« Miami Dolphins defeat Patriots, 24-20 | Main | Mike Sherman: 'We're making noise' »

Dolphins in control after winning statement game

Let's begin with the fact Sunday's victory over the Patriots was, as I wrote in my column today, a statement victory.

The Dolphins planted a flag, drew a line, and dared the Patriots to overrun their position. Pat riley

That was how coach Joe Philbin put it to players when he had the pictured pamphlet put in every player's locker stall.

Think of the words: "Plant your feet, stand firm and make a point about who you are ..."

(Yeah, Pat Riley rocks).

The Dolphins are making the point that they are more than just a playoff aspirant now. They are a contender.

They've beaten New England, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati -- all teams that currently are in the playoff picture and, indeed, are leading their divisions.

They've beaten Phillip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Tom Brady and Matt Ryan. That's some serious QB talent right there.

They've won 4 at home. They've won four on the road.

The Dolphins are 3-0 in December. Ryan Tannehill is ballin' as I predicted he would.

Things are looking good. The Dolphins are making a statement that hasn't been made in these parts since the 2008 run to the AFC East title.

If the Dolphins win out -- meaning, they win at Buffalo and win the season-finale versus the Jets -- they are in the playoffs. The issue no longer devolves into a tiebreaker with Baltimore based on Cincinnati's loss to Pittsburgh Sunday night.

If both the Dolphins and Patriots finish 10-6, the Dolphins win the AFC East. That would require New England losses to Baltimore and Buffalo. -- which I don't see happening -- but obviously the possibility exits. There's also a possibility a sixth-seed Miami travels to New England for a playoff game.

Never mind that.

The Dolphins must win their final two games. Success makes Sunday's victory meaningful. On the other hand ...

"This looses all it's luster if we don't win the last two games of the season," receiver Brian Hartline said. "This will mean more if we win the last two games."

Enjoy it anyway.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

********* trial and error *******
we as people learn from our mistakes, and sometimes the only bright side to a loss(loosing a hard faught game) is that it exposes a flaw, but...if philbin can take one lesson from this WIN against the pats it should be this...the biggest surprise of this game was the slow start of the first half, once tannehill went to the shotgun the offense thrived, the lesson....miami DOES have the ability to set up the run with the pass, if the game gameplan is to favor the run, fine, but get it going by allowing tannehill to hit some passes from the shotgun.

**note- the return game surprisingly isn't what i had expected it to be this year, is thigpen nursing an injury? if so, a change of pace that sees some big plays from this unit might account for another KEY win in the games to follow, which brings me to this question...what happened to the return game in years past that featured TWO return specialists? is this not allowed anymore? i always liked the way the first guy caught the ball and the other would fly in to make a key block, i also always wandered if putting a bigger runbling type reciever(like clay) back to recieve a kick could yield a better result. whatever the case, i think a change up in return duties could pay dividends, how about marlon moore or rishard mathews?

Despite this win Coyle and Philbin really need to breakdown the 4th QTR tape to understand why their D fell apart so badly. If they have any chance to advance THIS YEAR this D needs to improve.

Posted by: jpao | December 16, 2013 at 09:08 AM

Did you realize in the 4th quarter, we were playing without Grimes & Carroll?

Throw in the loss of Patterson & Stanford, Miami played the 4th quarter with Davis who hasn't played any D snaps all year, a practice quader from another team & Jimmy Wilson who was he ONLY player who logged any legit minutes all year.

Cut them some slack!

To Troop @ 1:16AM last night:
Best post I have ever seen in this forum. Way to put this thing into the right perspective. Great Job!

What gets me about yesterday. Is the patsy fans in the CBS broadcast booth on 4th and 5 for Miami with less than 3 minutes remaining in the game says "Miami has all its time outs they should punt" How obvious can you be and how ignorant to punt the ball back to Tom Brady with less than 3 Minutes in the game. I know theres alot of patsy fans out there but do you have to make it so obvious when yr suppose to be neutral announcers?? cmon man!!!

A few thoughts...

I think after the last few games and yesterday put a exclamation point on it....Tannehill is the future. No more 'maybe' at least from my viewpoint.

Sherman is mixing up calls better...not as predictable. Philbin seems to be a little less conservative and that's a good thing.

Coyle? Couldn't he see Amendola killing us play after play? Jeeze.

With 1st down, 1:25 on the game clock left in the 4th quarter, I was fully expecting Sherman to dial up another run up the middle to kill more clock and to get closer to scoring, instead we throw an incomplete and kill the clock.

Even though we won, clock management at the end of the game almost spelled disaster again. Don't know if my nerves can take many more like yesterday. Gave Brady way too much clock at the end of the game.



The phoenix that rises from the ashes...

As great as the win is, fans need to relax a lil in terms of what it means for the future.

That was a team that has been decimated by injuries. I know we are a lil thin in the secondary but, they are totally depleted.

It doesn't tell me anything other than this team has improved this year. If we played them at even close to full strength & won, then I'd say we've closed the gap. As of right now, clinging to a last second win at home doesn't tell me a lot.

Fact is, until both teams are relatively healthy, we really don't know how close we are. Wilfork, Mayo, Gronk, the other 2 WR's, etc...

Great win. I want to see this team in the postseason to get Tanne's feet wet there & gain him that critical experience. So when the team is better positioned to make a run, Tanne will not be a postseason rookie!

Anyone know the status on Grimes and why he went out Sunday?

Craig, no game in teh NFL is a walk in the park but if lose this game against a team that is looking at April lead by a Qb that is one of the five worst right now in football, then that is disastrous.

I fully expect a win, it's time to walk with that swagger. We are just better than them. haven't you been listening to Johnathan martin? We are a bunch of bullies - time to pick on the helpless Bills.

Seriously though, Coyle, fix your frickin defense - another 400 yard day allowed yesterday. Geez. better be ready for the run and have Jordan shadow Manuel and all shall be taken care of.

By the way, kudos to Will Davis. He hasn't got any sufficient minutes all year but when he got out there, he battled, kept the plays in front him and aquitted himself quite well. He's a player...

The ideal finish starts tonight. Step by Step
1. Ravens lose to Lions tonight.
2. We win against Bills Sunday blowing them out.
3. Ravens beat Pats in close hard battle.
4. We win against Jets.
5 Pats lose after being beat up by the Ravens to the Bills.

Dolphins AFC East champs!!!

Great win. Great comeback in the 2nd half by Tannehill (started slow again but redeemed himself). Great individual plays by the defense when they needed them (even though we were down 2 CBs). Great coaching by Philbin (the idiot announcers were saying Dolphins HAD to punt on that 4th down, that would have sealed our fate, Philbin did what I said we NEEDED to do to beat the Pats...EXTEND DRIVES!). GREAT play-calling by Sherman (especially in the red zone).

John @ 932, Running the ball there would've been bad in my opinion, couldn't waste a down there and couldn't play for the fg. NE had all it's time outs anyway. had to play for the lead and not worry about time because with three timeouts, you weren't going to eb able to bleed the clock. had to be aggressive, tehyw ere, and executed brilliantly. Sometimes you need to rely on your defense...

FYI, @ 9:32, I was waiting for someone to say this ... the Pats who we faced yesterday are the pats you expect to see going forward. Gronkowski will never be halthy again. Wilfork is like 40 years old and pushing 400 lbs, he's done. Mayo is the one guy they were missing but we didn't exactly beat them on the ground anyway. IT was a great victory and well earned, it's ok to accept it.

Yep, they went for it on 4th and 5. Couldn't give the ball back to them. Brady would've dinked and dunked his way to bleeding the clock dry. WE TOOK IT FROM THEM!!

2 watt, ur converted!!


Good point on Will Davis. He played well yesterday, as did Michael Thomas. Sure hope Jamar Taylor pans out. I was really high on this pick from the beginning.

Tough test Sunday. The stadium will be rocking, the Bills will have a little more confidence after yesterday and they'll. be playing loose on Sunday with nothing to lose. It'll be a tough one.

I must admit that was RT's best game by far. It was also the most important win of his career and for the team all season.

I'm still not sold on either RT or the team, but, it was a huge game.

I've asked for it all season. 3 TD's, 0 INT's

Consistency is the question. Can they keep it up?

And for all that is holy can someone give the LB'ers some brains!

...I said last week that I hoped the team would be aggressive on Sunday. Win or lose. Well, we were.

From what looked to me like a failed would have been fake field goal attempt(I don't know for sure) To the timeouts that gave us time at the end of half 1 giving Tanny time to try and get some points(which we did, and I am sure when it was third and long, this blog was going through one of its manic episodes) To the fourth and five call(nice run by Clay) to Croyle going cover zero in the redzone begging Brady and Co to make a play against a secondary who at the time was playing with a patchwork group..

That was aggressive.

BTW...People continue to complain about the secondary.
Do people watch any other games? Did anyone pay attention to the other side? The way the game is played, it is hard, nearly impossible to lock down an offense with an elite quarterback. Who, what team shuts down Brady for an entire game..Get real.

They should have been jamming those WR's at the LOS EVERY play. Every pass was a 5 YD slant out in 2 secs or less

Uhhh I did accept it. I am more than happy with the win.

But, you are borderline delusional or stupid to think this Pats team is even close to the one they've built.

Take it for what it is. A good win this year but, by no means, should be used as a measuring stick.

Gronk WILL be back. Gronk will never be healthy? Nostradamous are you?

Fat man Wilfork will be back. So will Mayo. So will Volmer & Solder & Dobson(decent player).

Drop them pom poms & come back to earth for awhile. Fans who blow every win out of proportion is what's wrong with this fan base. Keep it in perspective!

i have no hair left after Brady throwing 5 yes 5 passes into the endzone at the end and Fins stepping up to break up the passes and finally intercepting the last pass.

I admit i was a Tanne basher!! Yea yea i know im eating crow now, gladley eat it! Tannehill has improved a lot in December im starting to realize hes the franchice guy weve been looking for since Marino! Stocked about that

I actually think Sherman called one of his best games to date. He kept the defense honest with a running game through the Pats some misdirection plays(Wallace reverse). Some long balls etc.

On the most crtical 4th down play he called an excellent play to Clay!! He was anticipating a Pats blitz which they were doing that whole drive. Only way to couter a blitz is to get the ball out quick to one of your playmaker. Clay made a heck of a catch and YAC for the first.

That was the play of day!!

One happy Monday. But no one has mentioned in why not go for 4th&1 when it was only 3-0 in the first or the beginning of the 2nd?, and inside New England territory. Just saying. That was the play that the ball hit the holder in the face mask.

Marc @ 9:55, I was yelling that all game. Why in the world were the startign corners worried about getting beat deep against Edelmen, Amendola, and Collie? All three are exactly the same and do all their damage within 5 yards of the LOS. Carrol was the worst at this - he was giving 7 yard cushion all game. Go back and look at the tape from the Raven game last year. Those dbs were up in the patriots' face all day. Easiest bloody offense to slow down. Do everything at the LOS of scrimamge like Dan Henning and Tony Sparano used to do.

Posted by: Just FYI | December 16, 2013 at 09:32 AM

Pats are a 10 win team, they have the best QB and coach in NFL

this was a special win for us fans enjoy it...

Boy not too many Monday's like this lately huh? I hope there are more to come starting with next Monday.

The dreaded Bills and the weather will be a challenge as usual.

A couple of thoughts on the botched FG / fake field goal attempt whatever it was. Am I the only one that thinks in short yardage situations like that you could roll Tanny out in a run / pass option and teams would be hard pessed to deny him 2 or 3 yards to the sideline?? It think it would work at least 5 or 6 times before teams started keying on it.

Lets all give Kudos to Sherman! Man this team needs to get over the Pats W and focus hard on the Bills. Manuel is back and will prob be using hos legs a lot more. Guess Wheeler will be the designated spy, speaking of Wheeler i dont want to see him back in a Fins uniform he sucks bad!

Posted by: It's in the Breeze... Troop..!!! | December 16, 2013 at 01:16 AM


@ 9:57, Gronkowski has a completely shredded knee and is injury prone - certifiable - you think he will EVER be the same again? He's finished!

Wilfork? How many dominant 33 year old DTs do you know of? His best days are gone... And they were not missing both OTs...

People have been telling me I've been wearing Homer glasses all year. But you know what? I've been 100% RIGHT all year.

I thought with Grimes and Carroll down that we were ripe to let Brady pad his HOF stats. With Davis playing off his man by 8-10 yards that invited Brady to pick on him. But he, at least, kept his man in front of him. I was looking all over the field trying to find a defensive back I recognized! I was hoping something might happen to give us the win. But the only thing that came to mind was a sack that would force Brady to throw it downfield. Nope! Then a man who, I suspect, flew into town in the morning did the unthinkable. (Wonder if he used a plane?)

Brady a class act? It's easy when you win all the time. Not so easy when you lose, is it Tom! His news conference was classic and certainly not a class act!

Rick@ 10:04, also noticed how it was BB's intent to keep Tannehill in the pocket all game? BB takes away one thing from the opponent every week. Speaks volumes that the thing they wanted to take away was our Qb's running ability - well and Charles Clay. Wallace was seldom doubled as a result... this is what they call depth and a QB smart enough and talented enough to recognize and adapt.

Dolfan Rick, i agree give THill the option to run or pass for the first down. That fake FG didnt look like it had any shot i think it was going to be a little flicker to Sturgis who would have tried to run for it. At least Mr Conserative had the balls to go for it

Truth, I think the coaches have had it with Wheeler too. After he was nutted by the Pat's 4th string TE - we saw a lot more Jelani Jenkins. Thankfully. This guy is our best coverage LB...

Mark in Toronto | December 16, 2013 at 10:03 AM
Posted by: Marc | December 16, 2013 at 09:55 AM

My friends and I were yelling that too! What the heck is this prevent-style corner play? It never works, especially with the exact talent that the Pats have-> they have quick receivers with great hands that run excellent routes and perhaps one of the most accurate qbs in the game who can hit players in stride. Just didn't make any sense.

I actually like Coyle overall, but I didn't understand that strategy yesterday, and I didn't understand it on 4th and 10 vs. Carolina. We have to put our corners on the line, put a body on those smaller receivers, and force the Pats to make the big play.

Great game yesterday, now on to buffalo. As someone who has been to a number of bills and dolphins games in update New York, don't think for a minute this game is a given. The bills would like nothing more than to beat Miami, this is their Super Bowl. We need to bring our A game to leave buffalo with a win. This is a huge game because the jets are worst than the bills. Go Dolphins.

But you know what? I've been 100% RIGHT all year.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | December 16, 2013 at 10:07 AM

You forgot humble.

Mark, I hate Wheeler so bad sometimes when the Fins are on D I specifically watch him and whether its shooting the wrong gap, getting blown up by an Ol, totally out of coverage, missing tackles. He always just seem out of posisition. He really cant do anything right!

Great Win. Too bad I didn't get to watch it live. Dolphins are finally stepping up. If they get in I think they have a legit shot. Good defense and an offense that can score quick. If they can get the running game to be more consistent they are looking very good.

Also, the Cinci loss last night was huge. Now if Baltimore goes off and wins out then Cinci could be the odd team out (Miami has tie breaker :) )

Marc, You got your 300+ 3 TD no INT game (vs Pats to boot). Happy now?

2 watt, keep cheering man. I hope you are cheering. That post from troop onthe first page was awesome.

So many positives to draw from this game. Wallace earned the money this game and showed he is not a one trick pony.

Mark in Toronto, I agree with you about it being pick your poison with this offense. Steelers decided to stop Wallace and got burned by Clay and the read option. Belicheat decided to stop Clay and Tannehill from running and got burned by Wallace.

Nice work from Sherman/Philbin and the offensive coaches to see that and adjust on the fly. And of course nice work by Tannehill and the rest of the offense for executing.

And Jimmy Wilson should be crucified for his poor tackling attempt

Wheeler has had more impact plays lately but I swear he strikes me as someone who isn't in good shape. It just seems like he's always trailing plays and seems gassed.

Maybe that hair is weighing him down lol.

...We should have done this, we should have done that. We won the game..They scored 20 points. Shane Vareen, a guy most here last week were comparing to Freddy Krueger was shut down.

The defense was mixing its coverages well in the first half. They(Pats) didn't do squat in the third quarter. Then injury struck...Will Davis had to play and was getting butchered out there..(-2.4 grade for yesterday) Carrol had to play on Grimes side.

So we are supposed to ask these guys to play press coverages?? Land your spaceships. We did not have the personel to do anything but give a bit of a cushion in that instance. Croyle wanted to stay agrressive. We were bringing pressure like crazy in the fourth quarter. We did not have the personel to both pressure, and play press coverage...YOu have to pick 1. I think, and evidence by the win. Croyle made the right calls yesterday

odin??? really???

you are calling a win that would be so easy it's boring as a great prediction of yesterday's win??

there were a lot of people who thought we would win. most thought win a tough game. i fought we would win a hard fought game because other than the jets all our wins were very hard fought.

i know you were kinda joking...

You don't nlame the corners for the off coverage zone...you blame Coyle...these guys are playing and trying to execute the calls that come down from him...thank god he realized the error of his ways and applied zone press when we started recruiting DBs out of the crowd on the final drive...zone press on the final drive saved our arses!!!

Yeah, I don't think Coyle did bad. Things only really got out of hand when Grimes and Carroll were out. The D kept us in it the whole first half.

Pats fans are all saying there should have been pass interference at the end of the game. They are pretty mad the refs let them play and there was no bailout this game. Funny stuff.

Mark agreed They took away QB part of the read option with T-hill and also doubled clay. They left Wallace one on one. I thought it was a big game for both Philip and Sherman. Although on defense need to figure out the WR screen and slants. Patriots and Denver are masters of this.

Scary seeing Will Davis in there and holy crap Michael Thomas...wow.

@ 10:15. I've suffered way worse shots than that all year in here and been vindicated. You need to do better than that to get under my skin. BTW, are you Omar Kelly??

I am so proud of our Dolphins!
What a great victory. First win over the Patsies since 2009. I think the trend is our friend, and AFC East dominance may return like we used to have.
Tannehill looked like a really experienced NFL QB out there on Sunday. He got into a rhythm and was making beautiful completions to Hartline, Wallace, Matthews, Thigpen, Clay, and our other TEs and RBs. Despite 4 sacks, the o-line was doing a good job...it can get better, and should. Our running game needs to get better especially in Buffalo(weather). The acquisition of M. Thomas, oh my gosh, what a great pickup! Go Fins.

Truth,a botu teh only thing Wheeler is good at it blitzing teh Qb. I'm sure that's waht sold ireland on him too. But he gets way too many snaps. he shouldn't be anything more that a 3rd down specialist. jenkins is already a superior every down player - so is Jordan.


it's nice not having to need help to get in. we certainly don't have to root for the pats to beat the ravens next week!!! ravens will have their hands full tonight. so i'm root in for the pats to fall apart and lose last 2!!! then all those baaaston fans can cry for half a year!!!!

Rick @ 10:21. Wheeler isn't out of shape - he's slow and reacts late to boot. he runs a 4.8. Both jenkins and Jordan run a 4.5 and 4.6 respectively and seem more instinctive too. I'm a big jenkins fan specifically. This guys has a special skill set.

Also good work from Koa Misi yesterday. Thoguht he played strong and with attitude.

@ 10:15. I've suffered way worse shots than that all year in here and been vindicated. You need to do better than that to get under my skin. BTW, are you Omar Kelly??

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | December 16, 2013 at 10:32 AM

I'm your mama tellin you to finally grow up & start acting like a man.

DD, i speaking more of Carrol's off coverage in teh first half. He gives a massive cushion and against some teams it's not a problem but the patriots especially with that personnel play their entire game within 5 yards of the LOS.


haha, ur a nerd! I will act the way i always act, Omar.

Tomorrow the NFL Network is going to replay the game at 3:30 ET. I think I want to see it again! Some people wanted to see 'Titanic' over and over again even knowing the ending. I think this game is my Titanic!

...It is nice to be in control of our own destiny. It doesn't matter now what the Ravens, do tonight. If this team wins out..We are in baby! This is a spot that the team should be thriving on right now. An opportunity to go into the playoffs on 5 game winning streak..Talk about peaking at the right time..

This has to happen first. Before we all start stroking each other, before we build a statue of Tannehill(some posters felt pretty puffed up to tell the world how wrong everyone who ever questioned that Tannehill may not be the answer...IN YOUR FACE!!!) We will see. You have to finish.

So I hope this team can. It would be a huge disappointment to get so close and then have it slip away. I would imagine the coaches will be hammering this point all week, until the end of the season.

« 1 2 3 4 »

The comments to this entry are closed.