Andy Cohen: It All Came Together

Posted Nov 6, 2011

Finally, the smiles. That’s what Coach Tony Sparano has been looking for all season from his players and that’s what he got after Sunday’s 31-3 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Smiles. Pats on the back. A joyous locker room. Game balls. It has been a long time coming for the Miami Dolphins.

So close for so many games, these Dolphins didn’t merely end their winless streak, they did so against a good team and they did so in impressive fashion.

Where do you start?

The offense. The defense. It was all there. Big plays. Standout performances. Pivotal moments. Start a list. It’s a long one.

There was quarterback Matt Moore who played brilliantly, throwing three touchdown passes and looking in complete control the entire game. If this is the Matt Moore we’re going to get over the final eight games of the season, then these Dolphins will score plenty of points and have a realistic chance in every game they play.

There was Reggie Bush playing his most complete game in a Dolphin uniform. And Brandon Marshall holding on to everything thrown his way. And Anthony Fasano with a pair of touchdown catches and looking like a legitimate big-play tight end. And rookie Charles Clay showing why the Dolphins drafted him. And the offensive line keeping Moore’s jersey clean.

And that was just on offense. For the defense to hold the Chiefs to three points can not be overstated. Inside linebackers Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby played their best games of the season and the pass rush was relentless and the secondary refused to give up any big plays to an outstanding group of Kansas City receivers.

This was the game, the performance, we had been waiting for all season. This is what Sparano meant when he kept talking about the talent on this team and the potential of these players and how they haven’t given up on the season despite the disappointment of seven straight losses.

One win does not erase everything that has happened to date. Sparano will be the first to tell you that. But at least it’s a start, at least it’s a clear indication that these players have pride and passion and enough talent to beat a legitimate playoff contender on the road.

It would have been so easy for these Dolphins to get caught up in all the negatives and the fourth quarter failures and some of the heartbreaking ways they have lost football games. But even in defeat you kept seeing that the intensity was there, and how these players approached every game like a new challenge, never looking behind them, always straight ahead.

This victory over the Chiefs was their reward. Now, the challenge is building on the good things, proving that they can win back-to-back games, showing that the consistency and big plays they demonstrated against the Chiefs can carry over Sunday against the Redskins.

But at least now they have evidence. Now they have a game tape they can watch and they know what it looks like to really put things together for an entire game.

Now, at long last, they can smile.
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