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Dolphins Comeback Falls Short (Again): Lose To Steelers

Well, I have no idea what to say about this one.

This game pretty much summed up the whole Dolphins season this year.

From injuries, to costly interceptions, to even early defensive breakdowns. The 2009 Miami Dolphins season was summed up with a Week 17 game, that was all about pride for the Dolphins.

In a game where both Chad Henne, and Pat White went down with varying injuries, the Dolphins found themselves in the game up until Tyler Thigpens last interception.

Chad Henne threw for 140 yards in one half, one touchdown and one interception, in one half of work. Pat White then came in to relieve Henne, who suffered an eye injury, and a hit that caused blurred vision.

White then came in, and did the only thing that he can do in this league. Run the ball. The only times White passed, he threw  incompletions.

White then suffered what many believe is a concussion, after taking this hit:

White was taken to a local hospital after being carted off the field. Fortunately, White was able to move his legs and hands, and now has motion in all of his extremities.

After White suffered his injury, emergency quarterback Tyler Thigpen entered the game to take control of the Dolphins reigns.

Thigpen looked to be leading the Dolphins to a comeback. After the Dolphins defense shut the Steelers offense down on consecutive drives, Thigpen threw a 34 yard touchdown pass to Davone Bess, to cut the Steelers lead down to three points.

Then, when Steelers quarterback Ben Roethliberger fumbled the ball, which placed the Dolphins in field goal range to tie the game, the comeback looked to be almost complete.

But then suddenly, almost as quick as we climbed back into the game, Thigpen took them out of it. A bad decision in throwing the ball into double coverage, to Ted Ginn, was intercepted. The Steelers then drove down the field to score a field goal, to force the Dolphins to score a touchdown to win the game.

The Dolphins got the ball back with 40 seconds left, but only to have Thigpen throw one more interception, to put the game away.

The Dolphins ran the ball 25 times, and scored only one touchdown, on a Brian Hartline reverse from 24 yards out. Ricky Williams amassed 31 yards on 12 carries. Lex Hilliard rushed for 9 yards on one carry.

What continues to befuddle me is the lack of interest in running the ball. That is what this Dolphins team is built around, and they seemed to ignore the run game the whole game.

When Hilliard gets 9 yards on one carry, normally the Dolphins would go right back to him the very next play, but now I do not even recognize these Fins.

They transformed from a team known for running the ball, to a team with no identity. The Dolphins have no deep threat. They really have no weapons for young Chad Henne. They refuse to run the ball. So what should our Dolphins be known as?

We went undefeated last year in December because of our run game. This year, we strayed away from that strategy, and we all saw what happened because of it. The team fell apart, and often found themselves in early holes because they could not execute on offense.

Granted, because of these early deficits, the Dolphins are forced to pass the ball, but not at the rate that they are passing. Today the Dolphins passed 30 times, and ran 25 times. They lost the battle of ball possession, 32:09 to 27:51.

The Dolphins are not the Dolphins team that at one point only had to win one game to take control of their own destiny to get into the playoffs. They are now a mystery team going into next year, and even though we all know what missing pieces the Dolphins need to fill, this game still leaves fans with tons of questions surrounding this team.

Perhaps the only tidbit of information is that this team never gives up. But like in this game, the Dolphins are just outmatched talent wise. They have solid players, and players that have certain strengths, but what it comes down to is that the Dolphins simply do not have enough star-power to even have a chance at the Super-Bowl.

The way I look at this season is this:

Chad Henne gained some massive game experience, as well as Vontae Davis, Sean Smith, Brian Hartline, and Chris Clemons.

We have a young team that is on the way up.

But, the way we played some of our games, we showed glimpses of what kind of potential we have as a unit, and at some points in the season, we looked like a true playoff team. But for the most part, this team is not yet ready, and showed it this year in the month of December.

The Dolphins could not come up with the big plays when the pressure was on today, the same way that they could not all season long. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 220 yards, 3 touchdowns, on an 18/27 day.

More importantly, the Dolphins defense, which looked perfect all 4th quarter long, got dismantled come crunch time, and allowed Willie Parker to run all over them to waste precious time off the clock.

This game was all about consistency for the Dolphins, and this game showed like so many others have, what the Dolphins need to address this year in the offseason. This was a game that the Dolphins never gave up on, but I’m sorry to say that the better team won. This years schedule proved too much to overcome this year for the young Dolphins team.

I have a feeling that this team will come back better than ever for next year, and really prove their resilience.


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