Posted 22 September 2009 - 09:53 AM
Peter King summarizes beautifully what I was talking about:But even a plan this intelligently neo-conservative needs some guts, and Henning's ultra-safe call with 4:33 left in a 20-20 game was just plain wrong. Miami had the ball at Indy's 30. Third-and-six. Be Henning for a second. Think.• If the Dolphins convert here, they get to cut more time off the clock, and maybe the Colts have to start using their three timeouts, and maybe Peyton Manning gets the ball back with less than two minutes left, needing a field goal or touchdown to tie or win. Or, if the Dolphins can get two more first downs before kicking a field goal or scoring a touchdown, the clock could bleed down to zero and Miami will have won without letting Manning have another possession.• Think of the previous third-and-five-yards-or-longer snaps for the Dolphins. In inverse order, here are the five in the second half that preceded this playcall: Third-and-seven, 21-yard pass to Ted Ginn; first down. Third-and-five, 15-yard pass to Ginn; first down. Third-and-six, seven-yard pass to Ginn; first down. Third-and-seven, incomplete pass to Ronnie Brown. Third-and-five, 10-yard pass to Ginn; first down. All five were passes. Pennington completed four of them, all first-down conversions.• If Pennington throws an incompletion, kicker Dan Carpenter has a 48-yard field-goal attempt. Carpenter's a second-year kicker; his career-long is 50, and so far on the evening, he's hit 45- and 44-yard kicks and missed wide-right on a 49-yarder. Running but not converting the third down could make it a slightly shorter kick.Henning called for a run by Brown behind the left side of the line, behind guard Justin Smiley and franchise tackle Jake Long. But the play gained only three yards. Miami settled for a Carpenter field goal from 45 yards out to take a 23-20 lead with 3:55 to play.An eternity for Manning.It took Manning 32 seconds to go 80 yards, thanks to the 48-yard catch-and-run by Pierre Garcon, the replacement for Anthony Gonzalez. That made it 27-23, and the Dolphins couldn't score in the last 3:18, so that was the final.Just as I have to believe Erhardt would have let Jeff Hostetler try to hit Ottis Anderson in the flat or Mark Ingram on a short curl in a similar situation 19 years ago, I have to think Henning is kicking himself today. He has to be. You have one of the play-it-safest quarterbacks in recent times behind center, and you don't choose to put the ball in his hands. Instead, you choose to put the ball in Manning's hands, with enough time for him to score three times. A big, big mistake. A year ago, Miami started 0-2 but rebounded to win 11 of its last 14 and win the AFC East. The difference between then and now: The Dolphins had the Wildcat to unveil, and used it to help whip the Patriots and Chargers in the next two games. What element of surprise does this team have now? A year ago, Miami had the soft midsection of a schedule (Buffalo, Denver, Seattle, Oakland) to run off a winning streak. Now, in the next six games, it has: at San Diego, Buffalo, Jets, Saints, at Jets, at New England. Can the Dolphins go 4-2 against that slate to right the ship and get in playoff contention? I'm thinking no.
"Give a little bit.....give a little bit of your chips to me...."