Tuesday, December 28, 2010
AFC East Week 16 decisive moment
By Tim Graham
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Each Tuesday throughout the season, I've selected the most decisive moment from the just-played batch of AFC East games.
They've always been a crucial play or sequence pertaining to the outcome of that specific game.
In Week 16, one quick interlude should prove bigger than one victory or defeat.
Ninety seconds probably altered an entire franchise's future.
The Miami Dolphins went from leading by 10 points with less than five minutes left to trailing by seven before the two-minute warning. That this collapse happened in Sun Life Stadium versus the woebegone Detroit Lions only added to the misery and further jeopardized jobs.
Lions running back Jahvid Best took a short pass 53 yards for a touchdown to cut the Dolphins' lead to three points with 4:37 to play.
But that wasn't part of the pivotal 90 seconds.
Three plays later, Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne threw his first interception of the game. The Lions turned the giveaway into a field goal and tied the score with 2:44 remaining.
Three plays later, Henne threw his second interception. Davone Bess fell down on his route. The ball sailed directly to Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy, who ran it back 30 yards for a touchdown with 2:11 to play.
The Lions won 34-27. The Dolphins completed their home schedule 1-7, matching the worst home record in club history.
Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland and head coach Tony Sparano weren't hired by owner Stephen Ross, who values star power. Football operations boss Bill Parcells isn't around to protect his blue-collar protégés anymore either.
Henne has been uninspiring. You have to wonder if the Dolphins will go in a different direction.
Dull and successful can be justified. Dull with one home victory when the owner expects to compete for Super Bowls is another.
Those 90 seconds likely changed a lot of lives in the offseason.