2-2 has never looked so good.
This win over the Chargers serves as hard evidence that the thrashing of the Patriots was no fluke. This Dolphins team can no longer be easily written off.
Granted, I still don't believe the Dolphins are a playoff-caliber team (too young, too few play-makers), but this win sure makes the team a whole lot more fun to watch follow now. They finally believe in themselves, and a team cannot succeed until that intangible milestone has been achieved.
As fans, we should savor this victory, but I implore everyone not to get too overly excited and start dreaming up playoff scenarios. Seventy-five percent of the season remains, and Miami has already had its bye week. There will be many more highs and lows as this team continues to grow into a contender. Thinking that this team is a contender right now will only lead to disappointment when the inexperience shows through down the road or the team suffers another Cardinals-style blowout.
Keep expectations moderate and reasoned, and huge wins like these will be all the sweeter.
And who knows - if Miami can build a modest win streak, and with the way the AFC is playing out, Miami very well could be in the playoff hunt as the calendar turns to November and December. Simply not being knocked out of contention early would be more than I would have ever imagined for this season.
As far as the Chargers game goes, here's a few quick points:
- The Dolphins were pretty dominant for 3 quarters. Unfortunately, they almost let the game slip away from them in the other one. The script seemed to be a repeat of recent Dolphins outcomes, with the team completely imploding and almost literally handing the game away to the opposing team. But something different happened this time, and it's indicative of this new team's attitude. They bucked up and took control of their own destiny. Carpenter's missed field goal, followed by a too-easy scoring drive for the Chargers, followed by Davone Bess' fumbled kickoff return, followed by the Chargers driving to the one yard line led me to assume that these new Dolphins were still stuck in their losing ways, grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory. But then this defense simply refused to surrender and stuffed LT at the goal line and forced a turnover on downs. That will be a defining play for this unit. Not only did they completely stop LT all day, they shut down one of the league's elite offenses, to the tune of only 10 points. Kudos to you all, especially Yeremiah Bell.
- Davone Bess really should not be returning kicks anymore. Punts, I'm fine with. But it should be obvious to everyone by now that Bess is not a serious weapon as a kickoff returner. Get Ginn back there and add another big play threat to this team.
- Speaking of Ginn, don't concentrate on his receiving yardage when gauging his play. He's rarely going to see any 9-routes thrown his way with Pennington throwing the ball, and those deep routes are what he's best at. Instead, just look at how often he's being targeted in the passing game. These past two games have been encouraging in that regard. Despite being hampered by Pennington's limited range, Ginn is managing to stay heavily involved in the passing game. At this point, that's encouraging to me.
- The Wildcat is here to stay. It certainly wasn't as effective this week, but it still worked, and that's all you can ask for. That is now a legitimate aspect of this team's offense, and as long as Ronnie and Ricky are on the field together, that formation will present problems for defenses. Add in the possibilities of using Ginn in that formation in the future and the notion of opening up this offense even more is a reality.