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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.

Comments

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MeMo, they always think there should be pass interference because they always get those calls. I didn't see any bloody pass interference anywhere.

DarrylDunphy,

I know why Coyle backed them off, but given the personnel I still think the right move was pressing the wideouts a little more. Backing them off cleary didn't work. Let the corners play and earn their stripes. .

Brady must have been licking his chops when he saw injuries out there, and then he was probably salivating when he watched those replacements playing 10 yards back.

CEREAL KILLERS FOR LIFE!!!!!

Time to talk incognito. He has served his suspension and we need him on the line. Our line is shaky at best, and this decision needs to be a football decision, not a personal one. All of the players (other then martin) want him back. We are now making a playoff push, and if we are going to make any noise, we need a solid line infront of sack-a-hill.

I for one hate the prevent defense, hate it.
Just stick to the scheme that worked all game long.

First, super excited about the win.

Now some things I noticed during the game:
Tannerhill still has a lot of growing to do. His reads were often poor and his deep passing has got to get better.
On defense, I would like to see more pressure on the QB, and I still do not get the why our DBs were playing 10+ yards off the receivers for most of the game. The Pats play a lot of screens and quick passes yet we continued to give them those the entire game. That is until the last series of downs when we tightened it up and made some plays. I would like to see more of that through the game.
Very happy for the win and I hope they take it to the Bills and Jets the next to weeks.

Go Fins!!!

here is another thought for those who want to exalt the defense and blame all ills on the offense.

were is the money being spent?? wallace makes bank, hardline and gibson have nice contracts. but where is the money?? i's on defense and heavy on defense. starks, solai, wake, wheeler, miss, jones, patterson, grimes and and ellerbee all make very good bank. only vernon, clemmons and carol don't make bank.

with those numbers is we hit 20 on offense we should win!!!

I didn't see any pass interference really either. I did see about 37 offensive holds by the Pats get ignored though. Ridiculous. That's my one whine/complain of the day (hahaha). I feel better and am now done:)

Also good work from Koa Misi yesterday. Thoguht he played strong and with attitude.
Posted by: Mark in Toronto | December 16, 2013 at 10:38 AM

Misi is one of our more unheralded players, but he's an outstanding football player who is finally playing in the ideal position and scheme per his ability.

I expect to see the uneducated continue to use the word "loose" when they obviously mean "lose"...as we were taught in grade school. To see a long time "professional" journalist type that as your first instinct, and then to slide by the editing process...at the MIAMI HERALD...is really shocking. AMATEUR. Seriously. It's sad when you know you can do a better job than the person who is actually getting paid to do this. Where is your pride? Proof read your copy please.

I'm not really not sure what happened in the 1st half that our O started so slow. I didn't see any special coverages or D line formations by NE. maybe we just didn't get the hang of it until late in that half.

Great win by the whole team and definately a statement game to a team that has ruled the AFC east for far to long. That being said. We cant be satisfied with just that win. We have another tough one in buffalo. The bills are down and their record is poor, but they always play us tough, especially in their place. One game at a time mentality is needed here. No looking ahead or what could be. Take care of the business at hand and its the playoffs for our 2013 Miami Dolphins.

Someone just made the statement that Ireland is back next year. I believe it was ESPN. Can't say I'm happy with that! If he is coming back, I think he'll realize that he's not the face of the Franchise! At least he should know it's, at present, Philbin! He was the man who held this team together!

Ireland deserves some praise for the Michael Thomas pickup. Honestly the guy isn't perfect, but the hate went way too far.

I'm hoping Baltimore loses to the Lions tonight of course. The Sunday, I'm actually rooting for the Pats to beat the Ravens. If we beat the Bills and the Ravens lose the next two we are in for sure and don't even have to worry about the Pats.

Not sure if anyone posted it but J Martin can suck on a fat one!!! I hope hes enjoying watching from Mommy and Daddy house how sooooo much better the Fins are without his fat crybaby soft arse!

NeMo

We win our next two and it doesnt matter what any other team does. No scoreboard watching or help is required. The team has earned the right not to have to rely on other teams to achieve what they set out to do at the start of the season. One game at a time. First buffalo then the jets

...Perhaps he reason Croyle was playing soft coverages was that the tape on NE says this is the play. Maybe teams in similar situations played pres coverages and got burned(see Cleveland, see New Orleans) Players earning their stripes is secondary to winning. Davis was getting killed. And you are going to ask him to creep up and play press coverage? You think Brady was salivating because he was off. He would have had a tantric orgasm if Davis was in Press.

As far as Carrol goes..He did play up on the receivers early. Then he got hurt, had to move over to Grimes spot. Perhaps because we had Thomas back there playing safety effected the calls we could make defensively. We want the parts to be moving as a whole. Maybe the safest way to go about protecting both guys, the team. Was to play the coverages we did.

Easy to second guess..I'm not sure why some are. We won. Whatever Croyle did worked..They scored 20 points..20..

NeMo it is easy for me to hope the Lions beat the Ravens tonight (aside from the fact it benefits the dolphins) because I lived in Detroit during the time Matt Millen was their gm, and am glad to see them turning around finally.

I only want Miami to win their remaining 2 and should the Ravens beat the Patriots next week I will surely be rooting for the Bills in that final game; however, should the Patriots beat the Ravens it is all the same to me since either scenario benefits the dolphins.

When Wells gave his explanation on what was going to be the reasons for coming back to Miami for additional interviews his last reason was 'the state of mind and OUTSIDE reasons for Martin to leave'. Interesting! Shortly after that statement he cancelled. It looks like the 'Phins might not be all that culpable and the league, at this time, knows it!

I don't know why People write effected when they meant affected, tantric when I guess they meant titanic it reminds me of Daytona.

DarrylDunphy,

Again, big picture I'm a huge Coyle fan and feel he's been successful all year (with a scheme that his personnel has been learning and improving upon). He's been successful and admired by his staff and teammates everywhere he's been.

I'm just saying 4th and 8, you HAVE to be on the line playing tight. Otherwise, you're gift-wrapping first down.

I'll shutup now. I'm cool with agreeing to disagree. You're right. We won.

I agree neMo, Ireland has been on a hot streak the last two years and did a lot more good tahn bad here. Yes martin was an awful pick, yes not upping the anti for jake was a mistake, yes Wheeler was an awful signing but other than that - he's done excellent work.

Tannehill, Vernon, Wallace, Gibson, Keller, Grimes, Hartline, Miller, Ellerbe, etc etc and you will see with this year's crop too - Jordan, Taylor, jenkins all fine and I beleive in Davis too although the game is a bit fast for him right now.

The man doesn't deserve the hate. He's brought us a franchise QB - He's done good.

I'm doing my SASSY WALK today. Shaking my little money maker to see if I can attract a Sugar Daddy like a bug to honey.

Krillian, the front 7 I don't think played a great game either. And for wahtever reason Wake never really shows against nick Cannon for some inexplicable reason. Guy is a backup and just about puts Wake in his back pocket. I can't explain it.

Vernon I thought was getting close a couple of times - hurries I guess. Anyway, guess it's the old adage - we just did enough on defense.

Our pass rush was decent, but I think we only had 1 sack. A lot of that goes to Brady I think. Guy is great at sliding in the pocket and knowing when to get rid of the ball.

And isn't this crazy ... the new Orleans Saints may not make the playoffs ... this weekend's game against the Panthers in Carolina is massive. Last week against TB is no gimme either.

NeMo, also helps when the Qb can throw the ball in under two secs to open receivers.

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Agreed Mark on pretty much everything you said. Every gm makes a few mistakes. I think Ireland and Philbin work well together and the team is definitley trending upward. I'm really hoping the team makes the playoffs to give Tannehill some playoff experience. If they do make it they are playing with house money in my book.

I actually didn't have a huge problem with the Martin pick at the time, I know you hated him since day 1 though. I was dead wrong on that one.

Should've taken Alshon Jeffery instead of the big crybaby. Our offense would be nearly unstoppable.

Mark in Toronto,

I generally dig your post and think you've got great insight, but I disagree with you regarding Wake's performance yesterday. Thought he played a great game throughout-> He had a sack, must have put Brady on the ground 4-5 times, and he consistently pushed his blocker deep into Brady's comfort zone. I was a little surprised we didn't have a little more overall pressure though. Sometimes you have to credit the other team though- their O-line did just enough for them, Brady had some great footwork and found open players.

Guys, you need to ease up on the defense (playing the receivers tight). The Pats style of offense now is basically the b.s techmo bowl play that always worked but only b*****s used. They have a ticky-tack, pick-and-screen style offense that's annoying like a gnat. These miniature WRs, going in motion, stacked formations, just so they come off the line clean and can't get bumped, and Brady throws these 2-4 yard passes and let's them run in space. That's all they have. Very difficult to defend, especially when they set those ILLEGAL picks. I think we played them as well as anyone else has. So I give Coyle a break on this game, that's why it was hard to sack Brady, he got it out too quickly.

Hard to get pressure when the ball is out so quickly...That's why playing press is a no-brainer. If he has to hold it longer than 2 secs you drill him.

He did evade AT LEAST 2 sacks stepping up in the pocket. RT could learn from that

Thank you Dolphins for :

1) Playing with heart and soul
2) Getting J Martin off of this team
3) Shutting up all the haters on this blog(you all know who you are)
4) Going to the next level
5) Sticking together
6) Making Armando back track his previous hating articles about how much turmoil the dolphins are in and that everybody needs to be fired. And now he is saying we are a CONTENDER. Thanks Tom Armando Brokaw for the great reporting. Your a peach. Bandwagon reporter at its finest.
7) Winning in December
8) Staying healthy
9) Making Tom Brady very uncomfortable when dropping back
10) Better coaching (because everybody is still in a learning curve) you guys are doing very well.

Oh, one last thing, CMON DETROIT.

Krillian, you could be right ... maybe I just hoped they had generated more hits and i speaking out of frustration but I just keep waiting for this front 7 to win us a game...

NeMo, I like Jeffrey a lot in that draft too. That would've been nice ... exactly the type of WR I think we need too... oh well, I didn't mind drafting a tackle, I just don't think we picked a good one.

Hey Marc, get that #17 jersey yet?

Being at the game does help you see the entire field and not be limited to what the TV cameras decide to show the viewers.

What I saw on Defense was the group really struggle against the run. They had decent pressure on Brady in the last three quarters. They didn't have many sacks but he was hit 3-4 times by Wake, he was hit hard by Odrick and Jordan and Vernon did get some decent pressure.

They had a few good run stops but overall their run defense was not good yesterday. This has been a consistent theme this year and something to be critical of as they determine what to do with Starks and Solai (contracts are up).

They also need to revisit their scheme and make sure it really complements their players, in particular their LB's. They just invested a lot in both Wheeler and Ellerbe and they are not going to cut them after one season. I tend to think they are better suited for 3-4 scheme vs. 4-3.

I would go 3-4 and keep Solai.
I would put Odrick and Wake as DE's.
I would get Misi and Ellerbe in the ILB spots and Jenkins and Wheeler in the OLB spots.
This allows them to rotate Vernon and Jordan as either DE's on passing downs or OLB's as situational pass rushers who can cover TE's as needed.

Krillian

Wake did have a solid game. would have been even better had the numerous holds on him were called. We played Tom Brady thus the officials will keep in the back of their minds "The Tom Brady Rule". I thought the only issue on the defense was their decision to play off of the patriot smurf recievers. Time and time again a 7-9 yard cushion allowed Tom to hit quick slants and receiver screens. I guess i miss the days of Madison and Surtain playing lock down mode where receivers just had no room to operate. I see Grimes as that kind of player but only him. Patterson unfortunately cant stay out of the trainers room consistantly

I gotta say the coaching seems a lot better in recent weeks. On offense especially I think Sherman is doing a much better job. The touchdown pass to Thomas with the fake reverse to Wallace was a nice call.

I gave Sherman a lot of blame earlier in the year so now I think he deserves some credit.

HAHA. Not so fast MarK. I said my piece and he had a great game. GREAT GAME.

Can he CONTINUE to do it. Let's be honest. Clay bailed him out AGAIN!

He's got to stop throwing passes short of the first down on third down!

jpao,

What was it like being at the game??? That's the first game I can remember in a while where I saw I colors throughout the stadium, and we even had people in the corners of the nosebleed section.

I'm serious when I say greatest win I can remember in a long time. Beating the Jets with Favre in 2008 was huge too, but this game definitely tops that. Just sat their speechless at the end of the game with my friends. Don't know what it would have been like to be there.

It is possible in game of Buffalo they have use caspo play? I have see this in early game also use from San Francisco I believe. Yes, it is not assure success but can be use this time I believe.

jpao

I sure hope that run defense is up to the challenge when we face the bills this week. Spiller and jackson are far more dangerous than Ridley and Blount. This is a week where i think you gotta play 8 in the box and go man/press coverage. Gotta force EJ Manuel to beat you. dont let that running game dictate flow of the game. Get up early and that running game becomes a non factor.

i think Wake hit Brady like 5 times.

J.Philbin is a better motivator than E.Spoelstra.

Great quote. Those are the little things that differentiate good coaches from Great coaches. They find ways to motivate so you can give your all. Philbin does that from his players.

All the Dolphin players love Philbin. They respect him as a man. All but 1 former player. A spoiled cry baby. Heck, even Incognito loves Philbin. Tweeting after the game he is proud of HIS team.

The quote I love hearing from Philbin is "He looks like a football player". Some people don't understand it. But it makes perfect sense. Brenner looks like a Football player. M.Thomas looks like a Football player. R.Matthews looks like a Football player. Certain guys just show instincts far superior to their physical talent on the field.

Z.Thomas was the Ultimate Football Player. He made the most with the least given. His instincts were unreal.

I went borderline gay yesterday after that game. Me and my homie Horacio were hugging like a bunch of Jonathan Martin's, but no kissing ensued!

I was on her last week strokin Philbin's manhood and have to say he took his coaching to the next level this week. Going for it on 4 and 5.Using the timeouts before halftime and when his D needed a rest at the end of the game.

I think our players are starting to come together as a team. But I say our COACHES are learning how to COACH as a team? Philbin seems to be a true leader. I prefer my leaders stoic and without pom poms and fist pumps.


Does everybody see Philbin's vision yet and why #19 is gone(Mark using your way of describing players without giving them respect, by using their name) You have an offense full of playmakers that share and create opportunities for each other. You take out Clay, Wallace steps up, you take out Wallace, Hartline steps up. This is soooo important, especially when injuries pop up. I believe Wallace is finally getting it and realizes he plays for a team that succeeds through unselfishness!!!


I want to give my game ball to Mr.Ross. I am so happy his team came through at home in front of a soldout crowd. He really deserves it.

Did anyone else love that little fake reverse on the D.Thomas touchdown, that was great!!!


Haha, Marc ur a hard arse. That play was short by design. And he's been playing this way for weeks now and getting better. Told you a few weeks ago, by analyzing his trend via looking at his trailing 4 game perforance he's been playing elite football for a few weeks, not just yesterday.

Dashi go effe yourself. I had over 30 points on my bench, that's how you beat me in fantasy. Anyway, it was just a consolation game. So hang your hat on that. I'll be back next year, with a vengeance.

Marc,

I do like Tannehill (a lot), but he definitely has room to improve. He played at a high level yesterday, but he has to improve his long ball-> JUST HAS TO! We are keeping games close b/c we can't hit on these plays for easy scores.

Wallace has weaknesses, but he can get wide open 2-3 times a game to create big play scores. THill just has to hit him. He missed him again and then 2 downs later we're punting and giving the Pats the ball for a go-ahead score. We've gotta capitalize on those. Just have to if we want to beat the best.

But outside of that, we have a great qb in the making with potential through the roof. And there's a lot to be said for that when you look around the rest of the league.

Speaking of stopping the run.
Is Soliai hurt? Ankle?

rdubs, no worries, I went full Tom brady yesterday after the game too. I started tearing .. my wife just looked at me and starting shaking her head.

Rdubs,

I saw that play to Thomas for the TD and immediately thought they must have been keeping that one in their pocket for a big, big game. Hahaha...awesome.

Yeah, and love that shot of Tannehill and Ross celebrating. Biggest win I can remember for our franchise. But like Hartline said, it doesn't mean very much if we don't play well these next 2 games and make it into the playoffs.

David rothstein,

Do you remember, or did you have to go to a football manacles or something?


Greatest Birthday Gift Ever!!!

Give it up for Ireland to bring in Michael Thomas from the 49r's Practice Squad. It looks like Thomas has found a Home in Miami.

Hats off to Tanny, Clay, Wallace, Hartline. Mathews, Moore, and the Whole OFFENSE, and our Front Line, after all the Bully-gate BS, and especially to Philbin for his calm demeanor and support of the guys on this AWESOME Miami Dolphins Team, during all that Garbage!!!

Hope I didn't miss anyone - Thanks to all the Dolphin Players, Coaches, Ass't Coaches, Water Boys, EVERYONE ASSOCIATED with this Dolphins Franchise for making Yesterday, Sunday, December 15, 2013, THE BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT EVER - Beating Brady and Bellicheat - 4Th Down, 7 Seconds left to go in the 4th Qtr - Brady throws into the end zone and it's Intercepted by Michael (WHO) Thomas - Only with the Dolphins for 1 Week - Dolphins Win the Nailbiter of a Game over the Patriots 24-20 = PRICELESS!!!!!!!

Austin PhinFan forever!!!

*almanac

I'm bad! Rapporport says that Ireland ISN'T assured he'll be back! Sorry 'bout that!

Better at drawing than writing. Yeah, there are some People like that.

Did anyone catch this in Dave Hydes column regarding the offensive line. Do you see Jonathan Martin making these adjustments or suggesting?

The Dolphins gave up three sacks in the first half, and it looked like a repeat of the bad, old line that was on a record-setting pace of sacks through the first half of the season. That’s where the value of experience came. Dolphins left tackle Bryant McKinnie said the ever-resourceful Patriots noticed a small crack in set-up of guard Sam Brenner, who was “jump-setting,” or moving off the line quickly to neutralize defensive tackle Joe Vellano.

“They were running stunts so we had to address what they were doing and correct it,’’ McKinnie said.

The stunt was they were having the lineman opposite McKinnie, usually Chandler Jones, move to his left directly into Brenner;s, “earhole,’’ as McKinnnie said. As Brenner was taking a small step forward and McKinnie a small step back, that would create a fracture in the Dolphins line that a looping tackle or linebacker would exploit.

“I talked with Brenner to go vertical, to take a small step back to stay even with me,’’ McKinnie said. “I’d seen that done before, and that’s the way to neutralize it.”

DC,

You are feeling how I felt last week. I didn't make the real playoffs because I benched 20+ points. Watch out for next season. I'm going to sign in early during the draft. Good season though everyone was almost evenly matched.

I have to say picking up Tannehill and starting him didn't hurt either.

Agreed on your assessment of the Pats offense. Between the illegal picks and the constant holding from the line. They will always find a way to move the ball. At one point in the final drive Edelman or Amendola were jumping up and down before the snap and the refs didn't call anything.

Posted by: Rdubs | December 16, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Now THAT is a cool post. Thanks.

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