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One Last Look Back at Sunday's Playoff Win

Sorry for the late post, but I just got back to Baltimore, so here is the post I wrote early this morning:

As I sit in the airport getting ready for my flights back to dreary and cold Baltimore from Florida through Atlanta, the Dolphins will always have one thing over the Ravens, and that is the weather all season long for their home games. Man, it is so nice to be able to go watch football games in January wearing shorts and a sweet Hawaiian shirt (of course)! However, after the results of the past two games we’ve played here, that might be it as far as advantages. Ed Reed and company might be staking their claim to the place as “our house” as we laid two of Miami’s six losses this season on them in their own crib. However, it appears the acknowledgement of our superiority has began to sink in with the more sane minds in South Florida, compared to a bunch of the rude and obnoxious Dolphin fans around me in my section as well as many on the team’s blog site.

I listened to a bunch of sports talk on the radio Monday and most of it centered on the Sunday’s football game. The first show I listened to in the morning was out of Orlando with a guy who sounded like a transplanted New Yorker, loud and opinionated, yet dead on with his comments. He said the Dolphins were pushed all over the field by the Ravens, lost the game on both sides of the ball, and were just not in Baltimore’s class of competition. He surmised that the Dolphin fans who thought their team was one or two players away from contending for a Super Bowl were delusional, as he thought the team had significant holes. Furthermore, he stated, Miami would be playing a first place schedule in 2009, and he expected a huge letdown as they would be facing six playoff teams next season and thought a record of 9-7 at best was in their future, and it could get ugly with an 8-8 or even worse record.

Late Monday afternoon, I was listening on their ESPN affiliate to the Miami fans who kept calling in to state they had a great season and were proud of their team. Many went on to say their defense held us down most of the game and still had a chance to win in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t overcome the five turnovers from a team that only had something like 13 turnover for the entire regular season. Former Dolphin RB Keith Byars even commented that the Dolphins should have pulled QB Chad Pennington late in the game due to his ineffectiveness. The other hosts had the same thought as me, which was, could you imagine putting the untested rookie, Chad Henne, in against the Ravens defense!? Didn’t they see what happened when the Eagles Andy Reid did the same thing, pulling Donovan McNabb and inserting backup Kevin Kolb, in Philly’s 36-7 beatdown courtesy of us in November? After hearing a bunch of sad, but hopeful Dolphins fans, I had to put in my two cents worth, so I dialed in.

When they answered the phone, I asked to speak to the host regarding the Dolphins game. They asked where I was from and I said Baltimore, to which they replied, “he’d love to talk with you!” He put me on the air almost immediately where I introduced myself and asked him not to give me a hard time because I was a Ravens fan. I told him I wrote a blog on the Ravens and that while I thought we would win all along, I felt the Dolphins game plan was ineffective, as it seemed that everything they used to get to where they were in the first place seemed to have been abandoned in the game plan against the Ravens. I stated that Penningotn’s decision to test our secondary by going deep against us time and time again played right into our hands and that he did not have the arm to make it happen in that manner. I also said that the short, crossing slants against our linebackers that worked towards the end of the first game in October never seemed to materialize and the lack of throws to the tight ends and RB’s were virtually non-existent. He replied that he was not going to be angry or yell at me, as he totally agreed and thought my comments were right on target. I told him my cousin, who is a huge Dolphins fan, said he and most fans would be disappointed if the ‘fins lost, but that they had a great season and for that they would be happy. However, I continued, most Ravens fans would have been devastated if the Ravens had lost, as our expectations had risen throughout the season. He agreed, stating that the Ravens were not too far removed from a Super Bowl champion and had two future Hall of Famers on defense while the Dolphins were building from the ground up. I finished by stating that we were much closer to the 2006 13-3 team than the 5-11 2007 team that was decimated by injuries and combined with the health, depth and amazing progression of the rookie Joe Flacco, that it didn’t matter to the Ravens if Flacco received zero votes for the Rookie of the Year, that coach John Harbaugh received zero votes for the Coach of the Year, and that while I didn’t know if Ed Reed had received any votes for Defensive Player of the Year (he did), I knew the Steelers James Harrison had won it. The Ravens loved not getting any respect and just wanted to prove everybody wrong, just as they did in their Super Bowl Championship season of 2000-2001. He said he totally agreed and thanked me for calling from a Ravens perspective.

It was pretty cool to talk sports on the radio in enemy territory, even cooler to have an open minded talk show host who saw the reality of the situation and pretty much agreed with all my points. It was great to represent the Beatdown, although I would have loved  to have had the opportunity to plug our blog. All in all, it was a great day to watch the replays on the NFL Network and ESPN, as well to read the local papers and hear the sports talk radio hosts and fans lament about their loss and heap (Heeaappp!) praise upon our Baltimore Ravens as we move onto a showdown this Saturday with revenge on our minds against the Titans.

(NOTE: If you have the time, click here to check out this six minute clip of highlights from this past Sunday's game, especially the pick six by Ed Reed, with my personal favorite, the "de-cleating" of the Dolphins' WR Ted Ginn by Haloti Ngata. Priceless!)