With 2:55 left in the first half, Chad Henne led the Miami Dolphins on a drive filled with precise, crisp passes and some lucky bounces (Brandon Marshall's fumble at the Ravens 19). That would bring the Dolphins to 3rd-and-1 with a little less than 30 seconds left on the clock. The Dolphins then called their third and final timeout of the half.
Then came a short pass to Fasano, which fell incomplete, and in came Carpenter for a 19-yard field goal, which split the uprights to cut the Ravens' lead to 13-10.
It would be the final time in the game that the Miami Dolphins would score.
But from the moment they called a pass play for a 3rd-and-1 at the goal line, when usually you'd call a power running play or quarterback sneak, I knew I'd see Carpenter shortly.
Did the coaching staff feel confident in Henne's ability for once, when they haven't shown it all season long? Have they lost faith in Polite?
I'm going to go with no. They wanted the field goal, the sure points, even though going for a touchdown would bring a greater reward, a 14-13 lead and momentum going into the second half.
How surprising is that for Dolphins fans? Not very. We knew what was coming, meaning so did the Ravens. The Ravens D was more than willing to spot the 'phins those three points. A three-point lead is better than a one-point deficit.
When not only opposing defenses but your teams own fans know what you're going to do, the problem is coaching. The reason why the Miami Dolphins, whose losses have come against teams with a combined 22-7 record, have four losses this season.
Bad special teams doomed them against the Jets and Patriots. Especially the Patriots, who people already forget were being dominated by the Dolphins offense in the first half. But that game ended up being Henne's worst of the season. The Patriots offense itself only scored three times in that game--two of those scores were field goals--and their touchdown was a by-product of bad Dolphins special teams.
Bad special teams = coaches' fault. And to show accountability, John Bonameego was fired after the game.
But now it's obvious that the Dolphins have the talent, even the quarterback, to compete with the upper echelon of the National Football League. Yes, they were a bad rule (not bad call, the rule was correct) away from beating the Steelers, but if the Dolphins had put up touchdowns and gambled then that call would have been a non-issue.
Today they were out-coached by the Ravens. The Ravens are a team that likes to take risks. In a related story, both Sparano and current Ravens head coach John Harbaugh entered the league in 2008. In a more related story, Harbaugh's Ravens look to be on their way to a third straight playoff appearance, and the Ravens are 3-0 against the Dolphins.
Say what you will about Cam Cameron, but even after his atrocious 1-15 season, I wish he could've stayed on as offensive coordinator. As an offensive coordinator, he's never been afraid to take chances, something this current Dolphins staff doesn't do. He's also helped Joe Flacco developed into a Pro Bowler. Who knows what he could've done with Chad Henne?
Henning needs to go, pronto.
Now I know Henning still has his defenders, and I know the points being brought up will be how he implemented the Wildcat that first year.
Except you're wrong there, that was David Lee, who is a better play-caller by far than Henning.
The Dolphins have a cowardice problem.
I pointed this out the other day in my Randy Moss article. How the Dolphins needed a deep threat, and how Moss would've provided it. Many commenters noted that Moss would make Henning look bad and finally expose that play-calling is the Dolphins problem, which might be why they didn't go after him.
That tells me that the decision rested in Sparano's hands in the end. He should go too.
The Dolphins don't need a coach who can just make a bad team mediocre, like Sparano has done. They need a coach who can now take a mediocre team and make them great. If I'm Stephen Ross, and don't have Bill Parcells hovering over me anymore, now is the year I'd make my move. I'd keep Jeff Ireland, but fire Tony Sparano and Dan Henning.
I have a suggestion for who the next head coach of the Miami Dolphins should be. Later this week, I'm going to write about teams whose coaches are in trouble or should be in trouble and who could possibly replace them best. You'll see my answer for the Dolphins there.
But as for now, I look at this week's game and think of what would happen had they just gone for the touchdown at the end of the first half in Baltimore. Their refusal to do so is when they lost the game to me.
That tells me that Sparano and Henning need to go after this season, and I hope Ireland and Ross are willing to do something that this team hasn't done all year: show the intestinal fortitude to be bold and pull the trigger on it.
A Dolfan Diaries entry. Thomas Galicia writes about the Miami Dolphins, Miami Heat, Chicago Cubs and College Football on Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @thomasgalicia. Leave a comment if you agree, disagree, or just feel like trolling.