That was close. For a while there, it seemed as if we were witnessing the return of the Shitphins. With just 4:30 remaining in a game that the Dolphins had been leading in all day, Oakland’s John Lee Higgins ran a Miami punt back 93-yards to pay dirt, giving the Raiders their first lead of the game and giving Dolphins fans everywhere a massive pain in their ass.
But just as the Dolphins of old seemed to always invent newer and more glorious ways of losing games, this new-look Dolphins team seems to always find a way to win.
Chad Pennington came up huge in the final moments, showing his inner-Arthur Fonzarelli by leading the Fins down the field on a 10-play, 61-yard drive that culminated in a 38-yard game-winning field goal. Right after that, Pennington could be seen next to Miami’s defensive huddle on the sidelines, shouting something at the Dolphins defensive players. Probably something to really fire them up like, "C'mon y'all!" Whatever it was, it worked. Because the Fins were able to hold on for the 17-15 win, earning them a 6-4 record.
And what about Ted Ginn Jr.? Can you name any other player in Dolphins history who has gone from one extreme to another with the fans? The guy was the walking symbol for Cam Cameron's epic fail (“Ted Ginn... is a Miami Dolphin!”). Hated and reviled. Now he's emerged as a legit weapon. His first quarter 40-yard touchdown on an end around showed some serious sack. But what showed real cojones was his clutch 7-yard catch on 4th and 5 to keep the drive, and the game, alive (“Ted Ginn.... has balls!”).
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Yes, there some negatives to beating a crappy two-win team by a mere 2 points at home. Yes, their offense sometimes looks like it's being run by Andy Rooney. Yes, the special teams unit has been severely stricken by a chronic case of The Suck. Yes, they almost lost because they couldn't tackle the guy who shot Abe Lincoln (or is it John Lennon? Or JFK?) But they didn't. They won. This makes four in a row now. And now the Dolphins are poised for a huge late-season showdown with the New England Patriots next Sunday. Think about that for a second. Last year the Dolphins went 1-15. The Patriots, 16-0. Now, they have identical records and are facing off in a game that could help decide a wildcard berth and even the AFC East.
-- Chris Joseph