The Miami Dolphins fell to the Cleveland Browns 13-10 on Sunday in a game that was probably the worst-case scenario for making an argument that American football is exciting.
While both teams' offenses did their darndest to lull you into unconsciousness, there was a palpable feeling during the game that the first team to screw up would end up losing. And that's pretty much how things went down. That team would end up being the Dolphins, of course. But Dan Carpenter kicked a 60-yard field goal, the fifth longest in NFL history. So... we got that going for us.
Nolan Carroll continued the Dolphins Defensive Backs Hands of Iron Tour 2010 when he dropped a sure-fire game winning interception that was delivered right into (and then through) his arms with 1:49 remaining in regulation. Then, with a minute left in the game, Chad Henne's pass attempt bounced off a Browns defender and landed into Cleveland's Mike Adam's hands, which he then took back to the Miami 2-yard line. Phil Dawson kicked the field goal as the clock expired, Browns win, slam your nuts in a waffle iron. The end.
What Went Right: The Dolphins defense stepped up and held the usually dangerous Peyton Hillis to just 57 yards rushing. Of course, they failed to cover tight end Ben Watson in the process. Also, they failed to force Jake Delhomme -- who had six interceptions before this game... SIX! -- into any turnovers whatsoever. Oh and there was the Nolan Carroll game winning interception fail. Other than that, hooray for tackling their running back a bunch of times!
What Went Wrong: Chad Henne threw three interceptions, Dan Carpenter had a field goal blocked, and the Dolphins' playoff hopes have gone the way of Abe Lincoln (shot in the back of the head? Um, sure). Miami is now 6-6 on the season, they've won a whopping one game at home all year, and the play calling on offense can probably best be described as "refried ass."
What We Learned: Henne's inconsistent play can be blamed on many things. But, in the end, it's both a mixture of atrocious play calling by offensive coordinator Dan Henning, and Henne's inability to stop being so gosh darn shitty.
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As it has been his entire career, The Robot is capable of turning in a brilliant performance one moment, and completely gashing it up the next. On Sunday, Henne turned in the worst quarterback rating of his career (37.2 -- which is bad), tossed a terrible under thrown pass to Brian Hartline that should have ended up a score for Miami, but instead turned into an interception, and threw two more back-breaking INTs after that. Henne's defenders will say he's handcuffed by the play calling. But he's had plenty of opportunities to shake the inconsistent monkey off his back these past two seasons. A 37.2 QB rating a week after a great performance in Oakland? The inconsistent monkey bit us all in the face. And then threw its poop at some guy walking by.
Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan continues to call great games. And you have to like the way Paul Soliai is suddenly playing a lot more like Warren Sapp after spending the first three seasons of his career playing like Mr. Magoo. And then there's Cameron Wake -- who now has 12 sacks on the season.
As for Tony Sparano -- he may still have a few lives left. But the animated fist pump celebrating after every converted field goal like his wife just gave him permission to bed a Victoria's Secret model needs to stop.
Next Up: The Dolphins visit the Jets next Sunday. Local sports talk radio should be a delight this week!