Midway through the second half of the Dolphins-Packers game Sunday, Fox color analyst John Lynch compared Aaron Rodgers to Fins legend Dan Marino. Lynch told viewers that Marino's release was the quickest he's ever seen but that Rodgers' release was right up there. Little did Lynch -- or any of us -- know that the Marino comparisons would not end there.
With the clock winding down and the Packers without any timeouts, Rodgers ripped a play right out of Marino's playbook and faked as if he were going to spike the ball to kill the clock.
The Dolphins defense, thinking this was going to be the case, relaxed a bit, and Rodgers was able to fool them and threw the ball to Davante Adams for a 12-yard gain. The very next play, Rodgers would reach into the Dolphins' collective chests and rip out their still-beating hearts like Mola Ram in Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom by throwing a dart to Andrew Quarless for the game-winning touchdown.
Back in 1994, Marino did the very same thing to the New York Jets.
Known as the Clock Play, the Dolphins were down 24-21 with 30 seconds remaining. Marino walked up to the line of scrimmage motioning to the ground, signaling that he was going to spike the ball to stop the clock. The ball was snapped, and Marino caught the relaxed Jets defense napping and threw a strike in the corner of the end zone to Mark Ingram.
The Dolphins won the game, and the play became a part of Marino's lore.
Now, exactly 20 years later, Rodgers did the same thing to the Dolphins. And while the play didn't lead directly to a score as it did with Marino, it set them up for the eventual game-winner.
In 20 years since Marino did it, many quarterbacks have attempted this play unsuccessfully. Defenses learned from the Jets' mistake.
So of course, it's the Dolphins that become the second team that falls victim to this ploy.
The one team that should know better.
Of course, there was much more to what led to the Dolphins 27-24 loss to the Packers. And so much of it can be analyzed and scrutinized and nit-picked.
But the loss came down several things that led to the loss. But we'll try to boil it down to the three most glaring things.
1. The Joe Philbin Derpfest 2014 Continues
Joe Philbin is like the guy in a war who suddenly becomes the battalion leader after the sergeant gets killed and then inevitably bumbles the men into a bad situation where they all get slaughtered. Yes, we've watched Full Metal Jacket roughly a billion times. Point is, Joe Philbin is just a bad-luck dude. His intentions are a smorgasbord of good intentions and ideas, but the execution is always a bag of dicks.
A lot of fans are lashing out at Philbin for calling timeout while the clock was running out on the Packers, effectively stopping the clock for Rodgers and the Green Bay offense. But the Packers fumbled the ball during that drive and had no timeouts to kill the clock. They also had to convert a fourth and ten.
Rodgers, who is being hailed as the hero, fumbled the ball during that last drive -- coming that close to being the goat. If Miami pounces on that fumble or makes a tackle rather than let guys get out of bounds, then no one is talking about those Philbin timeouts today.
The timeouts didn't cost the Dolphins this game.
The Dolphins being the Dolphins did.
Still, there's a lot of analyzing of Philbin's overall coaching of this game going on today.
However, Philbin's true fault lies in his being a bumbling lurch off the field, more than his bone-headed calls on it. For the second time this season, a player is speaking out publicly, shifting blame on the coaching staff. And now there's a report that Philbin is losing the locker room and that players don't see him as a leader.
Philbin can barely make it through the slightest of speeches without looking at crib notes, and his overall public speaking and addressing of the team is never not awkward. That, more than anything, is what's killing Philbin and this team. His in-game foul-ups are plenty, but none of them lost this team any games. Of course, they're not helping either.
2. Ryan Tannehill Really Looks Good When He Plays Against Sucky Players
What we saw from Ryan Tannehill on Sunday is pretty much Tannehill in a nutshell. In the first half, he managed to throw for only 84 yards and led the team to 1-for-6 on third down conversions. He also threw two interceptions. Then, in the second half, the Packers lost their starting cornerbacks to injuries, and suddenly Tannehill looked like Johnny Unitas. The same thing happened against a shitstain of a Raiders defense two weeks ago. Against crappy teams, Tannehill shines. Against actual solid NFL starters, he's vanilla pants.
Tannehill had a good game, and we're not going to take that away from him. But honestly, we're still waiting for him to show us that he can do what he did against the Raiders against, you know, good teams.
3. Living and Dying by the Defense Be it Cortland Finnegan getting constantly blasted or Phillip Wheeler being terrible at his job, the Dolphins have been extremely inconsistent on defense. While the pass rush is a fearsome force of obliteration, the linebackers are still a mangled mess. Meanwhile, the secondary has gotten into a pain-in-the-ass habit of giving up big plays. Again, they played against Aaron Rodgers.
Look at the video above again. All Finnegan needs to do is protect the sideline. Angle in towards Adams and keep him in bounds. He does that, the clock runs out on the Packers and the game is over and nobody is complaining about Philbin's bungling of things. The defense had plenty of opportunities to ice this game and fell woefully short.
It's going to be this way for the remainder of the season.
Not one thing lost the Dolphins this game. The Dolphins just.... Dolphin'd it.