Long before there was hatred for Rex Ryan or Bill Belichick, there was Don Shula. A certain amount of respect was required for the only coach in football history to have a perfect season, but then Brian Cox would run into the stadium giving everyone the finger and our respect for anyone wearing the *ahem* orange, aquamarine, and white would vanish quite quickly.
Since that rivalry's birth in the late 80's, I haven’t reveled in beating anyone the way I’ve enjoyed past wins over the Miami Dolphins. Pick a reason: their terrible fans, their terrible stadium, their terrible new jerseys, Dan Marino. It’s just fun to watch them lose. And not just the games, but the abject failure of their organization to do anything right. They might’ve drafted their quarterback of the future last year. What’s the next smart move? Let your left tackle walk. Good call.
But somehow the Dolphins manage to wiggle their way into rose-tinted glasses status year after year. They just made Chad Pennington’s noodle arm their starting quarterback? That’s a playoff squad! Bill Parcells is stealing a paycheck? Watch them win the Super Bowl in a couple years! Ted Ginn Jr. was their first overall pick!? …Ok, no one thought that was smart and it was by far my favorite schadenfreude moment of the last decade. Clearly Brady Quinn would’ve given them nothing, but you used the 9th overall pick on a kick returner. Awesome.
THREE THINGS TO BE EXCITED ABOUT:
1) The Dolphins O-Line
Tannehill has been sacked no fewer than 4 times in the Fins’ five games. The Bills are 4th in the league in sacks. COINCIDENCE!? Of course. But seriously, the law firm of Williams, Willaims, & Dareus must be chomping at the bit to tear through this offensive line. People have seemed quick to jump on the coaching, but you really can't fault Pettine's schemes overall. It's not his fault Leodis is great at covering and awful at reacting.
*phew* Sorry, had to let that out. Anyways, as I was saying, you had to like what you saw from Thad last weekend and you have to hope you’ll see more this weekend. Obviously someone needs to break his habit of holding the football like it’s a soiled diaper when he’s running, but he hit open receivers in a variety of ways, commanded the offense with confidence in crunch time, and forced overtime against a squad that took out Green Bay & New England this season. Not bad for a guy off the practice squad.
3) Healing bodies
If you only found one positive in last week’s game, it was the return of Gilmore, Goodwin, and Byrd. Certainly Stephon and Jairus looked rusty, but just knowing they’re close to healed is comforting. Again, this is the pulling a plus out of a tire fire, but if both get up to speed this week, it improves our chances of not getting embarrassed against the Saints in a week. And I loved seeing Goodwin’s and the coach’s confidence in letting him bring it out of the end zone time after time. Clearly he’s got top-level speed and one of these days he’s gonna break one. Please let it be this weekend.
THREE THINGS TO BE ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED ABOUT:
1) Our not-so-healed bodies
Clearly both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are not 100% and as always with running backs, even at full strength, you’re one cutback away from being done for the season. And if we want any shot of keeping things interesting while we wait for E.J. to get back, both our running backs have to stay on the field. Let’s hope we see more of the outside runs and screen passes they used against the Bengals. And if Marrone wants a run up the middle, let Tashard do it.
Not to mention, as I said earlier, Thad’s not 100% either. And if he goes down, that brings us to terrifying thing number two...
2) The possibility of playing Matt Flynn
I think it’s safe to say that no one is buying the “Matt Flynn is a starter” schlock anymore. If you’re not good enough to stick around in Oakland, you must be pretty terrible. Oh hey, Matt Lienart, I didn’t see you there. How’s… that Heisman trophy… lookin?
As much as I love beating this team, I hate losing to them even more. I can still remember being at the game where Ricky Williams carried the Dolphins from the brink of embarrassment to a comeback win at the Ralph years ago. It was awful. Although, not as bad as watching any game won by Jay Fiedler. Man, I hated him. Never really had a reason to. Just hated him.
Playlist song addition you may not know about:
Torture Chamber by Edan
I don't have a whole lot to say about this tune other than it's awesome. I discovered it randomly at a bar thanks to SoundHound, Shazam's lesser known, more talented brother. Ever since, it's been a regular spin and is sure to make your pregame excitement/sadness spiral that much more enjoyable/painful.
Made You Look by Nas
I don't have to say a lot about this tune either. You know it. You love it. Listen to it and think of me. DO IT!
Blah blah Del's cool yada yada lots of them suck blub blub here we go.
Keep on keepin' on, #BerlsMerfia.
I'm not sure there's anyone flying under the radar for Bills fans anymore, since we've pretty much turned over every rock and stone this season searching for signs of hope. Also, I'm not sure we've used the same "Memorial Player of the Week" more than twice, so I'm just winging it here. Three cheers for... wait for it...
I know what you're thinking. Your initial reaction is "GO BACK INTO HIDING, APS! NO ONE WANTS YOU HERE!" But then you take a deep breath and you consider the fact Tashard Choice averages 4 yards a carry. Maybe that's because people doubt we're actually going to run the ball when he's on the field or they're exhausted from chasing Spiller & Jackson, but he's made the best of his opportunities. And if we're gonna have any shot at keeping all three of them healthy AND being successful, Choice will have to continue being effective when he's out there.
Of course, you're still allowed to lose your shit if you ever see him on the field in a goal line situation while either 22 or 28 is wearing pads. I will be too.
The guy dropped two passes on third down, one of which happened in overtime. His lone catch was for 2 yards. WAY TO MAKE IT HAPPEN, CHRIS!
I know, I know. No shitty beers or Greasico gambling tips. But whatever, it's 6:20am and hardly anyone read past "Tashard Choice" anyways, so...
Bills 24, Dolphins 20
Fuck Dan Marino.