Loyalty is definitely underrated. Having people root in your corner when times aren’t going well is a blessing that not everyone has a luxury of having.
It’s very seldom that you find people excited for a game against a 2-7 team. However, anytime the Dallas Cowboys travel into your city, then the game automatically becomes a primetime spectacle.
In the midst of the pouring rain and then eventual sunshine, the energy was all over Sun Life Stadium. A lot of energy was on the side of the Cowboys as their fans were scatted all over stadium making anyone in Miami believe it was a semi-homecoming game for Dallas. You couldn’t tell looking at this Dallas team that they were 2-7 because as soon as the game started it seemed like Dallas was in control.
That control was never given up either. Dallas walked into Miami with a swagger and confidence the Miami Dolphins have been missing. Maybe it was because their leader and starting quarterback Tony Romo made his third start of the season. Either way the afternoon never spelled good news for the Dolphins and they were the victim of a 24-14 loss to a team that was on a seven-game losing streak.
With the win, the Cowboys improve to 3-7 and their only two games out of first place in the NFC East. As for the Dolphins, they now fall to an ugly 4-6 record and they most likely will not make the playoffs. This loss hurts much more than the standings indicate. The psyche of the fans in South Florida expected this team to compete for a Super Bowl, let alone a playoff spot. Now the realization from fans is that this team was fraudulent from the beginning.
This game wasn’t loss on the shoulders of one particular player either. There is enough blame to go around starting from the interim head coach Dan Campbell. Late in the 4th quarter Campbell decided to put the football on 4th and 6 instead of attempting to go for it. The decision was questionable but what was truly evident was how much this team kept shooting themselves in the foot.
During his post-game press conference, Campbell said this…
“I knew we’d pin them down there and our defense would stop them at three downs, and I wouldn’t have to use our timeouts, and then they would punt it back to us. We would score. We’d kick it to them. We’d use our three timeouts to stop them, get it back, score a touchdown, win the game” said Campbell.
Additionally, some of the blame goes to the signal-caller, Ryan Tannehill. Against the Cowboys, Tannehill didn’t come close to having a good game. Tannehill finished the game going 13-of-24 (54% completion) for 188 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. On a scale of 100 his total QBR was at 18.6, and his Quarterback Rating was 90.3.
However, it was because of Tannehill’s ability to run out of the pocket that helped Miami score their first touchdown with 16 seconds remaining in the second quarter. It was also his decision to air it out deep to Kenny Stills that cut the lead some more and make it a one possession game.
For as bad as the offense was for the Dolphins, the highlight of the afternoon was watching how well the defense played. One of the standouts of the game was cornerback Brent Grimes. The season has been a bit of a hurdle for Grimes dealing with injuries but against Dallas he had himself an awesome game. Grimes nabbed an interception that was intended for Dez Bryant and returned it for 17 yards. Also, he kept him in check as the only touchdown score Bryant was involved in occurred when Grimes wasn’t matched up on him.
Moreover, defensive end Olivier Vernon had himself a wonderful game as well. Vernon has had a bit of a quiet season after erupting for 6.5 and a half sacks in 2014. In 2015, his production took a bit of a dip but against Dallas he looked like the same monster we’ve grown to see him become. Vernon finished the game with five tackles and one sack. In the process, he also gave Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith all that he could handle.
Even though the game was filled with players defensively who stepped up to the challenge, their efforts were in vain because of the loss. Now, unless the Dolphins go on a six-game winning streak then they’ll finish for the seventh straight year with a losing record.
For his closing comments, Campbell spoke some very uplifting words.
“I look at it as we need a win badly, badly. As far as I’m concerned we still hold the cards. It’s all about winning. Let’s just go win. Let’s get back on track. Let’s cut out the errors, the mistakes that have absolutely killed us. Take away a couple big plays defensively. Just do that and we’ll be fine. Nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter. If we don’t win who gives a crap, right? We just have to win” said Campbell.
All the Dolphins have to do is win. All we can do is hope that they will.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter@DJoumbarey.