The Miami Dolphins entered Sunday's game at Houston on a two game winning streak for the first time since the 2006 season. Their two wins coming off perennial AFC powerhouses and those wins finally bringing hope to Dolphin Nation desperately waiting for some. Unfortunately, Miami ended the day 2-3 and in their familiar role of bottom dwellers in the wide open AFC East.
The truth is that although Miami led throughout much of the 1st half, Miami relied on two huge plays to take this lead and spent most of the 1st half with an all or nothing offensive performance.
Miami scored their 1st touchdown on a new wrinkle of the "WILDCAT" offense. Ronnie Brown lined up at quarterback, he handed the ball to Ricky Williams who was in motion, Ricky then lateraled the ball to Chad Pennington who had lined up at wide receiver and then aired it out to a wide open Patrick Cobbs for the 53-yard Touchdown.
Following a Texans field goal, Miami then got another long touchdown pass from Pennington to Cobbs. This time, Cobbs took a screen pass 80 yards for the score which gave Miami the 14-3 lead. Houston proceeded to kick another field goal and not much else happened in the 1st half until Jacoby Jones broke countless tackles on his way to a 70-yard punt return touchdown. Miami led the Texans 14-13 going into the half.
Miami went three and out on their first possession of the 2nd half. Houston had other plans, the Texans capped off a 78-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to the former University of Miami star Andre Johnson. Miami answered this drive with a touchdown of their own when Ricky Williams found the end zone for the first time since 2005 with a five yard run.
At the start of the 4th quarter Miami held the ever narrow 21-20 lead which stood until Kris Brown knocked in his 3rd field goal of the day, this time from 42 yards out.
Miami began their drive knowing that a field goal was all they needed. On this drive, the combination of Pennington to Camarillo made itself known as the Dolphins marched their way towards what they hoped would be the game winning score.
All looked lost for a second when Eugene Wilson intercepted a batted ball and returned it 19 yards only to be stripped by Camarillo—the ball was recovered by Miami to keep their hopes alive. The drive continued and Miami was facing a 3rd down and three from the Texans six yard line.
Ronnie Brown took the ball, stutter stepped around a defensive player and scored to put the Dolphins five points up at 28-23. At the time, I thought Miami would have been better served to get the 1st down, fall to the ground, down the ball three times and kick the winning field goal but instead Ronnie Brown left 1:45 on the clock and scored the touchdown.
The Texans knowing that they needed a touchdown and that it was fourth down territory from now on started their drive. Joey Porter who got another sack in this game to lead the Dolphins with six and a half made his presence known throughout this drive. Porter even thought he had iced the game when he got to Shaub and knocked the ball free and recovered it only to have the call be incomplete pass.
Houston on fourth and 10 looked to have lost the game when a pass from Shaub to Andre Johnson went through Yeremiah Bell's hands and was brought in by Johnson. Houston drove all the way down to the Miami four yard line and with three seconds left on fourth down, Shaub took the snap and sprinted in through the middle of the defense to give the Texans the 29-28 win.
Shaub threw for 379 yards and one touchdown but his two interceptions on the Texans first two drives of the game had the stadium booing him. Miami's Pennington threw for 284 yards with two touchdowns and one pick but it wasn't enough as the Dolphins slipped to under .500 again. Chad Pennington continues to show his accuracy going 19-26 and the interception wasn't his fault.
Miami now goes home to battle the Baltimore Ravens who got exposed by the Colts on Sunday. Baltimore is still unable to establish a running game which puts a lot of pressure on rookie QB Joe Flacco. Miami should continue to rush the quarterback and make plays on defense which will be easier this week because Miami won't have to worry about the huge wideouts whom have given Miami fits this season.
The Phins will again try to bring their record to .500 after seven weeks which would be a surprise. The only question I have is how will this "Wildcat" offense work against a physical defense like the Ravens who know that their offense isn't pulling their weight and must feel they need to play perfect football to win. Baltimore also comes to Miami with revenge on their minds. Miami beat Baltimore in overtime last season to win their only game.
I predict the Dolphins pull this one out 24-10 and bring their 2008 record to 3-3.