The Miami Dolphins had plenty of chances to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team many are calling the best in the NFL right now. But like we’ve seen so many times over the past couple years, they just don’t have what it takes to win the big games. Will they ever? It seems likely, but this extremely young team still needs to get better.
Miami hung in there with Pittsburgh. They matched Pittsburgh’s physicality. They played hard until the end and showed signs of a team close to reaching an elite level. But unfortunately for the Miami Dolphins, the team they played is at the elite level, and it showed on Sunday.
I was as pissed as anyone about the blown call at the end of the game, but the game should have never came down to that one play. Miami needs to learn to do the things that championship teams do. Championship teams turn redzone turnovers into touchdowns, not field goals. Had Miami done that Sunday, they would have won. Championship teams make tackles on 3rd down in the redzone. Hines Ward shook off Benny Sapp, made a couple moves, and got into the endzone on a 3rd down play. Had that tackle been made, Pittsburgh would have been forced to kick a field goal, and once again Miami would have won. Championship teams make game winning drives with 2 minutes to go. Miami got the ball back only needing a field goal to win the game, they didn’t even get a first down!
This game reminded me of a couple games from last year, the game against the Colts, and the game against the Saints. In both of those games, Miami controlled their own destiny. Against the Colts, Ted Ginn failed to make a catch in the endzone to win the game, they controlled the ball for 45 minutes and still managed to find a way to lose. Against the Saints, our favorite number 1 draft pick Ted Ginn pretty much handed the ball to Darren Sharper and he took it in for a touchdown. Miami had a 21-3 lead in the first half, and still managed to find a way to lose the game. This offseason Miami traded away Ted Ginn, but they forgot to trade away the tendency to find a way to lose.
Sure, we can all blame the ref for not giving the ball to Miami after the fumble, even though Miami came away from the pile with the ball. The reason the officiating crew didn’t bother to see who got the fumble is because a line judge came rushing in and declared it a TD immediately, so the fumble didn’t matter at the time and the refs didn’t even bother to let the play finish out. Once he came in and called it a TD, the play was over. Once reality set in, it’s easy to see that the bigger problem is this young Miami team just hasn’t learned how to win against the elite teams in the NFL.
There is plenty of promise on this roster. We have players, Pro-Bowl players. Chad Henne at times looks great. The defense at times looks great. Our run game can be dominant. Our offense can put up points against the best defenses in the NFL. But until Miami learns to turn redzone possessions into touchdowns instead of field goals, they will continue to break our hearts and lose. Until Miami learns how to put game winning drives together, they will continue to leave all us fans disappointed. Until Miami starts winning games against the elite teams in the NFL, we will continue to be heart broken week after week.
I have faith that this team will learn how to win. It could happen this year, maybe next year, maybe even the year after that. I’m sure the players feel worse than us fans do, and this feeling alone should be motivating enough for them to start finding a way to win. It’s not going to get any easier over the next couple weeks. Miami travels to Cincinnati and Baltimore. I know Cincinnati is struggling and we should get a win, but Baltimore is a team that seems to find a way to win, an elite team. I’m sure Miami will have good game plans in place for each team. I’m sure they will play physical. Hopefully, this will be the week that this young, promising, talented Miami team will finally find a way to win!