Ravens 26 Dolphins 10
In past loses this season there has always been some optimism to ease the pain. Against the Jets, Chad Henne looked terrific against one of the best defenses in football. The next week, the Dolphins looked like the better team early on, but special-teams blunders cost them a blowout loss to the Patriots. And then there was two weeks ago; a game many Dolphin fans put on the officials.
But after watching the Ravens throuroughly dominate the Dolphins in every aspect of the game yesterday, what can honestly be said to make this loss feel any less deflating? Before Sunday, I, along with many other Dolphin fans, was under the impression that this football team was on the cusp of possibly moving up into elite status. I think it's engraved in cement now, though, that the 2010 Miami Dolphins are an average football team, who are more likely to fall off into mediocrity than emerge as true contender.
In the preseason, I even mentioned how going 4-4 through the first eight games would put this team right on track to make a playoff push in the second-half of the year. Even if the Dolphins can finish out 6-2 or better in their final eight games against suddenly quality competition, you have to be thinking this team's ceiling is a first round playoff exit right now.
They just don't have what it takes to knockoff elite teams. The defense has done some good things at times, but they still clearly have holes large enough to prevent any sort of consistency to take place. Mike Nolan has been an upgrade, but I'm starting to think he may be slightly overrated after seeing the Dolphins' defense fail to adjust to Ray Rice breaking off huge gain after huge gain through the air.
Offensively, I'm not sure where to begin. Play-calling has been atrocious at times. Yesterday was a prime example of that. How in the world does Ronnie Brown run the ball 6 times for 45 yards on the opening drive and only carry the ball three more times the rest of the game?
And then there's Chad Henne. Sure, he's flashed potential at times, but eventually that potential has to manifest itself into reality. He's still only in his second season as the starter, but when exactly does the developmental stage end, and the results stage begin?
Overall, just a big reality check for this football team and it's fans. There are just too many questions on both sides of the ball right now to feel good about the direction this team is going. It's certainly not time to give up on this season yet, but as we sit here looking in the mirror at the halfway point, it's clear this team has a lot of work to do if they are going to live up to their playoff aspirations.