Just My Opinion: A Tough Way To Lose

Posted Sep 23, 2012

Some random thoughts and observations after a long, long game that ended in frustration for the Dolphins.

• It was very frustrating because the Dolphins showed on Sunday that they’re just as good as the Jets.

• Both teams lost their best player on this day, but in this game it’s pretty clear that Reggie Bush could have made a bigger difference for the Dolphins than Darrelle Revis for the Jets.

• It’s not like the Dolphins didn’t have their chances regardless. They were 23 yards away at the end of regulation, but had to settle for a field goal after three straight incompletions. And then there was, of course, Dan Carpenter’s long missed field goal in overtime.

• Can’t blame the Dolphins for trusting Carpenter to make that 48-yard attempt, but it must be pointed out that he had missed a kick from the same distance earlier and a miss is costly because it gives the Jets the ball at the 38. The point is perhaps the Dolphins should have been more aggressive offensively after Brian Hartline’s 41-yard grab gave them the ball at the New York 35.

• Then again, that’s playing results. If Carpenter makes the field goal, we all say it was the smart move not to take chances.

• Just like it’s easy to say to second-guess calling a timeout to freeze the kicker, only to watch the Dolphins block the field goal attempt. Of course, one could argue the value of icing an NFL kicker about to try a 32-yard field goal.

• The bottom line is the Dolphins just didn’t do enough offensively. The defense kept being asked to protect a lead and did a solid job until finally breaking late in the fourth quarter.

• And who knows how this game would have played out without the Jets’ interception return for a touchdown early in the third quarter. Yes, it was an ill-advised pass by Ryan Tannehill, but everyone knew and accepted that there would be growing pains for the Dolphins’ first-round pick.

• The defense came up with a couple of takeaways, including a huge interception in the end zone by Chris Clemons after a Daniel Thomas fumble that followed Tannehill’s pick. That came one week after Reshad Jones had a pick against Oakland, an encouraging sign for a defense that’s been looking for big plays from its safeties.

Jared Odrick’s sack in the second quarter was nice to see, if for no other reason than we got to see his Pee Wee Herman dance.

• While Marcus Thigpen has proven a revelation as a kick returner this season, let’s not forget the Dolphins have another terrific punt returner in Davone Bess. It’s Bess, in fact, who’s back there whenever the punt is going to end up deep in Dolphins territory and he showed his ability again against the Jets, returning a punt 10 yards after fielding it at the 12.

• We mentioned earlier this week the Dolphins winning the battle of field position so far this season, It happened again against the Jets in the first half. New York started its drives from its 20, 19, 18 and 18, and that contributed to Miami being up 10-3 after two quarters.

• Anybody notice who the intended receiver was on the Dolphins’ first interception, the nifty pick by cornerback Richard Marshall. Yes, that was Clyde Gates, the Dolphins’ fourth-round pick from last year.

• Interesting to see Koa Misi line up at defensive end in an obvious passing situation on the Jets’ first drive of the game. Remember, though, that Misi played defensive end at Utah.

• The Dolphins’ touchdown in the third quarter was set up by a tremendous catch by tight end Anthony Fasano, who leapt, caught the ball, and managed to keep his feet in bounds and he was falling backward. It may have been the best catch we’ve seen from Fasano since he joined the Dolphins in 2008.

• On the next drive, it was Bess’ turn to come up with a nice grab down the sideline. While the degree of difficulty wasn’t as high as the Fasano catch, it was tremendous foot work nonetheless.

• Tim Tebow got the Dolphins on a fake punt in the first half, but he was a complete non-factor otherwise. The Dolphins dropped him for a 5-yard loss the one time he came into the game near the goal line and when the Jets had a first-and-goal from the 1 later, Tebow stayed on the sideline.

• It wasn’t just Tebow that the Dolphins stopped in the running game, it was just about everybody. In short, it was another stellar effort for the run defense.
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