Another week down in the 2012 NFL Season and another loss for the Miami Dolphins as the Phins were again beaten in overtime, this time to the Arizona Cardinals. Even though it was another “heartbreaking” loss in overtime, the game was in sense a victory for the players, coaches and fans that really watched the game. Several Dolphins had their career days including Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill who threw for 431 yards with a TD, and Brian Hartline who caught for 253 yards and a TD. The defense played “lights out” for the most part holding the Cardinals to only 28 yards on the ground and sacked QB Kevin Kolb 8 times. Unfortunatly little mistakes and turnovers lead to the yet another loss.
Miami has been under attack since the off season from everyone across the board. Players, fans, writers and analysts have been screaming and jumping up and down at the moves that the organization has been making concerning players. And rightfully so. Even though Hartline has stepped up in a huge way, imagine if Brandon Marshall was on the team. Could have had possibly three receivers with over a hundred yards in one game and more TDs. Instead Miami is proving they can do it with the personnel that they have no matter what anyone says. The individual effort by the players and the superb coaching by the coaching staff has proven that they can compete with almost any team, if they can only stop the turnovers. And for those screaming about Mike Sherman’s calls on the offense, remember that Tannehill is changing a lot of plays at the line.
On offense the Phins looked powerful and dominant while moving the ball all over the field with a total of over 500 yards for the day. Reggie Bush managed to rack up a hard fought 67 yards against a very tough D. Tannehill looked confident and poised in the pocket and delivered the ball with great arm strength and accuracy. He also accounted for three turnovers on his own. One pick was no ones fault as Hartline slipped coming out of his break and the CB was there alone to pick off the pass. The fumble was a great defensive play made by the Cardinals and was more the fault of the o-line. Regardless its still three turnovers. Not including roster space waste Legedu Naanee who fumbled the ball on his own without any contact on his only catch of the game. These turnovers along with little mistakes like the bad pitch to Bush were enough to keep the Cardinals in a game that Miami dominated.
The defense was on fire and suffocating the Cards in everyway. The running game got so bad they almost totally abondoned it in the second half. When they turned to the passing game they gave up 8 sacks and Kolb threw 2 picks to Sean Smith who also had a career day. The D was hitting hard and aggresive but almost over aggressive which lead to a break down in coverage which resulted in several big plays for touchdowns. With less than 30 seconds left Kolb connected with Andre Roberts for the game tying TD in front of two Miami defenders. When Miami should have been celebrating a win they were heading to overtime instead. Again little mistakes are what allowed the Cards to stay in the game.
The best part about all this is the Phins finally look like a contender again. The offense looks better then it has in years and the defense is as stingy as ever, at least up front it is. The secondary needs help, along with special teams who should have been there on at least one of Patrick Peterson’s muffed punts. Not to mention that Dan Carpenter is about to kick his way out of a job if he keeps missing clutch kicks to lose games. The main focal points for improvement are the secondary and special teams with the wide receiver position(Hartline and Bess can’t do it all) as another area of concern. Right now there are only 2 tight ends on the team that are worth mentioning so you can count that as well. Again these are areas that can be easily addressed. Miami has the talent and the staff to contend and make a run on a championship in the next year or so. A few minor tweaks, additions and subtractions and the Phins can go the distance. Who knows the AFC is far from being dominated and its still early in the season with an easy schedule in front of the Phins, the playoffs might not be as out of reach as some think