I'd like to kick things off here with a sincere apology to anyone who actually sat through the entire game last night Instead of participating in a fun activity such as carving pumpkins with your kids or checking out network television's abysmal fall line-up, you were treated to the real-life version of The Walking Dead on Monday Night Football.
All jokes aside, this 24-6 loss to the Jets was right on par with some of the beatings the Dolphins took in 2007 ... and I didn't think that was even possible. Tony Sparano and Co. get another year to coach, and this is the product they put on the field? The Dolphins looked like they wanted to be anywhere but MetLife Stadium on Monday night, and it's easy to see why: these guys have no identity on either side of the ball and just look flat disinterested right now, resulting in a style of football that is about as attractive as hot, wet garbage. Can someone please explain to me how it's possible to hold an offense to no first downs for almost an entire half and still go into halftime down eight points!? How is it possible for a team to be this bad in the red zone? Where was Sal Alosi when we needed him?
Watching the Dolphins get pummeled by the Jets last night gave me a pretty good idea of how Tony Montana's friend Angel felt during the chainsaw scene in Scarface. "Now the leg, eh!?"
Early in the game, it looked as it Brandon Marshall was actually going to follow through on his promise to be a "monster" by single-handedly destroying the Jets' secondary. He was also bullying Darrelle Revis during the Dolphins' first few series, and gave Revis a taste of the physical abuse the star cornerback typically doles out to his assignments. Of course, the real Marshall showed up just in the nick of time to kill us with multiple dropped passes in the end zone, and also allowed Revis to get his groove back by constantly inhabiting Marshall's space on every pass attempt. Yes, that no-call for illegal contact prior to Revis' pick six was terrible, and the guy is, after all, the best corner in the league, but Marshall should have given him everything he could handle tonight. Instead, Revis scored as many points as the Dolphins' offense.
And it was weird even when Revis wasn't covering Marshall, as evidenced on the play where Brandon teetered out of bounds while winning a foot race against Antonio Cromartie. Isn't this the same receiver who navigated the sidelines with cat-like athleticism and skill while in Denver?
Simply put, Brandon Marshall just looks like he doesn't want to play for the Miami Dolphins, and it's hard to blame him. However, if he's going to dog it in big games and half-heartedly fight for a jump ball at the goal line with Cromartie (a match-up that Marshall should never, ever lose, by the way), then perhaps it's time to start thinking about trading him. Notching 109 yards receiving is great and all, but who cares when you treat end-zone throws like they are the Ebola virus?
Defense looks worse than ever
As mentioned earlier, Miami's finely tuned, well-conditioned defense (and yes, that's sarcasm) completely fell off of the face of the Earth during this game. After holding the Jets to just 100 yards of offense in the first half (the majority of which was gained on the Jets' final offensive possession in the second quarter), Miami's defense just looked lost during second half, and were essentially bulldozed by running back Shonn Greene.
As for the Dolphins' pass rush, all I'll say is this: Wayne Hunter's absolute dominance of Cameron Wake tonight was a horrible sign. And while it was nice to see Koa Misi pick up a sack, it's hard to get excited about things that happen during garbage time.
Oh, a special mention goes to Sean Smith for the absolute worst display of alligator arms I have ever seen. Mark Sanchez couldn't have dropped the ball any better into Smith's hands. Miami should think long and hard about drafting a corner with functioning hands next April.
It's 2007 all over again
I don't mean to upset anyone here, but right around the point when Dolphins players were scraping Matt Moore off the field after he was drilled by Jets linebacker David Harris, it dawned on me that this season has quietly blossomed into the sequel to our rock-bottom 2007 season. Carousel of abused starting quarterbacks? Yes. A wideout corps that drops passes like they are getting paid to do it. Uh-huh. A head coach with the defeated demeanor you'd typically see in a stay-at-home husband who has just been told he must permanently ride shotgun in his own minivan? Absolutely. The Dolphins are a sorry bunch right now, and their sideline this evening could've been mistaken for a funeral procession. Tony Sparano knows he's not keeping his job, and his players know their team just isn't very good right now. And for yet another season, Dolphins fans are counting down to the end of the regular season instead of counting down to the playoffs.
A few closing thoughts
-If Miami does indeed end up with Andrew Luck, does that make the 2011 NFL Lockout an unofficial stimulus package for the Miami Dolphins franchise? Speaking of ...
-How awkward was it to hear the MNF goon commentators repeatedly mention the Dolphin-Andrew Luck connection? And it was especially pleasant when Gruden said it's not even a guarantee that Luck declares this year. You know what is guaranteed, Chucky? The fact that you won't be in South Florida messing with head of the next quarterback we draft
-Our quarterbacks should probably wear full Kevlar bodysuits for the rest of this season. Matt Moore had a look of pure terror on his face during the second half tonight. Prepare for the Revenge of Sage, everyone
-Reggie Bush came out swinging tonight, and then quickly reminded everyone why he should only be used sparingly. Daniel Thomas, on the other hand, looked strong in short-yardage situations, and flashed a nice spin move at one point. He's obviously not a burner, but I think he'll continue to progress as a between-the-tackles bulldozer