Sunday, September 19, 2004

Cincinnati Bengals 16, Miami Dolphins 13

Despite a late rally, the Miami Dolphins were defeated 16-13 by the Cincinnati Bengals. Read the AP Bulletin if you want a news story.

This game signifies everything that is wrong with this team's defensive core. I know people will castigate me for daring to criticize our heralded defense. My answer to them is this. Miami's defense did not play well when it mattered. I mean when the game was truly on the line. I've said the same thing about this defense for years. There are certain times in a game when the defense just has to make the stop. I began seeing it in the final 5:00 of the 2002 season finale in New England. I saw it in the MNF Philadelphia game last December. As great as these guys are, I can't see this group succeding in the clutch.

Now that my critique of the defense is over with, lets go to the more pressing matter. The Miami Dolphins utterly failed to upgrade their biggest weakness. This offensive line is worse than the one that took the field last year. At least Todd Wade was a high-level, established Right Tackle. Tim Ruddy, Todd Perry, and Jamie Nails were an experienced bunch. They were awful, so Wannstedt and Spielman decided to make a change. So what do we get? Wade Smith, our biggest liability last year, continues to get our QB's destroyed. Jeno James, Taylor Whitney, and John St. Clair frankly suck. Seth McKinney, our center, is the only decent player there. I don't care about losing Williams or Boston. The way our O-Line played for 3 1/2 quarters, no QB could do much offensively. At the games, it's almost impossible to watch the Line play. On TV, I could see crystal clear the ineptness of LT Wade Smith. Ends were blasting by him with impunity. It's astonishing to contemplate the fact that management did little to improve this glaring weakness. For that alone, people need to be fired.

Where does this leave the Dolphins? For all intents and purposes, this team's going nowhere. Two late drives doesn't change the fact that this offense is putrid. There is no way that the Dolphins can run the ball anymore. I can't say that I blame Lamar Gordon. Announcers were commenting that he wasn't hitting the hole. No matter how hard he tried, there simply wasn't an opening. I'd be flustered if I saw Smith, James, and McKinney blocking for me. This loss places them two games down in the division. I'm finally realizing that 6 wins for the season is a realistic expectation. We've got Pittsburgh, J-E-T-S, and New England over the next three games. I hate to say it, but we could be looking at an 0-5 traveling to Buffalo on October 17.

I have to wonder how long Wanny will survive. Clearly, this team had holes before Ricky went down. And news reports indicate that off-season turmoil, in part, contributed to Williams' decision to depart South Florida. Pressure will continue to mount for Wannstedt's prompt firing. Wannstedt was lambasted by fans after two 10 win seasons. How will he survive if that total doesn't exceed 6 for the season.

The first offensive play summed up the fate of this football team. Referee Walt Anderson put it this way, "False Start, on everybody but the center." See, 4 of the 5 O-Lineman couldn't keep their stance and execute a simple snap.

Maybe I can comment more tomorrow. Believe it or not, my original text was much harsher. I began writing when the score was 13-3 in the early 4th Quarter. I stopped writing after the Dolphins closed it to 13-10, and then 13 all. The close score doesn't change that the Dolphins are now 0-2 and are flawed in so many crucial areas.

Next Sunday: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers


Blogger Eric Cioffoletti said...

It was a bad game. I've never seen an offensive line that play bad before! Worst thing was, we actually had a good shot to win the game anyway. I'll be sure to write up my own opinions on my journal but I agree with everything here.

September 20, 2004 at 4:03 AM  

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