During a timeout during that last drive, the cameras zoomed in on Tannehill as he trotted to the sideline to speak with coaches. His face showed on the stadium Jumbotron. He had a giant grin. Biggest moment of his young career, and the kid is enjoying himself.
A moment later, he stuck a 41-yard pass onto Brian Hartline’s hands.
Just after that, Carpenter blew it, and the whole game turned ill-fated.
The Dolphins’ other top rookie, Philbin, did not fare as well as his quarterback down the stretch.
Miami’s play calling got very conservative in overtime, from the point of a first-and-10 at the Jets’ 35. It was as if the team was content to gamble on a long Carpenter field goal try rather than make a play to turn it into a chip-shot kick. It was as if Philbin and his staff curled into a fetal position and stopped trusting Tannehill (who had just completed that 41-yarder).
‘ICE THE KICKER’
Then there was the “icing” debacle.
“Typically we’re going to ice the kicker; make him think about it more,” Philbin said afterward.
Except you call the timeout soon enough that you don’t risk what happened Sunday.
There was apparent indecision on the Miami sideline. Philbin implied the timeout was the plan all along, but TV cameras showed an assistant running up to Philbin as the Jets lined up their kick, and only then was the timeout called.
Ultimately you can’t pin the loss on Philbin, but Sunday suggested he is like any other rookie: a guy who’ll get better with experience.
Sunday underlined a growing pattern we see developing with this team.
Miami’s defense is very good against the run but less so against the pass; Jets receiver Santonio Holmes victimized the Dolphins’ secondary late.
The offense is very good running — and was again Sunday, but less so after Reggie Bush went out mid-game with a sore knee — but still finding its way passing. The receivers haven’t stopped being below average, and Tannehill still needs time to develop and coalesce even as he continues to show encouraging progress.<
Meantime, a Dolphins fan may take solace that there surely won’t be another game lost in quite this way.
Defender Jared Odrick called it “a game that could have been in our favor,” a polite way of saying “a game we had in our grasp and let slip.”
“It’s a funny game,” said Odrick.
Heartbreaking, too, sometimes.