I’ve seen a lot of examples of horrible coaching over the years, but this one takes the cake. What Tony Sparano had his Miami Dolphins doing in the final few minutes of their Monday night loss to the Indianapolis Colts is beyond me. I felt like Tom Jackson, with Sparano playing the role of Michael Irvin.
After Peyton Manning and Pierre Garcon hooked up to put the Colts out in front by a score of 27-23, the Dolphins had 3:18 on the clock and two timeouts. Despite the fact that they needed a touchdown and that they were starting on their own 18-yard line, the Dolphins ran just two – two! – plays before the two-minute warning. It had me wondering who the hell had the lead. Did Sparano realize that it was, in fact, his team that needed to score? Miami looked as though it was trying to kill the clock.
They called a timeout at the 2:26 mark, but then proceeded to hand it off, before letting the clock run all the way down to the two-minute warning. After that, they found themselves with a third-and-four on their own 24-yard line, two minutes on the clock, and only one timeout in their back pocket.
Suddenly, they had to rush. The offence had to force things. They went no-huddle on three of the next four plays, with Chad Pennington in the shotgun. In other words, the Colts’ defence knew exactly what to expect. Sure enough, Miami would eventually run out of time, never getting past the Indianapolis 30-yard line. If they needed a field goal to win, they played it perfectly. Unfortunately for them, though, that wasn’t the case.
By taking a ridiculous amount of time before the two-minute warning, the Phins forced themselves to rush things in the final 120 seconds. Indy’s defence was sitting back and waiting for throw after throw. And when the noodle-armed Pennington is your quarterback, the deep ball isn’t exactly threatening.