It Ends Ugly! Ravens 27 Dolphins 9
Dolphins go from "All Hail Chad!" to "Awww Hell Chad!"
QB Chad Pennington on the bench showing the burden of four interceptions
I never saw this coming. The Dolphins losing to the Ravens like this is not what I expected at all. I was doubtful we could come away with a victory but the way it played out was so uncharacteristic of what we have seen from this team that I did not see it coming. By now it is common knowledge that our beloved Miami Dolphins got beat badly at home by a Ravens team who just relishes the Bully role. Miami came into the game leading the league in not turning the ball over. But uncharacteristically they turned it over five times. Uncharacteristically four of those were Chad Pennington interceptions, which for the most part were poor and ill advised throws. Chad is known as a smart QB and is known to take care of the ball. But there he was...forcing into double and triple coverage and making wild throws on the run. They were the kind of throws a QB makes when he is down by 34 points and is trying to force things to happen. The only problem is that when he was making these horrible throws, the game was still close and it was no where near the end. What happened? I am sure Jet fans will say "told you so" because their complaint about Pennington has always been his poor performance when it was playoff time. Wow...I just didn't see this coming and it is sad that Chad will get so much criticisim when he has performed so well for this team. I am sure he will feel bad about his performance today and take a lot of blame. He is a very good QB and he just had a nightmare of a game.
There is more blame to go around on this thing and I am not going to sling mud around on this too bad. Just enough to make sure that it isn't a dogpile on Chad. We have had a hell of a year and eliminating the Jets and the Patriots alone almost felt like a Super Bowl (I am not kidding it felt that good). But this game does bring into focus some needs for this young team and from where I sit this is what they are:
1. A legitimate threat at wide receiver. Ted Ginn was horrible today and his bumbling mishandle of a reverse late in the game squashed Miami's momentum and a scoring threat that would have made it a three point game. He continues to show us nothing. Teddy Ginn needs to be Teddy Gone. (take your family too).
2. Can I get a pass rush...PLEASE! The last five games (including this one) Miami has had virtually no pressure on the QB. Flacco had nothing but time play after play to survey the field, check down, check back up, check down again...until someone broke open. There is no heat from the defensive line and boy we needed it today.
3. Offensive line. It is hard to say how good this unit will be next year. We are without both starting guards. I do know that what we have seen today and in general is very medicore to below average play on the line. The Ravens got into the backfield and into Pennington's face constantly. The running backs have had way too few holes to run through and I can only imagine what would happen if they had daylight in front of them from time to time instead of having to make incredible plays to just get positive yardage.
4. More help at linebacker. Joey Porter can't do it all himself. Crowder and Roth rarely make plays. The can help, but we need another stud back there.
I will leave it at that as I think it is not productive to try and trash this team because I do not feel like they deserve to be trashed. Fact is that we have really played above our heads for many games. We have been a very good team and I will even go as far to say that today the defense played well enought to win. When you consider that because of the turnovers they were defending 30 yards of the field almost the entire game, they did a good job of holding the Ravens to field goals. In fact the defense had us in the game until they finally broke and gave up a long McGahee run which basically stuck a dagger in the hearts of the Fins players and fans. But at that point they were wore out and I think had started to give up the fight a little.
So the 2008 season comes to an end for the Miami Dolphins. It has been a terrific year and when I was at the game today I paused and really wished all of you could have been there too because today the Dolphins fans were out in force. It was the most amazing feeling at introductions when the packed stadium was screaming and waving white towels. The place was electric and it made me feel so good about the love for this team and the affection that the fans have for them. I was so proud of our fans and you guys were terrific. As I scanned the FinHeaven forums for the mood of the Dolphin Nation, I can see that there is already great excitement about what another offseason will bring and where this team is going. The atmosphere is not the same "suicide watch" that has been a part of the fan world here for so long. The fans love this coach, and they love this team. They support them and they are ready for more. And yes Mr. Pennington that even goes for you. We love you and we thank you for what you have done for us this year. We are behind you 100% and you are OUR quarterback. Let's get'em next year!
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