Miami Dolphins fans have it rough. Their team overcame too many obstacles to have head coach Joe Philbin blow it for them.
But that's exactly what happened.
Of course, more than one play determines who wins and loses. However, there is always a turning point where things become irreversible. Like Philbin nullifying his special teams' field-goal block by calling a timeout.
The Dolphins had battled through plenty of adversity to keep themselves in the game.
League-leading rusher Reggie Bush went down with a knee injury, and Ryan Tannehill looked every bit the rookie that he is, completing just 16 of 36 attempts for a harmless 196 yards. He also made one costly mistake—an interception that was taken to the house by New York Jets' safety LaRon Landry.
Yet, Miami kept fighting.
They rolled up 185 rushing yards and limited the Jets to just 88 yards on the ground. Tannehill responded by putting together a fourth-quarter drive to set up the game-tying field goal.
But it was all for naught.
The Jets drove down the field in overtime and lined up for the game-winner. Just as Nick Folk was about to attempt the kick, Philbin rushed in to call a timeout. The players didn't get the memo and played on anyways, with Randy Starks charging through the line for what appeared to be the game-saving block.
Philbin's move was that of a rookie head coach. This formerly en vogue move has been proven to do more harm than good. These kickers are professionals. Allowing them an extra minute to collect their thoughts is counterintuitive to winning football. Sure, they're humans, but if they couldn't handle the pressure, they'd be out of jobs.
Not to mention, Nick Folk hadn't missed a kick on the day.
If anything, the bush-league ploy cost Miami's special teams more than it did New York's place-kicking unit. The kicking team only needs to keep the defenders from breaking through the line. The bulk of the effort comes from the kick-blocking unit, which has to again muster the energy to break through.
Philbin will take a pounding in the media this week. He'll probably have to deal with the ire of his players.
But he'd better learn from this mistake. Or, eventually, he'll be the one looking for a job.
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