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Dolphins Game Changing Plays: Week 3 Edition

The Miami Dolphins loss to the New York Jets this Sunday night still hurts to think about, especially when they were so close to winning the game.

But there were a couple of key plays that turned the momentum of the game completely around for the Dolphins, and ultimately lost them the game.

Coincidentally, almost all of the plays involved starting cornerback Jason Allen, but I’ll get into him a little later.

5.  67 yard touchdown catch by Braylon Edwards:

While this was a huge play, and put Miami in the backseat only seconds after they took the lead, there was still a lot of time left in the game. The play occurred in the middle of the 3rd quarter, right after Chad Henne and Brandon Marshall connected for a touchdown.

On this play, cornerback Jason Allen without a doubt slipped on the sod as he was coming in to make a tackle. But while the newly placed sod can be partially blamed for Allen slipping, the play was without a doubt in my mind Allen’s fault as soon as he lined up on Edwards. Allen gave Edwards one of the biggest cusions I have ever seen, and because of the cushion that he was given, Allen had to come racing in to make the tackle in time, but this idea failed.

Allen made a couple bad plays during the Sunday night game against the Jets, but I am looking to see whether he can bounce back or not before making any judgements.

For some reason, whenever the Dolphins cornerbacks play off of their receivers, bad things happen, and this was no exception. This play gave the Jets the lead for good, and while there was still time on the clock to make something happen, if the Jets would have been held to even a field goal here, the game would have been completely different.

4. Failed 3rd Down Conversion:

This was one of the biggest potential plays of the game, and also one of the plays that hurt the Dolphins the most.

Facing a 3rd and 7, Chad Henne passed to Marshall, and Marshall slipped trying to spin past Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie was the last line of defense, and as Cris Collinsworth said on the telecast, “He could have walked in backwards!”. If Marshall would have broken this tackle late in the game, on the Fins next to last drive, it would have forced the Jets to come up with an answer, and put a little more pressure on Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez to pull off a game winning drive.

3. Jets  3rd and Long Conversion:

This was yet another epic fail for Allen in coverage, and yet another play which drew some comments from Collinsworth.

On a 3rd and 10 play, the Jets were obviously looking for Edwards, their playmaker of the night, and Allen was even helped in coverage by Yeremiah Bell at the end of the route by Edwards. But instead of trying to give Edwards nothing short, or under him, he allowed Edwards to maneuver himself so that he was almost “boxing out” Allen, and was able to not only come up with the first down, but was able to come up with a 20 yard reception.

The Dolphins had the Jets in their own territory during this 3rd down, and was one of the most crucial 3rd downs of the night, and if Allen covered the play correctly, would have given him a chance at an interception or at least a breakup, and ultimately, Miami getting the ball back, which would have prevented the Jets from scoring the touchdown that clinched the game pretty much.

Of the “game-sealing” drive that the Jets put on at the end, this was the  second biggest play of the drive. They were pinned in their own territory, 3rd and long, but the Dolphins couldn’t come up with the biggest stop of the game to that point.

2. The Blocked Punt:

This was a huge play for the Jets, and was the first time Miami punter Brandon Fields has had one of his punts blocked in his whole career! This could not have come at a worse time for the Dolphins. The Jets only scored 3 points off of this play, but who is to say that the Jets would have scored any points if they did not have such good field position?

The man that was let through was allowed by a mental mistake by Erik Walden, who is no longer on the roster because of this mental lapse. This gave the Jets all the momentum that they needed, and if it wasn’t for yet another colossal defensive stand by the defense, the Jets may have gotten a touchdown, and put the game on ice.

1. Pass Interference Call On Jason Allen In Endzone:

This was the nail in the coffin for the Fins. The Miami D was facing a 3rd and Goal, and Sanchez tossed a pass to the back corner of the endzone, a jump ball, and Braylon Edwards maneuvered his body so Jason Allen was unable to fully get his head around so that it was noticeable. Instead of it being now 4th and Goal, it is 1st and Goal on the 1 yard line. The Jets eventually scored a touchdown, and put themselves up by 8 points, which was the deciding factor. This was the defining play of the game, and with Edwards showing his veteran experience, and showing Allen how it’s done, I really can’t say that I didn’t see this coming. Edwards was involved in almost every crucial play for the Jets during crunch time, and proved that he is indeed a weapon that can be a game-changer when he is not on the bench.

On to Allen. One of my biggest questions during the game was why Mike Nolan did not change around the Dolphins scheme so that our #1 cornerback was matched up with the Jets #1 receiver. Usually that is what defenses do, match their corners up with a receiver. But what the Dolphins do, and this is realy starting to kill them, is they assign their corners to one side of the field instead of a man, and allow the offense to dictate the matchups.

After Allen started to get manhandled in the second half, one would think that the defense would have made the switch, but they stayed true to Allen, and the decision in the end did not pay off.

Now I am impressed with Allen so far this year, and am really starting to like him as a player, but it was this game that I was waiting for out of our former #1 draft pick.

It will be this next week’s game though that really determines whether or not Allen is the real deal or not. Allen has always been about confidence. When he is up he is up, and when he is down, he is well, very down.

Let’s see if Allen can bounce back against the Patriots and their high-octane aerial attack, and then we may be able to start making assumtpions as to what Jason Allen we will be seeing over the rest of the season.

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