I think there’s a sense of calm amidst FinsNation. We were fortunate enough to get that monkey off our collective back (without making a fool out of ourselves like Steve Young, the Lindsey Buckingham of football) in Week 3 against an incredibly annoying divisional foe. That was fun. I laughed at Patriots fans in the bar. I said “Fuck. The. Patriots.” (very loud) about 7-8 times throughout the course of the game. I was incredibly hungover and ordered 3 White Russians in the second half. I laughed with my fellow Miamian over how awesome this all was. I felt like Ice Cube circa 1993. We messed around and got a triple-double.
Then the bye week came and all of that momentum seeped out of us like my midnight farts: quietly but dangerously.
Can we regain that confidence and swagger? Can we effectively use The Wildcat now that teams know it’s a part of our arsenal? Can we be stifling on defense and sharp on offense? How much of an anomaly was that win coming off that hammering against the Cards? Will we settle?
My gut feeling is this team is more like that team that played the Jets in Week One. We’re going to be competitive but we’ve got major talent issues that remain at WR, LB and DB. It will take some really imaginative play-calling and tough coaching to win games week in, week out. This game against the Chargers has all the makings of a very telling game in terms of our identity - more so than any other game we’ve played thus far. The infield dirt is gone, we’ve played 3 very different ballgames and we’ve got a nice stretch of home games coming up. The quest to determine our identity (which I hope to God is a run-based team that mixes up the play-calling) begins this Sunday. Let’s hope they sell those thousands of tickets so we can all experience it together and officially christen the White Russian Second Half, brought to you by……’Kahula’! Aaaaand ‘Milk’! [Editor’s note: Don’t forget the Vodka, Roro!! And I prefer coffee creamer. Carry on ...]
• Any win against the Chargers demands that we stop LDT (even if it hurts my fantasy team, damnit). He’s starting to get healthy again and that is a scary, scary prospect, friends. He still hasn’t had one of those 3 TD sort of games. We don’t need them busting out their own version of the Wildcat w/ Sproles and LDT. This guy scares me to death so I’m going to stop talking about him right now.
• If we can somehow contain LDT, we still have to worry about Gates and their WR corps. As much as I think Philip Rivers is one of the biggest assholes in the NFL, the guy has been steadily elevating his gameplay throughout his short career. He’s a fiery dude that leads his team well. Ya betta ask somebody! (Fact: I emailed in that photo that KSK uses for all the Philip Rivers posts. I know. I just got cooler, huh?) [Editor’s Note: You weren’t cool until you became the Ice Man to the Dude’s Maverick. Top Gun reference! Now THAT’s cool.]
• Chargers Offense by the numbers: Rivers is the 6th rated passer and holds the second highest passer rating (109.8). They have the 8th rated Overall Offense, 7th rated Passing Offense, they’re leading the League in PPG and they complete nearly 50% of their Third Downs. Dolphins Defense by the numbers: We are (surprisingly) the 15th-ranked Overall Defense, 10th-Ranked Rushing Defense (allowing 90 ypg) and the (drum roll, please…) 26th-ranked Passing Defense, no doubt largely due to that ridiculous Cards game. Our D is fairly decent on 3rd Down as well.
• Bottom line is: Their Offense is dirty, dirty and our Defense is suspect after two very up and down games. If you don’t think I just wet my pants and had to flush my soiled underwear down the toilet, you’re crazy.
There are other keys (Ginn getting involved early, Ronnie’s performance coming off a monster game, Chad getting the ball downfield to expose a weak secondary, etc) but I really think this game comes down to playing some solid D. If we can do that, then we need to contain Sproles from having any big plays against our terrible Special Teams. We do aaaalllll that and we should be good to go.
Prediction: Dolphins 22 – Charges 19.
We’ve beaten these fools 6 times in a row so we’re going for 7. I’m still pissed at this team for beating us by one freakin’ point in the divisional playoff back in 1995. I think the Super Bowl was in Miami that year and we would have won one for Danny Boy if we’d gotten past Stan Humphries and Natrone Means. That brings us back to Steve Young again, doesn’t it? Shit.
**Side Note: I’ll be attending the Dolphins vs Ravens game on Oct. 19 there in Miami. I’ll be back home for the weekend so if any of you freaks wants to get together for some tailgating pre and post game, say the word by emailing The Dude. He’ll pass it on to me at my currently undisclosed location. We can all watch in abject horror as the Ravens proceed to put half our team on IR for the rest of the year!!!