Opening day in the NFL is a beautiful day. Every team starts out with the same record. Every team is optimistic about the up and coming season. The off-season is full of changes, whether it is new coaches or players, or a new stadium. Every team thinks they have a chance to win. The NFL is unpredictable. Who had the Eagles winning the big game before the start of last season? Raise your hand? Exactly. Anything can happen year to year in all sports. Even the Cleveland Browns have a chance to win. (Vegas has them having a better chance of winning the Super Bowl than the Dolphins this year FYI)
Our Miami Dolphins, every year for the last 15 years, have talked about what is going to be different. For the first quarter of the game Sunday vs the Titans, it looked like the same old team. The up-tempo offense we have heard about all summer was not working. The penalties on the O-line were still happening. The chunk plays ended up being bubble screens for 3 yards to Albert Wilson instead of Jarvis Landry. Our front seven with Quinn and Wake were supposed to get pressure on Mariota. He looked like it was a 7 on 7 mini camp drills. I looked at my dad and said, “we waited all year for this again”. He just looked at me with the same look I usually get. The look of disgust. Then, something looked and felt different.
A huge momentum swinging play by Minkah Fitzpatrick got me to stand up and fist pump. My inner Tony Sparano came out. A Goal line stand and tackle on Wide-out, Corey Davis. From there, a 98-yard drive for a touchdown! Tannehill to Stills, it felt like 2016 again. I don’t know about you, but I would take a 10-win season. Sign me up! That would mean only six Monday’s at work I would be as miserable and awful. Right when it started to feel like we had control of the game, a red zone interception by Tannehill deflated it. Then the storms hit and the longest game in NFL history started.
It was difficult to judge the Dolphins on Sunday. How can you? No game in NFL history was like this one. Waiting for the game to resume was like waiting for your work shift to be over. It felt like an eternity. I can only imagine how it felt to play in the game. There were some positives out of the game. For example, we did see some explosive plays. Jakeem Grant with his kickoff return touchdown. Kenny Stills 75-yard bomb torching Malcom Butler. How about 3 interceptions from the defense? A 54-yard return by Reshad Jones counts as explosive too me. Frank Gore ran like it was 2008. Danny Amendola looked good catching passes, didn’t he? All those culture guys we have been hearing about seemed to show up when we needed them to.
There were some disheartening moments for the Dolphins, as expected. The special team’s unit lets them down with a kickoff return touchdown. They did not record a sack as a team. Ryan Tannehill tossed two interceptions. The great part about the win, was they did not fold when the game was on the line. They made big plays in big moments of the game. Not often we can say that about our team.
Week 1 in the NFL is hard to figure out. When you lose, your next game is a must win. There are only 16 games in the season. Teams must come out strong to contend. If the Dolphins go up next week to New York and win, that is called a winning streak! It is hard to win games in this league, regardless of who you play. A win is a win. Some people may call today’s win lucky. Other may say it was because of Mother Nature. I like to call it a win, and that is all that counts. Let’s all enjoy this win. Let’s all go to work smiling tomorrow because next week, nothing is guaranteed. Phins up!