This has been quite a half-season, hasn't it? I bet it would be hard to find many Dolphin fans who honestly thought this team would be 4-4 and just one game back from the division lead at the midway point. But that's why they play the games, I suppose.
And with this being one of the more memorable and more fun first halves in recent memory, let's take a deep breathe and look back at these 8 games - giving out a little hardware. Well, imaginary hardware, that is.
Team MVP: Chad Pennington
There's a few players who could be considered for this award. But when you're talking about the most valuable player to this team's success, you have to top the list with Chad Pennington. No individual player has meant more. Pennington has come in here and stabilized the quarterback position. He's playing the best football we've seen from a Dolphin QB since Dan Marino. His stats alone are impressive - 1,991 passing yards (7th in NFL), 8.2 yards per attempt (4th), 95.2 rating (7th) - but his poise and leadership have been simply priceless. And if you really want to think about what Pennington has meant to this team, all you have to do is think about where this team might be right now if the Dolphins hadn't acquired Pennington back in August.
Honorable Mention: Joey Porter, Ronnie Brown
Offensive Player of the Half: Ronnie Brown
It's hard to believe that Ronnie is just a year removed from tearing his ACL against the Patriots. Brown has bounced back and cemented himself as the most talented player on this offense. His 465 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns (oh - and a passing TD) aren't eye-popping numbers by any means. But what he's meant to this offense is immeasurable. He can pick up tough yards when asked. And teams gameplan around stopping him - opening up the rest of the offense (see last week's game against Denver for an example). Brown's talent and ability is also what has made the Wildcat formation work. And I expect an even more productive 2nd half of the season now that teams are going to have to really respect the passing attack much more than they have.
Honorable Mention: Chad Pennington, Greg Camarillo
Defensive Player of the Half: Joey Porter
I don't think many Dolphin fans were expecting a season like this out of Joey Porter after last year. But Porter is thriving in Paul Pasqualoni's defensive scheme and is definitely back to being one of the game's most feared defenders. His 11.5 sacks leads the league and is a new career high for Joey. His 3 forced fumbles are tied for the most in the league - with one of them resulting in a safety. And he's been a force rushing the passer even when he doesn't reach the QB. Offenses must gameplan around containing him - which is the ultimate compliment as a pass-rusher. And right now, he's definitely among the top 5 in the Defensive Player of the Year award conversation.
Honorable Mention: Yeremiah Bell, Channing Crowder, Will Allen
Breakout Player of the Half: Greg Camarillo
We all thought that a Dolphins wide receiver would be breaking out this year. But not many of us thought it would be Greg Camarillo. But last year's "hero" has shown that he's more than a one-hit wonder. Instead, Camarillo has really opened up our eyes and is proving that he is indeed a legitimate starting wide receiver. He's a terrific route runner and has very reliable hands. And Greg already has 43 catches for 483 yards and a touchdown. That's impressive considering Camarillo had just 8 career catches heading into the season and had just 46 in his entire collegiate career at Stanford. Now, Greg has a realistic shot at a 90+ catch and 1,000+ yard season. Who would have thunk it?
Honorable Mention: Anthony Fasano
Rookie of the Half: Jake Long
He was the #1 overall pick in April's draft and is proving to be worth both his draft status and financial investment. Though he has struggled at times, Long has proven that he has what it takes to become a true franchise LT - something the Dolphins haven't had since the Richmond Webb days. Though he's allowed 3 sacks (one of which not really being his fault, but rather more of a coverage sack), Long still wins over 90% of his blocks and has only been penalized 2 times. He's also proven to be that mauler that we all expected in the running game, with the Dolphins averaging over 5 yards per carry when running behind Long (prior to last week's game - unsure of the numbers from the Denver game at this point). Considering the coaching he's going to receive here in Miami and his no-nonsense work ethic, we have a lot to be excited about in terms of Jake's future.
Honorable Mention: Kendall Langford, Dan Carpenter
Performance of the Half: Ronnie Brown vs. New England
There have been quite a few impressive performances here, but I don't think any can top the kind of day that Ronnie had back in week 3 against the Patriots. Thanks in large part to the unveiling of the Wildcat, Brown scored 4 rushing touchdowns while also throwing a 19 yard TD pass to Anthony Fasano. Rushing for 113 yards on just 17 carries (6.6 ypc) to go along with those 5 total touchdowns is simply the icing on the cake. This was one of those individual performances that we could very well never see again in this league for a very long time.
Honorable Mention: Joey Porter's 4 sacks and 1 forced fumble vs NE, Chad Pennington's 314 yard, 1 TD performance vs Buffalo, Ted Ginn's 175 yard performance vs Buffalo, Greg Camarillo's 11 catch day vs Denver
Moment of the Half: Chad Pennington connects with Ricky Williams on 23-yard pass play vs. Denver
There have been a number of moments that stand out in my head from these past 8 games. But the one that I feel is the most important and has had the greatest impact on the season is Ricky Williams' phenomenal catch on 3rd & 13 that went for 23-yards and set up the Ronnie Brown TD run that sealed the win last week in Denver. Just think about the situation. I had little confidence that if Denver held the Dolphins to a field goal on that drive, they could have easily went down the field, scored a TD, and won the game. But the Dolphins did something they hadn't done all year: convert on a 3rd and 10+ situation. Pennington was under a lot of pressure and made the best throw he could and Ricky made a truly ridiculous catch - and made it look easy. This was the kind of win that sets the tone for the 2nd half of the season and there's a good chance the outcome could have been different if not for Ricky's remarkable catch.
Honorable Mention: Dolphins kill final minutes of game vs Chargers, Joey Porter's sack and forced fumble that results in a safety vs Buffalo
Play of the Half: The Wildcat Flea-Flicker vs. Houston
Again, there were a lot to choose from here. But this play stands out to me even despite losing - which says a lot about the play. We all were wondering what we might see next out of the Wildcat formation. And what we got was the reverse flea flicker and a 50+ yard TD pass from Chad Pennington to Patrick Cobbs. And when you watch the play below, notice how well Cobbs sells his blocking assignment before going downfield for the pass. A great design and great execution.
So those are my mid-season awards. Tell us all what you think below...