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Biopsy of a collapse

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  • philw1776@aol.com
    From ESPN s web site... Miami Collapse Point No. 1: Leading by three, the Marine Mammals had first down on their 4-yard line with 2:42 remaining in regulation
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 2002
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      From ESPN's web site...

      Miami Collapse Point No. 1: Leading by three, the Marine Mammals had first
      down on their 4-yard line with 2:42 remaining in regulation and the home
      crowd of the defending champion Patriots making so much noise you couldn't
      have heard an F14 catapulted off an aircraft carrier. The Dolphins spent an
      entire year preparing for exactly this moment -- when you must power-run in
      bad weather late in the year. Ricky Williams, acquired to give the Dolphins
      that ability, to that point in the game had carried for 177 yards. What did
      Miami do? Incompletion, incompletion, scramble on a busted pass, punt.

      Dave Wannstedt said afterward that he knew the Patriots would be crowding
      the line and didn't want Williams stuffed for no gain; it's a fair concern.
      But the two incompletions stopped the clock, allowing New England time to
      get into position for the last-minute field goal that forced overtime. Even
      if Williams had simply run up the middle for no gain for three straight
      plays, the Patriots would either have expended their time-outs, or gotten
      the ball back with most of the clock expired. Ye gods.

      Miami Collapse Point No. 2: The kicking-game errors that catch the eyes of
      sports bobbleheads are blocked kicks, missed figgies or fumbled returns. But
      subtler events can be killers, too. The reason the Marine Mammals were mired
      on their 4 with 2:42 to play was that return man Travis Minor spent several
      crucial seconds staring at a New England kickoff, doing nothing. Miami had
      its return team up, in case of an onside; New England kicked away. The ball
      bounced around close to the goal line and Minor seemed confused about
      whether it was a punt -- returners are coached never to touch punts inside
      the 10 -- or a kickoff, a live ball. As Pats descended to dive on the live
      ball, Minor finally woke up and fielded it, but was buried at his 4. Had he
      simply fielded the ball like any normal kickoff, the Dolphins would not have
      been mired near their goal line.

            Dave Wannstedt ponders the many reasons for Miami's collapse.
      Then, following the perplexing all-passing series, Miami punted from its 11
      with 2:18 remaining in regulation. Mark Royals shanked a hideous 23-yard
      punt, putting New England in business at the Mammals' 34. After the figgie
      that forced a fifth session, the Pats won the toss. Olindo Mare kicked off
      out of bounds, putting New England in business at its 40. Combined, these
      kicking-game blunders handed the Patriots about 50 yards of field position
      in the game's closing moments, about the same as New England itself gained.

      Miami Collapse Point No. 3: The Mammals missed the playoffs when their
      defense, ranked third in the league, could not hold fourth-quarter leads in
      consecutive weeks, including an 11-point lead with three minutes to play
      against New England.

      Even though it grates on every fiber of my being to see the freakin' New York Jets in this thing, after Jason Taylor's little discussion with Brady after the INT, it does warm my cold heart to read stuff like this.  Imagine that you're the Teal HC.  You have the best D in the division.  You have the best RB in all FOOTBALL.  Your QB commits no turn overs (thanks to Milloy).  You're leading by more than a TD and a FG with just a couple minutes to go.  And yet, you find a way to lose the game.  And lose the division.  And go home for the playoffs. 

      -philw (at least there's no 62-7 embarrassment)
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