This slideshow will not consist of moments when you stand up in your chair and erupt with pride for your favorite team. It will not remind you of that time when you won that bet with your friend, and did the "I told you so dance" to him or her. It definitely will not give you closure on the Miami Dolphins' 2011 Season.
No, this article will remind of us of those times during the season when we sat in our chair, pondering about the organization and state of the franchise. This article will bring us to the lowest points of the season.
However, this slideshow demonstrates that even when our hopes were down, and the fan base (including myself) was just about ready to give up, the Dolphins persisted in their attempt to close the season with dignity and never backed down.
Let's take a look at the top five most heart-sinking moments of the Miami Dolphins 2010 season.
***Note: Check the top of each slide for the specific time when the moment occurred.***
Although the Dolphins won this game versus the Green Bay Packers, who would go on to be the Super Bowl champs, this moment reminded the fans of the Dolphins inability to defeat a majority of the better teams in the NFL without bringing the game to the wire.
The Dolphins were up 20-13 late in the fourth quarter as Aaron Rodgers was driving down the field. As the Packers approached the goal line, the Dolphins began to shut down the opponents offense and forced the Packers into a fourth-and-goal situation at the one yard line.
After a time-out by both teams and an audible by the offense, Aaron Rodgers was empty in the backfield in the shotgun formation. Then, the right guard lifted his hand, signifying that the trick play was ready for execution. Rodgers approached his offensive line, and appeared to be changing the blocking scheme; as a result, the dolphins linebackers met quickly to prepare for the new play.
Then, as the Dolphins linebackers were far away from the play, Rodgers snapped the bowl and sneaked into the end-zone tying the games with little time remaining: the Dolphins didn't stand a chance to stop him.
We, the fans, sat at home feeling as helpless as the players did as Aaron Rodgers celebrated with a Lambeau leap. Thankfully, Cameron Wake shined in overtime and helped the Dolphins pull out a victory.
You have to feel for Chad Pennington: you just have to. After being sidelined in 2009 with a shoulder injury for the season, and receiving a third shoulder surgery, two-time Comeback Player of the Year recipient Chad Pennington stepped onto the field in Week 10 of the 2010 season in replacement of Chad Henne.
Pennington completed one pass and then, as he was hit on the second play of the game, and second play of his entire 2010 season, Pennington reinjured his shoulder.
This injury hit the fans as just another sign that the Dolphins could not catch a break all season. Even Chad Henne, who played well as a backup, injured his knee and forced the third string quarterback, Tyler Thigpen, to take over for this game and the next week.
The Dolphins won the game, but gave up a lot of veteran leadership in the process.
This play made me say "Chad Henne is not an elite quarterback in the NFL, and never will be." Therefore, it earns the third spot on the list, because a quarterback is so essential to a teams success, that without it, a team is bound to fail.
Week 13 was a must win game if the Dolphins wanted to make the playoffs, and it seemed as if the Browns were an opponent that was definitely beatable. Tied, Chad Henne and the Dolphins took over the ball late in the fourth quarter. The fans thought there were two outcomes to this situation:
A. Chad Henne and the Dolphins drive the ball down the field and puts the Dolphins in a position to score and win the game.
B. Chad Henne and the Dolphins fail to convert and are forced to punt to the Browns, bringing the game into overtime.
Of course the dreaded third option, Chad throwing an interception setting the Browns up for a game winning field goal as time expired, is what actually occurred. Not only did we lose our pride, but we lost almost all hope of making the playoffs.
I hate when the Dolphins lose to the Jets. Growing up in New Jersey, the abuse I face from my friends after a Jets victory is unimaginable. In fact, the Dolphins beating Rex Ryan and the Jets three out of four times is the only thing getting me through the fact that they have made the AFC Championship Game twice in a row. Watching Week 3 of 2010's NFL season was very difficult to watch.
With under 2:00 minutes remaining in the game, the Dolphins were down by eight and needed a touchdown and two-point conversion. Chad Henne and the Dolphins were marching down the field at full throttle: it reminded me of the Monday Night game that occurred last year when Ronnie Brown finished the Jets using the Wildcat formation.
A long pass to Brandon Marshall set the Dolphins up nicely within striking range, and then on the six yard line on fourth down, the Dolphins needed a score: everyone was on the edge of their seats.
Then the Dolphins ran a play designed to get the ball to Anthony Fasano, a similar play to the one ran earlier in the game. As we saw the ball knocked out of Fasano's hands and into the opponent's arms, all hope was lost. The fans, players, and coaches knew that they would have to deal with Rex Ryan's arrogance until the next time we beat the Jets (Week 14).
OK, I realize everyone has a different opinion on this game, and I would be glad to here yours. First and foremost, let's describe the play:
The Dolphins defense was the dominating force in Week 7's, Steelers at Dolphins. The Dolphins often found themselves with great field position throughout the game, but couldn't seem to score touchdowns: Dan Carpenter went five for five on field goals. With 2:37 left in the game, the Steelers were on the one yard line on third down. Ben Roethlisberger ran a quarterback draw and as he went down the ball came loose.
The refs called the play dead before a "fight for the fumble" occurred, and therefore could not determine who came up with the ball. After further review, it was determined that Roethlisberger did fumble the ball, but the team that came up with the ball could not be seen, and therefore they could not change the play. The Steelers went on to make the field goal and win the ball game. This is where the controversy begins.
The ref stated that the ball came lose, "However, by rule in replay, two aspects of this play must be available to be viewed. Not only did we have to review the fumble being a fumble, we also have to have clear evidence of the (Dolphins) recovering the ball." Here is my question: how is it ever possible to have clear evidence of either team recovering the ball, if you called the play dead in the first place.
The rule is almost designed to fail. In this situation, the refs should have let the players continue the play as if a fumble occurred, and therefore determine who recovered the ball. Then they know if it is not a fumble, the team that originally had the ball maintains possession. If it is a fumble, they will know which team has possession. They simply cannot call a play dead if they see a ball rolling around on the ground.
In conclusion, neither team was wrong: all the blame falls on the refs. Many will say that there is clear evidence that Ikaika Alama-Francis recovered the ball; however, one must take into account the fact that the ref immediately called the play dead. Had he of let both teams fight for the ball, it is very possible that a different outcome would have arisen. It was a horrible call, and the Dolphins just fell on the wrong side of it.
And that's why this play came in at number one. The bottom line is if the refs made the right call and allowed the players to "fight for the fumble," there would be a different outcome to this game. I hate thinking about it. The whole thing sickens me. Let's end this slideshow already.