M.I.A.: The Miami Dolphins' Return Game
I don't think I've ever been more scared to watch football than I am to watch this Sunday.
And it's not because my TV is situated on an Indian burial ground. Because that's just not the correct term (it's Native American, no?).
It's because I'm afraid the Miami Dolphins are irrevocably terrible. And the evidence is quickly mounting.
The offense is in disarray (except you, Ronnie Brown, you are very much in array) and the defense couldn't slow down opposing receivers with a clever riddle and a baseball bat.
With that said, how in Dan Marino's name are the Miami Dolphins going to win this weekend? Divine intervention? An asteroid striking the Bills' team bus? Tony Sparano calls The Annexation of Puerto Rico?
Oh wait, they're playing the Buffalo Bills? Hmm. This game just went from "terrifying" to "terrifyingly winnable." And that's no insult to Buffalo, it's just that the Bills have a tendency to sniff out defeat like a pig does truffles.
So if Miami has half an offense and half a defense, is that enough to beat the chronically blowing-it Bills?
Am I forgetting something?
I left the stove on?
No wait, special teams.
Has anyone seen Miami's special teams? Have I gone blind?
In case you hadn't noticed (wake up, sleepy head), Miami hasn't been getting a whole lot of support from their specialty teams. In fact, the offense should be trying to garnish the kickoff return team's wages to buy babyfood for the horrifying love-child that is Miami's average starting field position.
On kickoffs, Miami is averaging 20.7 yards a return (between Patrick Cobbs and Ted Ginn), good for 27th in the NFL. Their longest kick return? Twenty-five yards. I know they've been lacking explosiveness, but this is like trying to split the atom with a cherry bomb.
What about punt returns? What you don't want to know? Come on.
Miami is averaging seven yards a punt return (all by Davone Bess)—20th in the league. Miami's longest punt return is a paltry nine yards. And they've also only taken a single fair catch (and have only four returns total), making them as potent on punt return as a de-venomed cobra at a mongoose convention. Wow, that was a reach.
Fortunately, Miami covers kicks like a 20-something gold-digger does with her 80-year-old husband's life insurance.
Opponents are only averaging 17.1 yards a kick return and 6.9 yards on punt returns against Miami. So, in essence, Miami is holding opponents to Miami-esque numbers. Cosmic.
You should also note the absence of one stat in the above sspiel: Touchdowns. When was the last time Miami scored a touchdown on a kick or punt return?
And yes, that was the same 2007 wherein the Fins went 1-15. Thankfully, Ted Ginn scored an 87-yard punt return for a touchdown. Otherwise that season could have been embarrassing, eh, Cam Cameron?
My point is this: Miami could really use a hand from their special teams (particularly their return teams) this week.
Chad Henne is making his first career start. How great would it be for the guy if he could start a drive on the opponents' side of the field? It's the perfect gift from a squad that hasn't had a touchdown return in too long.
Also, as yet another jab at the Buffalo faithful, let us not forget the way to beat the Buffalo Bills.
I'm sorry, Buffalo (Muahahahahahahaha).
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