one point they were a 3-7 dog on a dismal road to the top end of the 2006 NFL
Draft. Today they are winners of three straight and on the verge of getting back
to .500 for the first time since Week 4 of this uneven season.
their playoff hopes are still alive, albeit barely.
a ride the Good Guys have given us these past three weeks!
they go into Oakland,
not the best place in the world historically for the Dolphins, and they kick
the Raiders all over Network Associates Coliseum. Embarrassed them, really.
in what eventually could be viewed as the turning point in the Nick Saban era,
the Dolphins miraculously overcame a 21 point deficit in the fourth quarter to
stun the hated Buffalo Bills, 24-23.
two ships passing in the night, it is the Dolphins’ fortunes on the way up now
and the Bills, once thought to be a serious contender for a divisional title,
on their way back to their usual seat in the cellar.
now, most recently, we have the stunner in San Diego. The Chargers were battling for a
playoff spot, maybe even looking ahead to their anticipated match-up with the
13-0 Indianapolis Colts. The Dolphins were fighting for pride.
one single prognosticator gave the Dolphins a chance to win. Not one. Their consensus
prediction: a gruesome death for the Dolphins.
Herald columnist Dan LeBatard served up the topper when he predicted that the
Dolphins would “look hopeless and lost” against the “exceptional San Diego
I thought LeBatard was supposed be a hometown guy; not a shill, but a
Dan, how do you like ‘em now?
what we are seeing is a team that’s been laying it out there, fighting to get
back to respectability, trying somehow, someway to crash the playoff party.
odds are still long. Way long. Bottom line is that the Dolphins must win the
next two games (Jets, at Titans) AND
the Patriots must lose their next two (Buccaneers, at Jets) in order for that
New Years’ Day match-up at Gillette to be playoff meaningful.
to see Tom Brady’s Pats losing two in a row.
again, no one saw the Dolphins spanking the Chargers.
NFL can be an unpredictable game in December, when the stakes are high and the
real pressure begins to mount. Could the Bucs tag the Pats at Gillette this
especially with Major Tom hobbling around in a questionable state.
the Jets turn their at home Monday Nighter with the Pats into their own private
Super Bowl, similar to what the Dolphins did last year against the Pats in
trying to make something positive happen out of a miserable campaign?
stop there with the dreaming because I really won’t pretend to know what will
happen this weekend. I just know that this whole thing is fun.
is fun to be in Week 15 talking Dolphins and playoffs instead of firings and
the draft. It’s fun to see the Dolphins winning big games in December for the
first time in a long time.
have thought it when the season began?
along Nick Saban has been saying the Dolphins need to build confidence in what
they are doing in order to build success. He was right.
confidence is sky high now and so is the quality of play relative to what we’ve
seen from this team in 2005. Yes, we wish it would have come several weeks (and
why there will be changes this offseason. Major ones.
I expect Gus Frerotte to return at QB in 2006 because they’ll still need a
veteran they can trust even when they
draft a young prospect. Yes, I expect that they’ll go offensive line shopping
in free agency and in the draft. Yes, I expect they will draft a cornerback and
maybe a safety.
more but, right now, none of this matters. You dance with the girl you brought
to the party.
assured, Saban sees the warts better than we do. He also sees a team that is
fighting like hell, showing some of that resiliency, tenacity, and competitive
spirit that is a hallmark of all great teams.
sees a team that is not done with 2005, a team that wants to go out as winners.
see it, too.
Sports Illustrated’s Paul Zimmerman recently wrote, “How can you not root for
them? They've become a tough team, man. Big gutty comeback against San Diego, victories in
two west coast trips in three weeks. I don't know where this will lead, but
they've made a believer out of me.”