C-Nasty’s Running MNF Diary: Pats at Dolphins

"YES! You finally can't completely blame me!"

 

By C-Nasty

 

Football is back!  Even though we didn’t miss any games, I, for one, certainly feel like it’s been forever since we had football on TV.  Maybe it’s because we missed out on Hard Knocks this year.  Maybe it’s because we didn’t have training camps and OTAs and were forced to watch clips of behemoths in suits and baseball highlights all fucking summer.  Or maybe it’s because all the trades and fantasy football drafts seemingly happened overnight and ratcheted up the excitement for the season to get here.  Whatever it is I don’t think I’ve ever been so pumped for the start of the season (note: not having a rooting interest in the Cowboys, Falcons, Chiefs, Steelers or Colts admittedly plays a part).

As such, I filed an official proposal with The Ryno’s Horn (read: asked Ryan in our living room) to write a weekly Monday Night Football running diary.  What better way to start all that than by having the hometown Fins host the rival Pats?  Unlike the constantly inquisitive Hank Williams, Jr. I’m just going to assume that you’re ready for some football.

 

Pre-Game

ESPN bills this as the Man (Brady) and the Mastermind (Belichick) of New England against the “Flash and Dash” of Miami. Miami has spent the last 230523804972 seasons being about as Flashy and Dashy as a Ford Taurus.  We (since I’m writing this from my living room in Miami and wearing a custom Fins jersey, I’ll be using “we” all night – unless we start to really get our asses kicked) may pull out some wins but it’s rarely Flashy or Dashy.

Mike Tirico kicks off the coverage by reminding us of several things.

  1. Dolphins management tried to find a coach to replace Tony Sparano in the offseason.
  2. Dolphins management tried to find a quarterback to replace Chad Henne in the offseason.
  3. They were unsuccessful in both efforts and just decided to roll with the coach/QB that they so adamantly wanted to replace last season.  Smart.
  4. The Fins at home last season were last in the league in wins (1), takeaways (7) and turnover margin (-10).
  5. This game is against the reigning unanimous MVP of the league.

Shit.

 

Game

1Q 12:13 – Miami’s new-look offense (thanks to new Coordinator Brian Daboll) comes flying out of the gates.  Nice deep out to Marshall (who might have been out of bounds), check down to Bush and a Bush run net 3 first downs in a row before the O stalls a bit and the Fins are faced with a 4th and 1.  Sparano manages to identify his balls, which had gone missing since 2008; goes for it and gets it courtesy of fan favorite Lex Hilliard.

Things started off great with Fasano, but then the Fins forgot they had a TE

1Q 9:43 – Two holding penalties negate great Bush runs but then whoever is wearing Chad Henne’s jersey throws a ballsy over the shoulder pass to Fasano who hauls it in with a great one-handed catch.  1st and goal Fins from the 2.

1Q 7:42 – Play action sack and Albert Haynesworth’s manhandling of Bush lead to 3rd and goal from the 10.  Apparently Brian Daboll thinks he’s on the sideline at the Eagles game and calls a QB draw for #7.  Somehow this works and Henne dives in for the score.  Fins up 7-0.

"I'm in the EndZone....and its not a safety!!!!"

1Q 6:47 – Play action fools the Fins and Brady hits Slater with a beautiful ball for a 45 yard gain.  The one thing that everyone included in their prediction for tonight’s game was “but, the Dolphins have a top 10 defense and some amazing young corners.”  Right.

1Q 4:14 – The Law Firm of BenJarvus Green-Ellis hits the O button, spins off a tackle and dives in for the score to knot things up at 7.  That drive took all of three and a half minutes.  Whoever claimed the Fins were a top 10 defense this year must have been under the impression that there are only 10 teams in the league.

1Q 2:27 – Bush short run; checkdown to Bush; checkdown to Bush and it’s 3 and out for the Fins.  Now THAT’s the Checkdown Chad we’re all used to.

1Q 1:53 – Thanks to Chad Ochocinco forgetting how to line up as a receiver (to be fair, he’s only been in the league for a decade or so) another 40 yard play-action completion to the TE Gronkowski is negated. Brady wastes no time throwing to Branch and Hernandez and picking up the first down anyway.  The quarter ends with Brady hitting the former Dolphin (ouch) Welker for his 6th straight completion.

"Ignore that idiot behind me, Tom."

2Q 14:09 – Brady hits eleven-foot-four TE Rob Gronkowski for the score.  He seemingly has ALL day to make these throws and when he has that kind of time he’s simply unfair.  8-8 and a TD for Brady so far without breaking a sweat.  These are the sorts of things that land you supermodels.  That and amazing hair.

2Q 14:00 – A holding call wipes out a nice 40 yard return from rookie speedster Clyde Gates and the Fins are now starting their third drive from their own 10 yard line.  Brian Daboll apparently decided that he had entirely too much fun the first drive and proceeds to run Bush up the middle over and over, which has worked approximately never in his career.

Bush gets waxed

2Q 12:07 – Henne scrambles and hits Hartline for a Fins first down.  Henne’s now 9/10 for 100 yards.  I think I speak for all of South Florida when I say “I didn’t see that coming.”  It’s never a good thing when you’re starting QB is playing well and that’s extremely out of character for him.

2Q 10:48 – Henne misses Marshall down the right sideline. Then two more Bush runs force a punting situation for Miami.  I’m assuming that Jim Harbaugh (who the Fins were aggressively pursuing to replace Sparano) would have brought sage-like wisdom to the organization and would have likely said things like, “Hey Brian Daboll, you know those aggressive play calls that worked really well when we scored on that first drive?  Let’s do more of those.”  Instead we still have Sparano so it’s safe to assume he stole Daboll’s folder of plays and burned it.

2Q 7:57 – Not only is this alleged top 10 (in college FB?) defense not able to stop the run, they’re giving Tom Brady enough time to impregnate another supermodel in the backfield.  1st and 10 on the Fins 42 and the defense is GASSED.  Even Wes Welker’s mini-me Danny Woodhead is running all over the field.  Top 10?  Really?

2Q 6:41 – Aaaaaand an offensive penalty and a couple of errant Brady throws later and we have the first Dolphins stop of the game.  Reverse jinx success!

2Q 5:30 – A Pats punt pins the Dolphins within the 5 yard line where they go 3 and out, narrowly avoiding a Henne pick and a safety in the process.  We’re back to Miami football ladies and gentlemen.

2Q 4:11 – The Dolphins D has apparently found its comfort zone and forces a 3 and out.  Fins O takes the field and we have our first Devone Bess sighting of the night, hauling in a 25 yard pass from Henne.  In true Dolphin fashion we immediately follow this up with a sack, holding penalty and 1 yard run from Bush to end the drive.

2Q 1:35 – The Pats pick up a 1st down but lose starting center Dan Koppen in the process when he gets his leg rolled up on.  This is something that I will fully admit I’m squeamish about.  Anytime a player suffers a gruesome injury where you see a leg or arm buckle I start screaming like a pre-pubescent girl.  I’m not a proud man.

Cam Wake busts into his fave Adele song after every sack

2Q 0:41 – Ochocinco gets the first catch of his Pats career and Brady finds twelve-foot-eight TE Rob Gronkowski for consecutive completions down the seam.  This is followed up by the officiating crew collectively closing their eyes as Vontae Davis molests Ochocinco on a back shoulder fade route.

2Q 0:07 – Cameron Wake makes his presence felt for the first time this game as he forces a holding call and follows it up with a sack on Brady.  Gostkowski misses the 47 yard field goal to end the half and even though the Fins gave up 265 yards of offense in the first half, they’re only down a TD going into the intermission.

3Q 13:13 – The second half opens up with Brady hitting Welker down the sideline as Benny Sapp blows the coverage.  Looks like this is shaping up to be more of the same Brady marching the Pats down the fi-HOLYSHIT BENNY SAPP YOU TOTALLY REDEEMED YOURSELF!  Sapp jumps the bubble screen, which sends the ball careening up into the air and somehow it flies all the way back over behind Brady where Jared OntheSpot Odrick catches it and runs it down to the Pats 9 yard line.  HUGE momentum shift.

3Q 12:29 – Brady’s first interception in 358 regular season pass attempts leads to Henne finding Brian Hartline in the endzone to tie this game up at 14.  Brady looks angsty on the sidelines and it’s unclear as to whether he’s in an NFL game or a Calvin Klein ad at this point.

3Q 9:41 – Pats come back and methodically march the ball down the field with a steady dose of Danny Woodhead.  No joke required there.  The Dolphins counter by throwing in longtime Dolphin Jason Taylor but Brady steps up and throws for another first down.  Apparently the presence of Taylor was only to tip the beauty scale back in our favor.

3Q 8:16 – Fins show an all out blitz to Brady on 3rd and goal, he audibles and calmly hits Welker in a quick out for the score.  Pats back on top 21-14.  Gruden and Jaws (who both touted the Fins D before the game) take this opportunity to point out that they struggle against a no-huddle, which is primarily what the Pats are running.  I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that I excel at catching the football, except if people are standing near me, as they often do.  I assume this makes me a top 10 receiver.

Your team is good when....OchoCinco is your Ocho Option

3Q 6:49 – A penalty pins the Fins back in their own 10 to start the drive but consecutive completions to Marshall and Fasano have us all the way to the Pats 35.  This makes Fasano’s second catch of the night and he immediately self-combusts.  Also, he was hit very hard by Pats safety Patrick Chung, which may have had something to do with his injury.

3Q 5:35 – Henne runs for a first down and then follows that up with an impromptu game of hot potato by running in a circle and then tossing the ball underhanded to Bush, who falls on it.

3Q 4:27 – Henne, presumably after having heard about Brandon Marshall’s abusive past has decided to actually throw him the ball this season and The Beast makes a huge catch to give the Fins 1st and goal from the 2.

3Q 3:35 – Lex Hilliard gets stuffed at the goal line and the next two plays Henne decides to throw to Marshall with 1 on 1 coverage.  The first one almost gets picked and Marshall drops the second.  Jaws and Gruden sum this up by saying they have no idea what kind of plays these are or what kind of routes Marshall is running and we settle for a chip shot field goal.  The Fins are a well-oiled machine.

3Q 1:22 – Vontae Davis is apparently out of the game with cramps and some random person named Nolan Carroll has decided he is fit to play in his stead.  The Pats notice this and throw his direction overandoverandoverandover to march them down the field.  The Fins have decided this is a sound defensive strategy and aren’t in any kind of a rush to make a change.

3Q 0:19 – Brady notices that Sean Smith is on the same menstrual cycle as Vontae Davis and is also cramping.  He hits Aaron Hernandez fondly admired from a distance covered by Smith who slides down to the 2 before Smith gently touches him.  Brady follows that up by hitting Hernandez (for the 10th completion to a TE on the night) who’s WIDE open in the back of the endzone after play action.  The Fins respond with a 3 and out.  Awesome.

"WHAT? I couldn't hear you over kicking your ass"

4Q 13:03 – Miami is still under the impression that Nolan Carroll is good at defense.  Based on facts and reality and what my eyes are telling me this is untrue.  Brady agrees with me and throws his direction several times to get the Pats into another 1st and goal.

4Q 11:06 – The Fins D holds New England to another chip shot Gostkowski field goal and the Pats are up 31-17.  On Miami’s next drive we see a stat on 3rd down that the Pats are 8/11 on 3rd while the Fins are 2/9 and Gruden emphasizes that SOMEone needs to step up for Miami.  Henne is promptly sacked.

4Q 8:48 – Slater drops a bomb from Brady and the Pats go 3 and out and are forced to punt.  Bess fields it and decides that instead of returning it, he should lie down on the ground instead.

4Q 8:07 – Miami has decided they have NE right where they want them and decide to unleash their offense for the first time in the second half.  Consecutive completions to Fasano and Marshall have the Fins all the way down to the Pats 25.

4Q 7:18 – 3 consecutive incompletions lead to a crucial 4th down for the Fins and they pick it up with a great hot route to Hartline.  Checkdown to Bush, incompletion to Marshall and a completion to Bess who gets to the half yard line before he’s tackled.  It’s initially ruled a TD on the field but the review clearly shows his knee was down before the ball broke the plane.  From a half a fucking yard out, Miami decides to throw a fade to Brian Hartline which Henne sails 12 feet over his head.

4Q 5:44 – Pinned on their own half yard line, the Pats line up in a shotgun formation and Brady throws one of the more perfect passes I’ve ever seen to Welker who stiff-arms random terrible Dolphins DB and runs 99.5 yards in for the score.  Brady has now thrown for 4 TDs and 511 yards.  We couldn’t score in 8 plays from 15 yards out but the Pats only need one to literally go the length of the field.

Game. Set. Match.

4Q 3:52 – Brady’s 511 yards sets a franchise and MNF record and this “top 10 defense” has given up over 600 yards.  Miami flies down the field against the Pats prevent D and Bush punches it in on a checkdown pass from Henne.  Apparently both coaches took the over in this game.

4Q 2:40 – Miami fails to recover an onside kick, Brady throws for another 6 yards before the Pats have to punt it away.  His 517 yards puts him 5th all time for passing yards in a game.  Jaws takes this opportunity to apologize for saying “shit” earlier in the broadcast.  Amazingly, he didn’t use it in the context of saying the Dolphin’s D played like shit.

4Q 0:16 – Henne crosses the 400 yard mark and he and Brady have set a single game passing record with a combined 906 yards (includes yards lost on sacks).  Henne refuses to believe he actually shares a record with Brady and ends the night of defensive abuse by throwing a pick at the goal line.

"Yeah Jay, it looks cool. I wish I could shave mine, but Gisele would lose her shit."


 

Final

Well it appears that both teams have picked up right where they left off last year.  Brady is still amazing, the Dolphins still aren’t, and the Miami fan base will continue to be underwhelmed by their team for yet another year.

See you next week for Rams/Giants where Eli Manning will hopefully avoid shitting his pants or drooling on himself like he does every time I picture him playing football.

A guy can dream, can't he?