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Titans Send Dolphins Into Cardiac Arrest: Dolphins Lose 27-24

Ughh. Not again! The Dolphins streak of 6 straight wins under Tony Sparano in December was snapped today against the Tennessee Titans. The final score was 27-24, with the Titans getting the nod in overtime.

The story of the game in this one was the Dolphins giving up numerous big plays in the first 2 1/2 quarters.

Vontae Davis had somewhat of a disappointing game, going nothing but downhill after coming up with one of the craziest interceptions I have ever seen.

Davis gave up three touchdowns, two to Justin Gage, and one to Nate Washington.

More times than not, Davis found himself on an island, with no help coming from the free safety, Gibril “Smeagol” Wilson.

Smeagol is causing so much trouble for the Trifecta, and the fans as of now. Instead of just having the Dolphins going into the offseason worried about getting bona fide receivers, a homerun threat, and linebackers, the Dolphins now have to debate on whether or not they go out and get another free safety in this years draft.

I say we play Chris Clemons more, and see what he can do before this years draft comes and goes.

Our rookies are playing their hearts out back there, but are getting insufficient help from the safeties, which needs to change. Davis giving up those touchdowns on one-on-one coverage, was one of the chief reasons why the Dolphins lost this nail biter.

While the Dolphins secondary was getting lit up, the Titans secondary picked off three passes from Chad Henne.

Henne did set career highs in yardage today, throwing for 349, on 29/46 passing. Henne threw the game tying touchdown with less than 1:30 left to set up the tying two point conversion.

It may have been Henne who threw the what would be game clinching interception for the Titans, but please do not forget that it was also Henne who got us to overtime as well.

He may have registered 3 interceptions throughout the game, but we all have known for awhile now that Henne struggles with putting touch on his throws. Henne made all of the throws that he needed to make down the stretch, minus the interception.

Henne is our quarterback of the future, and the most help that we could give him right now is some time to develop, and some gametime experience, which he is getting now.

Henne got some help from Ricky Williams on the ground, who rushed for 80 yards on 19 carries, and a touchdown. Ricky also went over the 1000 yard mark early on in the 1st quarter as well, a milestone for a guy as “old” as Ricky.

Brian Hartline continues to impress me, as he makes gutsy play after gutsy play. There is no doubt in my mind that this kid from Ohio State will be a mainstay on the roster for a long time to come. Hartline finished the game with 2 receptions for 96 yards. Right now Hartline represents the only big play receiver that we have. Davone Bess, 4 catches for 58 yards, and Greg Camarillo, 5 for 46, are merely possession receivers.

The offensive line only gave up one sack the whole game, but the Titans were able to put enough pressure on Henne to force him to throw the ball before he wanted to, causing two interceptions. Jake Long, was tagged with a holding penalty, which was questionable, and Vernon Carey gave up the only sack.

Defensively, I was happy with the way our front seven played.

They limited Chris Johnson to only 104 yards on the ground, and 55 yards through the air. They did what they needed to do to stop this guy, which was not let him get to the second level, and it proved effective.

The Dolphins also held Vince Young to only 24 yards on the ground, which was a big factor in the game as well.

While both the offense and defense came alive mid-way through the 3rd, the refs also had a little left to say in the game as well.

The referee’s had many questionable calls down the stretch, whether it was penalties, or simply no-calls. Do not simply say that the refs had no impact on the game, because they did. In fact, I will go as far as to say that the refs cost the Dolphins the game!

After the third of Henne’s interceptions was thrown, Michael Griffin, the returnee, slid onto the ground to try and down the ball. Greg Camarillo came flying in to touch Griffin, thus to insure Griffin was really down. Camrillo hit Griffin a little too hard, but by no means full out tackled the guy.

Nevertheless, the zebras blew their whistle, and gave the Titans the ball on the 27, instead of the 42. That changed the game, and almost guaranteed the Titans the win barring a turnover.

“I was just told it was a late hit. There was no whistle, the man’s down, all his teammates are telling him to get up. I think he starts getting up. Either get him down or knock the ball out. Those are my intentions. It’s a physical game. It’s been a physical game the whole time. Trying to make a physical play. That’s what they called. That’s how it goes.”, Camarillo said.

Then, three plays later, on a 3rd and 12 play, Chris Johnson got stuffed at the line of scrimmage, for the third straight play, and immediately, all of the Dolphins swarmed around in to form a pile. Johnson was still moving the pile when all of a sudden, Jason Taylor emerged with the ball, running the other way. The replay showed that Taylor stripped the ball away from Johnson before the refs blew the whistle.

But, always in good form, the refs gave the ball back to the Titans, and never even reviewed the play. That play alone could have won the game for the Dolphins.

“I saw in the first half a couple of times when Ricky Williams was running the ball and it looked like we were playing rugby. They were tagging him for five, six, seven seconds and we quick whistle at the end of the game. the ball’s out. The game’s on the line. It was a quick whistle. The guy’s still running. He did it throughout the game, too. There were times when he was in the pile and kept driving his feet and was moving the pile or trying to bounce out of there. Anybody’s who’s watched Chris Johnson the last 15-16 weeks has seen him come out of those things. That’s why you keep playing. Kept clawing at the ball there. That obviously could have been a very big play.” JT said.

This game was simply too close to let the refs blow it like they did.

The Dolphins actually outplayed the Titans, outgaining the Titans in total yardage by104 yards! The Dolphins also held the ball for 34:23, 5:04 seconds longer than the Titans.

Plain and simple, the refs flexed their muscles today, and this Channing Crowder quote sums up the whole game:

“It’s hard enough to beat 11 Titans. You can’t beat 17 Titans.”

Despite the tough loss, the Dolphins still have an outside chance at the playoffs, and came away with some positives.

We now know that the Dolphins do need a legit wide receiver, and there is no better place to go address this need than through free agency. We also need some linebacker help, even though Jason Taylor stepped up big, and registered 6 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 tackle for loss.

Our linebackers are getting old, so an injection of youth can only help us. Jerry Hughes from TCU intrigues my scouting eye.

The Dolphins had some flaws in this game, and they also have some strengths. I’m proud of the Dolphins for coming back from 18 down to force an overtime. That showed me a lot about the grit, and mental toughness of our team. With the correct moves this off-season, and improvement from our young core players, the Dolphins could be one of the best teams in the AFC next year.

Let’s leave the referee’s go for now, unless you want to send in your complaints to the NFL? (Hint-hint, maybe that’s how I’ll spend some of my day tomorrow!)

Also, surprisingly, Dolphins fullback Lousaka Polite is not in the lead for the starting fullback for the AFC Pro-Bowl squad. Please go over to NFL.com and vote for this guy. He is truly the best fullback in the game right now, and we would not be where we are today without his tough running style. Let’s send our guy to the Pro-Bowl!

-Brant

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2 Responses

  1. I don’t know about the pick, but what about the Hartline catch.
    As far as Wilson, the guy has been hot and cold.
    You can’t blame for those 3 picks though, he wasn’t on the field for the one (Clemons was supposed to give the help over top). The other two I am not sure about the coverage. I know you have to like for Wilson, but don’t pull a Florio.

    • we need to see Clemons on a more consistent basis so we can get an idea of how good he is doing. He is more of a ballhawk than Smeagol, but is a rookie. Either way, on the plays that Wilson is in on, he should be helping out. I saw some of the replays and Wilson would be scampering onto the screen right as the receiver caught the ball. It looks to me like he got burnt. -Brant

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