Winning the division was unthinkable about a month ago at 4-5.
Winning and making the playoffs was unimaginable two weeks ago.
Beating the Patriots in improbable fashion was far from most fan’s vocabulary even though the odds were truly stacked and have been against the Patriots in Miami.
For what it’s worth, this was a gutsy performance by your hometown Miami Dolphins.
The Dolphins with seven seconds and several palpitations of the heart were down to their final play.
“Boise” the call by the captain-Ryan Tannehill the Dolphins quarterback, settling the huddle, and injecting the offense with confidence.
Never mind confidence, swagger.
How one play with three players and two pitches could cause such hysteria amongst a fan base that one: wanted Head coach Adam Gase gone for the likes of Jim Harbaugh and two wanted a bright shiny new QB for Draftmas.
It all changed on one play.
Boise. Dig route run by Kenny Stills who came back to the ball, pivoted and then pitched to DeVante Parker, Parker ran for 7-8 yards and pitched to Kenyan Drake.
Drake with a Michael Jordan like grip on the ball, holding it away from his body, began his departure from the 42 yard line, knifing around the defense, and springing off a killer and thunderous thud of a block by Ted Larsen.
Number 66 sprinted nearly 70 yards to make a block.
The block of his life and career, as a Dolphin.
I’ve said it again and again and I’ll say it one more time, the Dolphins are not a passing team. They are best when they run in space and they let their playmakers do the work.
The Dolphins are a team that’s strength is more toward power and Gase managed to fine tune his play calling to win ground game and outrush the Patriots who usually outrush their opponents in the latter half of the season.
In my studies of what Bill Belichick does well as a coach: based on the Education of a coach a profile on Belichick written by the late David Halberstam, he said he likes to run the ball to wear the defense down.
The Dolphins flipped the script with their running game and executed with precision, curbing the offensive penalties.
Frank Gore carried the load and shortened the down and distance.
Drake however is no different in terms of his potency as a runner.
Right now he’s playing unconscious.
It’s like Steph Curry throwing up a three with his head turned knowing the shot will fall.
Drake used his vision and then his instincts to drive a dagger into the Patriots season-34-33.
How does a team recover from that loss and pick up the pieces heading to Pittsburgh?
How do you like them division t-shirts Belichick?
The playoffs go through Miami. (A loose quotation from the late former head coach Tony Sparano).
For the Dolphins and their fans, they ain’t dead yet and it’s going to take a lot to wrestle this feeling of euphoria.
Photo credit: New York Times