The Phinal Word: The Miami Dolphins vs. the Rule Book

Jeffrey RobertsCorrespondent IOctober 15, 2009

MIAMI - OCTOBER 12:  Receiver Braylon Edwards #17 of the New York Jets catches a pass against the Miami Dolphins at Land Shark Stadium on October 12, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  Miami defeated New York 31-27. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

The Miami Dolphins and New York Jets continued their fine tradition of hating each other by playing a very entertaining Monday nighter.

Really the only words for it was: couch-defying. As in, I defied gravity's influence towards me on the couch, as the game launched me off it with Ronnie Brown's game-winning touchdown.

I was like a younger, whiter, less athletic, less competitive, poorer, Michael Jordan taking off from the foul line. My six-inch vertical leap had me brush the heavens with ecstasy.

And now it's Thursday and I'm ready to start complaining again.

So let's do this thing (I promise I won't compare myself to Michael Jordan again).

The only thing I could glean from this game—that didn't have me giggling like a schoolgirl at a Jonas Brothers concert—was Miami's secondary and it's lack of respect for the rules.

Or it could have been that the referees were flagging Miami's secondary for even sneezing in the direction of Jets receivers. I'm undecided. So let's bring forth the evidence for Geudge Geoff to make his ruling.

In case you hadn't noticed (and it's all I noticed until Miami won), the refs were merciless in their penalizing of Miami. The Fins finished with eight penalties for 112 yards. They pretty much conceded a touchdown through penalties (and yet the Jets still couldn't win...).

Miami's burden came from the zeal that their safeties show for clobbering receivers. Yeremiah Bell and Gibrill Wilson each received penalties for hitting a couple of poor souls who dared to wander across the middle.

Now I'm no expert here—I flunked out of Gridiron U after coming to class dressed as Al Davis—but the call against Bell was especially questionable.

Dustin Keller went up to make a catch on a ball that was thrown a touch too high. Bell then went up and smacked Keller in the same manner a person would smack a kid's hand away from the cookie jar.

Bell was then flagged for pass interference for endangering the welfare of a defenseless receiver. For shame. On the flip side though, Bell walked away from the play more shaken up than Keller was. The contact was mediocre at best, but the call was still made.

I was a tad upset, but my roommates gave me some warm beer and I quieted down accordingly. So let's move on to something that has a little more bite.

In the second quarter, the Jets were staring at 3rd-and-10 from their own 29. Mark Sanchez failed to complete a pass to Braylon Edwards that was broken up by Gibrill Wilson. What a play! Nothing can stop the Fi...


Not on Wilson this time, but on Will Allen for illegal contact. The ball was moved four yards to the spot of the foul and the Jets were given a first down.

I'm not one to rock the boat. I take the words of the Hues Corporation very seriously when they say not to rock the boat, baby. But allow me this one boat-rocking transgression.

Illegal contact against a receiver has to occur five yards or further from the line of scrimmage. Inside those five yards, the defensive player can jam the receiver accordingly. Since the penalty was only four yards, this means that a) Allen gave a roundhouse kick to the receiver at four yards or b) that the refs blew it.

(Note: If I missed something here, please correct me.)

Since you're unlikely to see the foul happening from highlights, or even in the game, due to the length of Sanchez's pass, it's hard to tell. All I can say is that the refs were particularly unfair to Will Allen this game.

Let's fast-forward to the fourth quarter, where heroes are made, and where Rex Ryan starts craving a chicken-fried steak.

The Jets have a 1st-and-10 from their 48. Sanchez heaves yet another bomb towards Edwards that falls incomplete, a few yards ahead of Braylon. Can you taste that victory, it's almost preordain...


On Will Allen once again.

The call is pass interference on Allen for battling with Edwards and the ball is moved 49 yards to Miami's three-yard line.

Looking at that play, even the announcers (as biased towards the great Sanchise as they may be) recognized that it should have just been a no call. This still didn't stop them from praising the Jets for putting together such long drives (founded on penalties they deemed unworthy) right after New York scored a play later.

Clearly, there is a difference in opinion between the Dolphin defensive backs and the refs on what composes pass interference.

Now I realize I'm a bit tardy to the official-criticizing party (sorry Ray Lewis, don't hurt me), but some of the refs calls against Miami's secondary were questionable. And I also realize that's an incredibly strong statement (it's not), but it still says something for the state of officiating in the NFL.

Maybe Miami needs to rethink how they cover receivers. It's possible. The Fins defense has had trouble containing the pass all year and maybe they finally cracked a bit.

But it's also possible that refs just didn't know what they were doing.


Maybe they knew EXACTLY what they were doing.

We now enter The Conspiracy Zone.

Call me a fool, but wasn't Monday night part of the Hispanic Appreciation Night that the NFL was putting on? And wouldn't it make more sense to bolster Hispanic support if a quarterback with Hispanic roots (Mark Sanchez), won the game?

Could the refs be working to aid the NFL's new agenda? Can I ask anymore questions without coming off as a complete nut? Have you had enough question marks yet?

We are now leaving The Conspiracy Zone. Y'all come back now.

Miami had five pass interference-related calls made against them Monday night. They have a bye this week and then after that they play the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints, if you haven't noticed, sport a birthmark-adorned quarterback named Drew Brees. Brees is known for picking apart secondaries like he was a Canuck picking apart a turkey at Canadian Thanksgiving (which was last weekend, for all you crazy Americans). If the Fins can't work out their P.I. woes, they're in for a long day against the Brees-y Saints.

Just something to keep your eye on, but if it's not Drew Brees Appreciation Night on the 25th, Miami should be all right.


If you'd like to read more conspiracy theories, like how Bill Belichick is bugging your telephone, then go to The Chirp Show. It's where Geoff goes to cry. Now with podcasts!


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