D Thomas isn't as quick...no further schooling available...


conclusion...work with the Rookie and have patience as a coach....his talent will bear positive results...

ROFLMAO. And what's with all of this we need to be more conservative stuff? Are you kidding me?! Hahahahaha All we did for four years is complain about Sparano and his ocs playing to conservative, playing for field goals.

We now have a coach that wants to attack and we're complaining. I just don't get it.

He's trying to establish a team identity here. They are building for the future, not trying to win any way they can. They're not going to the super bowl and everyone would be shocked if they even sniffed the playoffs.

So what's more important here, getting Tannehill some experience reading defenses or having him hand the ball off a thousand times a game and only throw 12 passes? Why even put him in there to start if he's just handing the ball off? So we can win 8 games, lose out on a high draft pick, miss the playoffs, and extend his learning because he didn't get enough throwing reps?

I just don't understand why everyone is acting like we are killing our chances at glory. We knew the team would struggle because we have no talent at wr, db, and te and are thin at lb. What's the big surprise here and what are we doing? Aren't we rebuilding this team for the future? I'm all for setting our identity now, then grab the players you need to run your plays. We're not good people, or folks as Armando likes to say. Lets get one of the top 3 picks and get Thill some help.

Lets not worry about running the ball like Sparano is still here. What are you guys trying to do save Jeff Irelands job? We need him gone! Lose, lose, and then lose some more. Get Ireland fired, get someone better hoefully, and use our high draft picks and 20 to 30 million in free agency to get some talent on the team so we can make a run at the playoffs next year.

I have to go but is anyone against what I have stated? Do you think winning 7 or 8 games instead of three will help get us where we want to go faster? I'm totally curious and think this would make for some great conversations! If anyone agrees jump in and give me your thoughts. Talk to you guys later, peace.

Craig you were also wrong to want career 400-400 one playoff win Mustache Man Fisher here too.

No Craig and Phins78 "we" didn't. ONly children want a Maddenlike game.

I have always called for a running/defense approach.

Bottom line the team is garbage with Jeff Ireland.

Phins I don't want to win 8 games. I wanted to win 14 like SanFran did last year in year 1.

he excuses get tiresome. It's been over a decade of them now. Win or leave. Produce or leave. Jeff Ireland has missed in FA and the draft WAY more than he's hit. Philbin doesn't impress me in the least and I just saw an article the other day about the WCO being dead. Haha. Can't wait for a new GM and coach. One day they've got to get it right.
PS Matt Ryan
PPS Ozzie Newsome

Carl, Runt Manning is a caretaker QB at best. Giants won with defense and luck.

Wow, after years, and I mean years of complaints about running the football. You say Miami needs to run.

The wr with the best tools on this team is sitting on the bench every week. Rishard Matthews has hands... can get deep...make defenders miss and separate on short routes. The worst wr core in the NFL won't win many games. You can't hide your passing game with the short routes and trying to throw deep to feature the only white no. 1 wr in the NFL.

Carl look at results on the field.

The team that controls the ball and has less turnovers and more rushing yards and attempts wins 95% of all NFL games.

Same as it was in 1986 and in 1992 and in 2002 and same as it ever was.

the truth of it is if carpenter makes that field goal we won't be talking about any this crap.
WE're not a playoff team this year anyway. They played an exciting game and we were in it all the way until the end. Obviously a win would have been great but win or lose it was still fun to watch. We didn't get blown out and we showed effort and courage. Let's move on and get the next game. Go Phins!

Phins 78....okay ..fine....we know what we want the team to look like..


but you still can't give the game away...

...the way to go at that point in the OT was work the ball closer to the end zone..

set up a higher percentage kick..

especially after carpenter missed the previous from similar distance so badly...


.....yes, the vision for the future identity of the team is fine.....and there are times to be agressive and go for the endzone...but that was not one of them....

.....and you can't dispute thaat can you ??

WCO as inexpertly run by coaches not named Bill Walsh is dead.

Losers like our garbage Fins organization are always 5 years behind in trends, in everything, clothes, hairstyle, football approaches, etc.

What Phins78 & Craig M haven't grasped is that running the ball with 36 sec to go from the 20 is NOT aggressive. It is CONSERVATIVE.

When you have a lead & can go into halftime with it, it's the SMART PLAY. They wanted to run out the clock, they weren't trying to score. WHY NOT KNEEL IT?

Fans hated Sporano cause he'd kneel on it when we were losing. Totally different scneario. I guess you refuse to accept that point.

REGARDLESS, a kneel down accomplishes the same as a run into the pile in that scenarion except it doesn't risk anyone getting hurt. Miami wasn't trying to be agressive, they were running the clock out.

Phins78, also, regarding your comment about Miller missing the handoff. Yes, I understand he blew the play but, unlike Thomas, it didn't cost us possession of the ball.

Miller should see the ball more than Thomas. Thomas doesn't have what it takes.

Why would we need Lamar Miller to be a better pass protector if we are feeding him the rock & he doesn't fumble???? Dude can run, play to your strength. When you got a rookie QB without a true #1 receiver you aren't gonna light it up through the air. That ain't rocket science.

Its a good thing these scrubs won a game because they may not win another one.

I noticed how you never mentioned during the 2 minute drill we had 3 Timeouts and didn't NOT ONE. We wait to use the TO with 15-20 seconds left HOPING to get a fumble??? Wtf kind of little league crap is that.

If we would've used a couple of TO's on that final drive we could have attempted a TD instead of chucking it 30-40 yards and hoping Tannehill actually throws in inbounds and not 5 yards out of the End Zone

truth and finbukaki are correct

uhoh!!!!.
the excuses r starting...
lol

Definitely guys, Miller needs to play. He is already better than Thomas running and you can see the talent he has. He just has a knack for finding the openings. He's a great talent and should get more playing time.

I was just explaining why they might have chose to take him out for a bit. The game was close and you can't make mental errors like that. He hopefully has the smarts to learn the playbook (don't need another Chad Johnson guy) because he seems like the real deal. I look forward to watching him get better as the year goes on and I think he will be the #2 before we know it. And as I say that lets not forget the huge play Thomas had catching that screen pass. Great run after the catch.

Oh and lastly before I go, that wasn't a fumble. I paused it on the camera shot from the end zone. It's hard to make out but you can see his knees, both of them , were on the ground before the ball came out. It was hard to do, I actually had to go up to the screen and trace a line down with my finger to tell who's legs were where. But I found Thomas's left knee, it was firmly in the ground, they held him up at his chest and stripped the ball. So yeah he shouldn't have let go but he got robbed because there wasn't clear evidence. No chance those refs were going to go into detail like I did about it, they only have those tiny screens and lots of pressure to make a quick call. Oh well, he should have freaking cradled that thing like a new born either way!

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