November 20, 2009
Any team that were to lose their starting quarterback three games into the season, starting running back mid-way through the year and a starting veteran corner somewhere in between would likely be labeled under the "doomed" column. Add to that, two games in five days entering weeks nine and ten, and you have yourselves a rendition of the movie "2012." Nevertheless, the Miami Dolphins battled through adversity on Thursday and now find themselves at .500 with 10 games under their belt.
To make their chances of succeeding slimmer, the Dolphins lost Jason Ferguson and cycled through three different centers in Thursday's game, yet found a way to leave Carolina with a valuable victory. Many teams in the league would have found themselves in a hole too deep to dig out of.
Just imagine Indianapolis losing Peyton Manning and Joseph Addai or Minnesota losing Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson. It would be disastrous.
Miami was fortunate to have Chad Henne on standby and a wealth or running backs behind Ronnie Brown. The insurance policies were definitely in place for situations such as these.
This is what it means to be a well structured football team - where the foundations set are solid and methodical. It's not a coincidence that Miami kept Lex Hilliard, a fourth running back, on the 53-man roster and re-signed Ricky Williams to an extension. It's no mystery why Chad Henne worked closely under the tutalage of Chad Pennington all of last season. These were fail-safe precautions that were put in place by the Trifecta.
At moments during Thursday's game it seemed as if getting injured was a fad, with bulky linemen flopping to the ground like it was a new style. Things didn't look good, but in the end, all was good. That is because the Dolphins were focused on leaving Bank of America Stadium with a win, regardless of the circumstances.
That is what is known as resilience: the ability to rise from shambles and emerge in triumph.
Where Miami was at a loss in manpower, it was at an advantage in willpower - having players step up in the most crucial situations. Joey Porter awoke from his dreary slumber and sacked Jake Delhomme twice, both on third down situations. Davone Bess made a few clutch grabs to keep drives alive with first downs. Even Ted Ginn got in on the action, pulling in four catches for 32 yards. And don't leave out the Williams-Hilliard tandem as they combined for 143 yards rushing, with Ricky scoring all three of Miami's touchdowns (one reception TD) and Lex breaking loose for two first down rushes.
While the status of various Dolphins players under close examination, Miami can take a breather before facing their next opponent, the Buffalo Bills. Their nine days of rest will serve as a semi-bye week that will assist in the recovery process. One can only hope that they do not lose momentum and continue to build off of their success in that span.
As the NFL Network eagerly stated in their statistic of the night, at least one 5-5 team has reached the playoffs in 22 of the last 23 seasons. That is a trend Miami would like to personally continue.