As losses go, last night's 31-23 defeat at the hands of the New York Jets was particularly painful. Not just because it was a crappy way for the Fins to open their season at home. But also because the floodgates of troglodytic hubris have now been opened as Jets fans will surely begin to beat their chests and proclaim with all certainty that they're going to win the next eighteen Super Bowls. Thanks a lot, Dolphins. Jerks.
What Went Right: The Dolphins offense, which at times this season has played football like an old man pees, finally got things rolling. The offense put up 445-total yards, including a career-high 363 yards passing for Chad Henne. Brandon Marshall absolutely ate up the Jets secondary, catching 10 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown, while Davone Bess and Brian Hartline finished the night with 86 and 84 yards respectively. Yahtzee!
What Went Wrong: The defense, which came into the week raving about "feeding the wolf" and asking fans to howl like a wolf, and went all nuts with the whole wolf motif, got steamrolled by Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense to the tune of 403-total yards and four touchdowns. Sanchez never felt any pressure, as we pointed out should be the case in our Keys to Victory. And the D failed to register any turnovers after forcing four last week. The wolf ate and then basically vomited all over itself. Apparently, it had been fed some bad pre-game Tai.
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What We Learned:
1. Getting Back To What Works: The defense came up large in the first two games of the season with exotic blitzes, putting pressure on the quarterback and creating turnovers. When the defense dictates the flow of the game, it's been unicorns and rainbows. Instead of going with what's given them their mojo in the team's first two wins this season, they sat back and dared Sanchez to beat them. He did. Sad trombone sounds.
2. The Wildcat needs to go find itself a hole in the ground and die a slow horrible death: The Wildcat was once the darling of the Dolphins offense, the formation teams couldn't figure out. It was a big giant bag of Surprise! for every opposing defense. Now it's just become a big giant bag of shit for the Dolphins offense. The formation has failed to produce anything of value lately. And last night's loss could easily be blamed on offensive coordinator Dan Henning's insistence on going with it. It's become a momentum killer. A down-waster. It has lost all its appeal. Yet Henning continues to use it, taking the ball out of Chad Henne's hands. The Wildcat is like when your uncle Jack would get drunk at the family picnic when you were a kid. It used to be funny and endearing. But now that you're an adult, uncle Jack's drunken antics are no longer fun. They're just sad. And a little racist.
Next Up: We go from one obnoxious fanbase to another, as the Dolphins host Monday Night Football and the New England Patriots next week. The Patriots defense has shown it can be scored on. So the Dolphins offense needs to take last night's performance and let the momentum carry them into another big night. Until, of course, Dan Henning kills the momentum by calling the Wildcat.