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Sherman rejects idea he blew play-call late vs. Arizona

Mike Sherman, like most football coaches, has certain convictions. As Don Shula used to say to me, 'you must have the courage of your convictions."

I get that.

But sometimes there's a disconnect between courage and wisdom.

And so while it was courageous for Sherman, Miami's offensive coordinator, to continue pressing the issue against the Arizona Cardinals late in regulation Sunday, it absolutely hurt the team. It was not wise.

This is what happened:

The Dolphins led 21-14 with 5:14 to play. They had the football at their own 35 yard line.

On first down Reggie Bush rushed for 7 yards to the Miami 42 yard line. On second down, Bush gained 15 yards on an outside run to the Arizona 43 yard line with only 3:45 to play. First down.

Sherman called on Bush again and he gained two yards to the Arizona 41 yard line. There were now three minutes left in the game and the Dolphins faced a second-and-nine from the Arizona 41 yard line.

If Sherman gives the ball to Bush two more times, he could have taken the clock down to the two minute warning before, at worst, punting on fourth down. The way Brandon Fields is punting this year, the best Arizona could have done is probably get the ball at their 20 yard line with 1:50 or so to play.

Then it would have been up to the Miami defense to keep the Cardinals from marching 80 yards in less than two minutes to tie.

That's worst case scenario that assumes the Cardinals, playing with an eight-man front, would have stuffed the Miami running game -- something they didn't do on the previous set of downs.

Sherman didn't see this as the way to go.

He called a pass on second-and-nine. And the Cardinals blitzed and quarterback Ryan Tannehill not only was sacked and lost seven yards, he also fumbled the football.

The Cardinals took over at their own 49 yard line when Vonnie Holliday recovered the fumble.

It was a disastrous decision by Sherman and no, that is not hindsight, because I'm looking at it in the pressbox and expecting Miami to run the ball and play the odds and was as surprised as anyone with the pass.

 Of course, Sherman doesn't see it that way. He was asked Tuesday if he has to change his approach and he said he doesn't think so.

"We were never in a situation where the game was won, so it wasn’t like we could just sit back," he said on Tuesday. "When you have a 10-point lead, that’s a little different than seven points or three points obviously. How many possessions is it going to take? We have to play, I don’t think you can play conservatively at that point. Did we take some risks? I didn’t consider them risks necessarily, but we were going to try our best to the move the football against their defense and their defense was playing a lot of eight-man fronts, so we had to do some things there.

"No, I don’t think so. I think we just have to do things a little bit cleaner, a little bit better and I think we’ll be ok. I think that’ll come. I really do."

So it's up to the players to get better and perform at a higher level. And until then, apparently, the offensive coordinator will continue putting the pedal to the metal. And expecting everything to be "ok."

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