Andy Cohen: A 'Special' Victory In Many Ways

Posted Oct 28, 2012

What we saw Sunday were two teams heading in completely different directions. This time the Dolphins ended all doubts early, coming up with one big play after another and giving the Jets no reason to believe.

What we saw Sunday were two teams heading in completely different directions.

You’ve got the Dolphins, winners of three in a row, playing at a high level, getting major contributions from so many people. Looking so sharp, so poised.

You’ve got the Jets, now at 3-5 after losing back-to-back games to divisional rivals. Looking so confused, so unraveled.

Does it really get much better than this? What the Dolphins did Sunday was completely dismantle the Jets, further validating a season filled with growing promise. They did it despite an injury to Ryan Tannehill. They did it with defense, with special teams, with some nice pass plays and with a level of dominance that seemed to catch the Jets by surprise.

You went in hoping that the Dolphins could pick up where they left off before the bye. But this impressive? This convincing? A 20-0 halftime lead and it should have been worse?

This season is becoming an awful lot of fun.

Such a sweet Sunday for the Dolphins; such a sour one for the Jets.

Making it sweeter is the fact that they beat the Jets at their own game: high-quality special teams.

A successful onside kick. A blocked punt. A blocked field goal. This was a dominating a special teams performance, and Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff (for so long with the Dolphins) must have been doing internal somersaults.

Give Dolphins special teams coach Darren Rizzi a game ball. The onside kick, even though it didn’t result in points, was a gutsy call. The blocked punt was a thing of beauty.

Sharing equal billing with the special teams has to be quarterback Matt Moore. There were no guarantees early in the game when Tannehill went down with a leg injury. How would Moore react after all that inactivity?

Well, Moore did just fine, a clear indication that the Dolphins have valuable depth at the most important position on the field. He threw a couple of gorgeous deep passes and a highlight-reel touchdown throw to Anthony Fasano for a touchdown.

But I was most impressed with the poise and precision. He didn’t get rattled, didn’t make costly mistakes. It was obvious that the Jets weren’t going to move much on the Dolphins defense. So Moore played it smart and didn’t take any ill-advised chances.

See, if anything is evident about this Dolphins team after seven games, it is this: There are no one or two individual stars; this is a group effort if there ever was one. Each week it seems like it is somebody different.

Sunday’s performance was the perfect example:

Jimmy Wilson gets a sack and a blocked punt on consecutive plays. When is the last time anyone has seen that? Wilson is a nice player who just keeps getting better.

Marlon Moore stretches out for a 37-yard gain in the second quarter. This was no easy catch. For a team searching for a third receiver to step up, that catch couldn’t have come at a better time for Moore.

• How about Olivier Vernon? All he does is score his first NFL touchdown, recovering that blocked punt, and then blocks a field goal for good measure. Add his name to the impressive list of rookies.

And there’s more: Jabar Gaffney gets his first big catch as a Dolphin; Cameron Wake records another sack; Daniel Thomas gets a hard-earned touchdown run; and Chris Clemons adds a big interception.

Get the idea? The beauty of this team is the collective effort of so many players and coaches. The Dolphins are 4-3 for a reason. They didn’t back into this; they overcame the disappointment of back-to-back overtime losses earlier this season and simply got better.

Isn’t it time Joe Philbin starts getting more credit for what is happening? More than anything else, Philbin has added a combination of calm and confidence to this team. Do you think it’s a coincidence that so many players are enjoying their best seasons? Credit a lot of things. But start with Philbin. He was undeniably the right choice for this challenge.

Dolphins 30, Jets 9: Think about it. Savor it. It was sweet revenge for a loss earlier this season that so easily could have been a victory. But this time the Dolphins didn’t let a late field goal decide it. This time the Dolphins ended all doubts early, coming up with one big play after another and giving the Jets no reason to believe.
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