We Came, We Tailgated, We Conquered. What’s Next?
Before we look ahead at things to come, let’s first revel in the glory of a truly epic victory over the Jets. Rex Ryan must be sweating as his seat grows ever hotter. Perhaps even more epic than the victory itself was the event put on by Dolfans NYC – Michelle and Igor, Curtis, and all those involved with the tailgate committee – a big thank you from all who were there. Phin Nation took note, from the publicity we saw heading into the game, to the increase in membership on the Facebook page. Let’s not forget that Mr. Stephen Ross, Mike Dee, Nat Moore, Fergie and a host of Dolphin cheerleaders turned up at the tailgate as well, proving once again that the Dolphin fan base and the organization are the best in the league. Just so sweet to top it off with such a one-sided victory.
Right – this Sunday, the Dolphins head to Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Colts. Like the Dolphins, many pundits did not expect much from a team that finished in last place with their talisman QB. Seemingly landing the most coveted QB in college football would not be enough to get them back on track, but just like the Dolphins, the Colts currently hold a 4-3 record. Luck has been as good as advertised, throwing 280 yards a game. To give you a comparison here, his rookie year should and will turn out much better than his predecessor. Reggie Wayne has been the go-to guy throughout Luck’s season, catching 108 yards a game – a league best. Their defense is a capable unit: in the Colts, we have a perfect example as to why having decent QB play is so crucial for the success of a team. It isn’t just that Peyton Manning was so good, though that has a large part to do with it, it is more that Curtis Painter was so bad, the Colts were never really as bad as they appeared to be last year and, in many respects, I think that people underestimated how good many of the players on that roster still were. Enter Andrew Luck, and we have a revitalized Colts team ready to compete for a playoff spot.
The same is true for the Dolphins. During the Henne years we suffered through poor QB play and, I don’t want to harp on about it, but poor coaching. Be it Parcell’s influence to Sporano’s inept style, what we always had was a good football team. Now the Philbin era has started, and a new culture has been set. Gone are the egos; what’s left is a group of players hungry for wins, not just personal stats. Hard Knocks seemed to show a team in turmoil but, ultimately, when you edit the tape on the cutting room floor, you can make any organization look bad. if it’s good for ratings, who cares? Truth of the matter is, this now appears to be a very cohesive team. Every facet of our game is getting better by the week, we were undefeated through the month of October where the Dolphins put on a clinic. Our defense is arguable one of the best in the league, definitely of championship calibre. Our special teams have been phenomenal as of late, and our offense keeps ticking along. Tannehill has made great strides every time he steps out onto the field, and with his improved QB play, everyone else has gotten better right alongside him.
Tannehill has been practicing following his exit from the Jets game. Had the situation required it, he himself felt like he could have returned in that game. I expect Tannehill to play. I am not worried, however, should he sit this one out. Moore proved once again that he can get the job done. Moore was my pick for starter heading into pre-season, he rounded out 2011 in great style and deservingly won the team’s MVP. But following a poor pre-season and decent play from a top ten draft pick, Moore found himself relegated to the sideline. He had lost his starting job to Jimmy Clausen at the Panthers, also following a poor start to that campaign. Maybe Moore is at his best at number 2… either way, I am glad that we have him, as he expertly conducted the remainder of the Jets clash to seal a great victory and keep our winning streak going. He certainly seems to have the respect of the team, and as such, for the first time in a long time Dolphins’ fans can feel like not only do we have decent play at the QB position, we have legitimate depth as well.
My hopes of a bright, sunny future are higher each week, so I’m going to go ahead and say it: Luck vs. Tannehill this Sunday might be the beginning of a new and great rivalry of dominating QB’s, the likes of which will draw comparisons to Manning vs. Brady. Okay, I am getting a little ahead of myself here, but this is going to be a great one. A lot is riding on this, for two teams that were expected to fail, both at 4-3, both with rookie QB’s taken in the top 10 of the draft. This is going to be one of the more meaningful contests on Sunday.
I’m going to give the Dolphins the edge – the Colts’ offense has been good, but our defense has been truly great. Our special teams has been better also. The Dolphins are a good road team, and although they won’t get the same kind of support in Indy as they did in New York, this is a team with all the tools needed to extend this four-game winning streak.