Yuck. Losing sucks. However, I am taking solace in watching the Chargers pound New England into the ground. Nothing soothes a Dolphins loss like a Patriots loss. One thing I've noticed today, expectations have skyrocketed again for this team. Yeah, we were 2-2 and Houston was 0-4, but everyone would agree they were the best 0-4 team in years. They had two freak losses, or else they would've had the same record as us. All the "we suck" and "we're garbage" comments are really depressing to see, considering we were competitive, hell we were ahead, throughout most of the game. Numerous different players stepped up and made plays, and there were just as many YES!! moments today as there was S#^%#$ moments. I thought the offense played extremely well, scoring 4 TD's, only turning it over once, good balance between run/pass, Ricky/Ronnie, and base/Wildcat plays. The defense, well, it wasn't very good. The secondary was terrible, but can anybody say they were surprised by that? We knew they were terrible, and we knew the secondary was Priority 1 in the offseason. Today just proved that. And 2-3 is much better than we all expected. I maintain that this is still a 5-6 win team, even if they can play like a 10 win team sometimes. I think we can agree that this team is still a year away, so let's enjoy this season for what it is, a rebuilding year, and focus on the positives instead of constantly spewing "We Suck" like we expect perfection on every snap of the ball. On to the Gameballs...
5. Chad Pennington - Once again, he's nothing if not brutally efficient, going 19-25 for 284 and 2 TD's. He did have 1 INT, but Greg Camarillo, Mr. Johnny-on-the-spot (love that expression, even though I'm not quite sure what it refers to) forced defender to fumble immediately after, and we got the ball back. Chad even hit the deep ball today, chucking one long on a Wildcat reverse play. You can say this about CP, he does everything you need to win a game, and nothing to lose it. '
4. Channing Crowder - Crowder tallied 13 tackles, 9 of them solo, and even knocked a pass down in the endzone on Houston's final drive. He's mostly a liability in coverage, but he was all over the field today. He was around every tackle, and made some big hits on the Texan running backs. He's never spectacular, but he seems to be playing better every game, and hopefully he can continue to improve and anchor our 3-4 scheme for years to come.
3. Joey Porter - Anybody who was in the live thread today noticed all the "Joey Porter, what a bargain!" comments. He showed up today in a big way. The 1 sack doesn't do his game justice, he played extremely well. It seemed like every big stop we got was keyed by Porter collapsing the pocket. And he was working largely by himself in the pass rush. Roth disappeared today, the secondary play dictated that we couldn't blitz, and Porter stepped up into the void.
2. Ronnie Brown - The numbers weren't as impressive as usual, but he shared with Ricky, who had a very good game as well. He totalled 50 yards on 13 carries, and scored the go ahead TD with 1:45 remaining. He also was a big part in the passing game, catching 3 for 43 yards. One of those was a 39 yarder down the sideline when Chad P scrambled out of the pocket. Well, scramble might not be the right word... Shuffled. Chad shuffled his way out of the pocket. Basically it was the same Ronnie we've been getting used to, just with a more involved Ricky Williams alongside.
And the Number 1 Gameball goes to... Patrick Cobbs? Yup, Patrick Cobbs. Now, his first TD was pretty much by default, he just happened to be the guy the play was designed for. We lined up in the Wildcat, Ricky to the left, Chad and Cobbs to the right. Ronnie hands to Ricky in motion, who flips to Pennington, who chunks it downfield to a wiiiiiide open Cobbs. But watch the play closer, and you see Cobbs sell his block beautifully before releasing up the field. The second TD was even better. After a touchback, Pennington hit Cobbs on a 2nd and 10 screen pass, and that was that. All he did was follow his blocks and sprint 80 yards to paydirt. Like it was no big deal. And our resident "who?" guy, Brandon London, made a huge block to spring him. Cobbs had the game of his life, so he gets the top honor in this column this week.
This week's Turd Sandwich goes to... The Dolphins Secondary. Let's face it, nobody expected greatness out of these guys, but to give up 379 to Matt Schaub, who was booed in the first quarter, and 180 to Andre Johnson, who should be triple covered at all times, is pretty sad. We couldn't cover the TE Owen Daniels, even though most of us were in agreement that he stinks. In a nutshell, the Secondary was terrible. I expected them to be up and down, and today was definitely down. We need some playmakers back there, and we need some corners that can at least cover slants and curls.
Thanks for reading, as usual, you can skewer my choices below.