That apparent fog that haunts Sherman cost the team a victory on Sunday.
Consider that despite a poor start, the Dolphins — superior in talent to Buffalo — held a 21-20 lead with 3:39 to play in the game. The Dolphins had the ball at their own 48-yard line.
Three running plays and a punt by the NFL’s leading punter and the Dolphins would have still been leading with Buffalo getting the ball likely no better than its own 20-yard line with only two minutes or so to play.
That would have been the worst-case scenario. But suppose, in a game the Dolphins averaged 4.8 yards per rush against the NFL’s 28th-ranked run defense, Miami would have picked up a rushing first down?
The game would have been practically over.
So the Dolphins ran the ball, right?
Sherman called — and Philbin approved — a pass on a five-step drop on second down that led to disaster. Clabo let Williams power inside of him and sack Tannehill.
And Tannehill, who led the Dolphins with six fumbles before the game, understandably added to that lead when Williams plowed into him as the quarterback was waiting for receiver Brian Hartline to come back toward him on a route.
“He was going to run a stop route,” Tannehill said, “so he’s going to end up stopping and coming back to me. The [cornerback] is on top of him. He ended up winning. He was going to come open right when I was letting it go. It was that close.”
So blame fate, right? Sometimes those other guys that also get paid make plays, right?
A coach who weighs his players’ limitations understands Clabo is on pace to give up a sack a game and asking him to block Williams one-one-one is not a high percentage play because so much can go wrong. Sherman went with the call anyway.
And the galling thing is that afterward, Sherman was not allowed to explain his reasoning because the Dolphins don’t allow their assistants to speak after games. And Philbin, who does speak, was dismissive about the whole thing.
“There’s always more than one option when it comes to doing things,” Philbin said when asked about the play choice. “We ran the ball on first down, we got 2 yards, making it second-and-8. We believed we had a good play called, so we called the play.
“You can always — every time you pass the ball, you can run it and when you run it, you can pass it.”
That’s not exactly the kind of reasoning anyone can believe in. The honeymoon is over.