Miami needs to avoid the hangover that comes with this...

Lamenting the Call, Realizing the Truth

Dolphins fans, take a few minutes to gripe. Heck, take a few days if you need it. Yesterday’s loss is the type that stays with you as a player or a fan. A very close game came down to a call, a botched one no less, and even if it isn’t, it certainly feels like one of the worst ways to lose. Today we can identify with what Raider nation must have felt during the tuck-rule game. It was agonizing. And we’ll take a moment to lament that. But first here’s a little bit of truth. That call didn’t matter. The Miami Dolphins lost this game on their own.

Now sure, the call was awful. Worse than awful. And don’t feed me the line about the officials got the call right. No they didn’t. They interpreted the rule correctly. But they got the play wrong on the field and in so doing, managed to taint the replay, making it inconclusive by virtue of their early whistles. They didn’t get the call right, they blew it so badly that they had to resort to a rigid interpretation of the NFL rule book and thus took the game out of the hands of the players.

The Dolphins did force that fumble and chances are they did recover it too, but the Steelers say otherwise. Of course they do, did you really expect them to admit Ike Alama-Francis recovered it? Ben Roethlisberger maintains he had possession of the ball all the way into the endzone (despite obvious video evidence to the contrary). Of course Ben also maintains he acted like a gentleman in Atlanta last summer too so his credibility is severely lacking, but you get my point.

The Steelers said they had it, the media tends to agree. That’s it. It doesn’t matter that IAF was the first guy on the ball in the video and physically handed the ball to the officials after the play. It doesn’t matter that the referee is a Pittsburgh native who lives and works 30 miles outside of the city to this day. It doesn’t matter that if the tables were turned, and the Steelers found themselves victims of this call, that ESPN, NFLN and the rest of the media would collectively soil itself. None of that matters.

Big Ben maintains he had possession, I maintain Ben's a liar.

Because nobody else cares. The Dolphins lost, the Steelers won. The league is moving on. So should Miami. The Dolphins need to get over the feeling from that call and realize the truth. They didn’t lose that game on a bad call. They lost it because they couldn’t punch in touchdowns. They lost it because they couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities.

All the whining and excuse making about the call is fine, it did hurt. But get over it. The Dolphins should have been up at least 10-0 from the outset of that game. They settled for five field goals when they needed to score touchdowns. The Dolphins and their fans can excuse themselves all they want. But until they turn the corner and start punching it in when they get the chance to, they’re never going to be on that elite level. Nobody makes it to the top of the proverbial pile by kicking five field goals.

It should have never come to the point where the game required a goal-line stand or a turnover to prevent Pittsburgh from taking the lead. Miami should have never been trailing Pittsburgh at all after getting two turnovers inside the Steelers 25 yard-line in the first minute and 42 seconds of the game. Six times the Dolphins threatened and all but one of those opportunities ended with a Dan Carpenter kick. That doesn’t cut it. That just doesn’t cut it.

Yeah, Miami got jobbed on a call Sunday afternoon. But that’s not why they lost. And it only ignores the deeper truth when you claim that.

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  • Micheal Thomas Robbins

    Ben fumbling the ball is a lack of the Steeler’s ability, they should be punished for that. Your logic is fallible.

  • gman

    Here is truth. Never bet against the steelers. This pretty much summed it up for me what sports is all about. ratings and money.

  • Jason

    really this game is compared to the tuck rule, its not a playoff game Dolphin fans, you wont miss out on the Superbowl becasue of that play, you werent going to make it either way.

  • Ripp

    Hey Jason, just remember that the next time you cry about the Pats doing you wrong. You do realize that if it was just about any other OC in the league that was calling the plays this game would not have been even close. Miami was the more physical team and they lost not only because Miami beat them selves but Pitt also needed the refs help to win the game. It had nothing to do with Pitt being the better team. Oh yes and if you look at the replay you would see two steelers reaching under Alam-Frances in an attempt to take the ball away from him as he laid on it. That is clear evidence that he recovered the ball.

  • PennDolfan

    For me, the Dolphins lost the game when they had 3 and 2 late in the fourth quarter deep in Steeler’s territory. Instead of running the ball they went to the shotgun with split backs. They failed to convert and took the field goal. Instead going up by 3 points they were down by one. That shows a lack of resolve on Tony Sparano’s part. They had run the ball successfully like 3 times in a row. Instead of showing faith in his offensive line he basically said “I dont think you guys can get these tough yards in the trenches.” I like Sparano but when it’s time to grab the brass ring he tends to go into a shell. That’s not the attitude of championship-winnning coach.

  • CK1

    What you forgot to mention, is that over the past DECADE Pittsburgh has been on the short end of the officiating stick. Remember the ball Polamalu intercepted and ran back for a touchdown in the 08 AFC championship game? Remember how it was as clear as day an interception, but the NFL WANTED the Colts to win that game… Jerome Bettis calling ‘heads’ on a coin flip, and the ref saying he called ‘tails’. The Steelers win DESPITE the ref’s. I have a whole bag of these officiating atrocities against the Steelers, if you want me to keep going. And were talking about the Steelers here, a 6 time SB Champion… not the lowly ‘fins.

    Back to this game. Ben broke the plane, looked that the line judge, and saw the ruling as a TD. In his mind the play was over, who cares who scrums for the ball afterward.

    You can bitch and cry about the play for the rest of the year if that makes you happy. The play was whistled dead, end of story. It’s happened to the Steelers more than anyone wants to remember.

    PS. Remember 2 years ago, Brady acting like he got hit by the Raven defender, and on the replay the defender never even touched him? Now that is a true complaint.

    • Brandon Schuller

      Hey CK1… Do you remember the Super Bowl vs. the Seahawks? Memories of that game should help dispel your feelings of victimization at the hands of the refs. Phantom hold, phantom pass interference, plus a made-up call on Matt Hasselback. The Steelers were handed that game by the officials… so it’s not all bad for them.

  • Captain Checkdown

    I think that biggest problem in all of this is the offensive play calling. How come the fish never go for the kill? Your force a fumble on the opening play…throw the next one in the endzone. Your force another fumble…throw it in the endzone. Hartline fumbled and next play where did Pittsburgh throw guessed it the endzone. The play calling is too slow and conservative and Captain Chad Checkdown needs to grow a pair and try to light it up once in a while.

  • Patrik Nohe

    I love when people completely miss the point of the article. The point was, while it hurt, the call really didn’t matter. And don’t talk to me about the Steelers getting jobbed. The only reason Big Ben played was because Goodell went soft on his punishment. You want to compare two events, last summer Ben got off because of inconclusive evidence. It happened again yesterday too.

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  • David

    Big Ben states he still had posession of the ball in in the endzone and doesn’t see how the TD was called back. He also didnn’t have sexual relations with that girl, Clinton did. LIAR.

  • Fishstix

    Fishstix says:
    October 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Phin frea, I dont even read your post no more!! You are a major downer.!!!!!! No way your a Dolphin fan.!!! You would scre@ up a wet dream.!!! I think ESPN or NFL network should produce a Documentary About the worst refs decisions in N.F.L History. That should shed some light on how unjust some of their officiating really is.!!! And yes they really do flat out blow some calls…..

  • Ranadicus

    Yeah it’s real easy to stand back and say if they scored nine touchdowns they wouldn’t have had this problem but then there’s reality. The reality is Miami ran for more yards, passed for more yards and scored more points than the best D in the league has allowed this season. They to 58 rushing yards. Both teams came in with winning records and anybody could have seen this being a close game. If you’re going to suggest Miami didn’t play well enough to win you have to admit Pitt didn’t either. So any way you turn it the botched call still ultimately decided the game.