If as a Dolphins fan someone told you that after Week Six the Dolphins would be 3-0 on the road, with victories against two of last season's playoff teams, what would you have thought their record would be?
Me? I would've thought they'd be 4-1, at the very least they'd split against the Jets and Patriots at home.
But 3-2? Never. Such is the Miami Dolphins in 2010.
Against a banged-up Packers team missing their tight end and thin in their front seven, the Dolphins pulled off an overtime victory on the soon-to-be-frozen tundra of Lambeau, giving them their first victory against the Packers since 1994, so long ago that Brett Favre had his first retirement already. The victory was a solid one filled with good offense, decent defense and special teams that just didn't mess up.
Of course, the game wasn't without its flaws:
-A punt from Brandon Fields was partially blocked, thankfully he still got it a good 29 yards up the field and the defense was able to hold up.
-While the Wildcat was kept in the closet today, they did run a momentum-killing reverse with Brian Hartline, known for his speed of course (wait, he's a possession receiver and precise route runner, not a speed guy? HENNINGGGG!!!)
-Then there was the momentum-killing time out in the first half with the Dolphins driving and in the Packers red zone with a chance to take a 14-3 lead, which was followed by a Henne interception, then a psuedo-Hail Mary TD pass from Rodgers to Greg Jennings to make it a 10-7 Packers lead.
-Until Fasano's fourth-quarter touchdown, I honestly thought that the Dolphins really believed that the tight end was only used as a blocker, I even said so in this tweet/Facebook status:
The Dolphins are aware that Tight Ends do more than block right? I just want to clear that up, I know their playbook is from 1977.
This wasn't just a critique on the offense, but on the defense as well. For the last two years, tight ends have KILLED the Miami defense worse than any other position. This is why Keller did decently against the phins three weeks ago, why last season Dallas Clark seemed to catch everything against the 'Phins except the cold, and why I knew we had a shot when I heard that Jermichael Finley was going to be out not just for the game, but for the season.
In truth the whole Dolphins play-calling and their management of Henne has been from the '70s, when teams played more conservative. This is seen in every drive after a Henne mistake, when the ball is effectively taken out of his hands and instead they just try to run it. It's also seen by the use of the Wildcat at times. Thankfully today the Wildcat was put on the shelf, where it should remain for the rest of the season.
Despite my nit-picking of the Dolphins today, it is always great to come out of Lambeau with a win, especially against a team that many predicted would win the Super Bowl. The question of course is moving forward, can Miami build upon the momentum?
Next week will be another huge challenge for the 'Phins, a home game (where they're 0-2) against the Steelers. Honestly, I doubt they'll come out with a victory.
My doubt for Pittsburgh made this game all the more important. And apparently the Dolphins treated today like that. Maybe the season was never really on the brink and needed to be saved, but in so many ways, today's victory saved the 2010 season for the Dolphins. They showed that they could bounce back from adversity, both internal (the firing of Bonamego) and external (the various media outlets reporting that Henne would be benched).
There was even some adversity on the field, thanks to a bad spot on a 4th-and-1. To anyone watching the game at home, clearly Ronnie had the first down on the play, however, a bad initial spot, plus a replay that somehow was inconclusive despite containing conclusive evidence, meant that the drive ended with a Dolphins turnover on downs.
But fortune favors the bold, which is why this play was still a positive. Normally the Dolphins would've just gone for the field goal and been happy taking a six-point lead. However instead they went for it, they got it, but the referees said they didn't.
Thankfully the defense wound up holding the Packers for a field goal, then two Dolphins drives later, got a make-up call from the master of the make-up call, Ed Hochuli, after the Packers were called on an obscure penalty for illegal formation on 4th-and-2 as the Dolphins punted. This was the same drive as the Fasano touchdown and also Chad Henne's best overall drive.
Speaking of, Chad Henne might not have been perfect and might have made a few mistakes, but he still played well enough for the Dolphins to pull out the victory. He also led them on a few impressive drives, hence showing his worth and why he shouldn't be benched. Hopefully the coaching staff will reward his good play by showing more trust in him.
Hopefully this coaching staff will also see where the improvement is needed—within themselves.