The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

TODAY’S FINS CAN ONLY WIN THE CELLAR BOWL

The Fins celebrated the 40th anniversary of their Perfect Season at halftime during this week’s game against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.  Unfortunately, there is nothing super about today’s Dolphins, so these Dolphins had to settle for a win in the Cellar Bowl.  Yes, it qualified as the Cellar Bowl because both teams entered the game in last place in their respective divisions.

Commnly known football cliché’s assert that wins are hard to come by in the NFL and that on Sunday’s anything can happen.  That said, this win says little when put in its proper perspective.  The Jaguars came into the game 31st against the run and 24th against the pass.  Their offense was similarly poor and they were missing a number of their skill position starters.  And don’t forget that their starting QB-By-Default was Fins’ cast-off Chad Henne.

Cliché’s aside this game should not have been a game, yet the Fins held a 10-3 halftime lead only because a Jaguar touchdown was taken off the board by an unusual substitution penalty (that had no effect upon the play).  Otherwise, the Fins’ touchdown shortly before halftime would have merely tied the score.

Although Ryan Tannehill and Reggie Bush ended up with impressive statistics, both sets of stats are subject to asterisks.  Reggie Bush rushed 21 times for 104 yards.  But there is an asterisk because outside of a nice 53-yarder in the second half, his other 20 carries yielded an average of only 2.6 yards.  Tannehill was 22 of 28 (78.6%) for 220 yards with 2 TDs and a QB Rating of 123.2.  He also ran the ball 8 times for 52 yards.  But here too there is an asterisk because he only had 79 passing yards by halftime.  This is in keeping with his unfortunate trend of not playing 4 quarters.  And don’t forget the huge asterisk that applies to the performances of Tannehill and Bush: their stats were both compiled against the Jaguars who are now 2-12 for the season.

No Fins’ wide receiver caught a touchdown pass against the Jaguars,  thus continuing an alarming pattern.  The wide receiver crew assembled by GM Jeff Ireland has a league-low 3 touchdown receptions this season.  Remember when he said that the Fins’ receivers were a collection of “threes, fours and fives” in one Hard Knocks episode last August?  This fact tends to show that his assessment was on the mark, which is more than we can say about his ability to put together a roster.

Another disconcerting trend which continued this week was that the Fins’ did not have any takeaways.  They now have only 1 turnover in their last 7 games.  No team has had a worse stretch than this in over 60 years.

While it is true that the Fins are the only franchise to record a Perfect Season, it is also true that their incredible season was half a healthy lifespan ago.  It happened so long ago that Dan Marino’s 17-year Dolphins’ career started a decade after it happened and his career ended considerably more than a decade ago.  Although yesteryear’s perfect season was indeed notable, it is truly a shame that today’s Fins can only win the Cellar Bowl.  And you can bet no one will be celebrating this win against the Jaguars 40 years from now!

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