The reasons the Dolphins lost
As Shakespeare would say, let me count the ways:
1. The Dolphins lost because the defense doesn't seem to understand the English language. After the game Zach Thomas admitted there was as many communication problems out there as any game he's played in.
Those communication problems led to several of Miami's breakdowns, especially in the secondary. It surely led to Heath Miller's 87-yard completion and non touchdown touchdown.
2. Ah, the Miller TD. Sorry, but Nick Saban and his coaching staff blew it on that one. It took them seemingly a minute to do what everyone expected them to do right away -- ask for a review.
Sitting in the press box, getting the same feed the coaches get, I could tell almost right away Miller stepped out of bounds before he crossed the goal line. Yet ... no challenge from Saban.
The Steelers celebrated the score ... no challenge.
The teams ran their extra point teams on the field ... no challenge.
I had a hamburger and coke ... still no challenge.
Finally, Saban got around to challenging and even this was an abortion. He double-pumped the throw of the challenge flag. And when he threw it, the former high school quarterback fired underhanded.
And he underthrew it! It didn't reach the closest official. Not even close. It was a half-hearted effort to say the least. No wonder the official didn't see it.
3. Daunte Culpepper, the franchise quarterback didn't exactly play up to expectations. I'm sorry, I understand the guy is being courageous playing although he is not 100 percent. But the final 5 minutes were Feeleylike.
He threw the interception to Troy Palomalu. Then he came back with the interception by Joey Porter that was returned for a TD. Game over.
Hate to say it, but Culpepper didn't have a reputation for being a big-game QB before the game. And he still doesn't.
4. The running game. Or lack thereof. Don't know how much of it is Ronnie Brown, how much is the offensive line, and how much is the excellence of Pittsburgh's defense. But the three conspired to shut down Miami's run.
One point: You will hear from coach Saban or players in the next few days that the Steelers have one of the strongest defenses in the NFL and it is no dishonor to struggle to run against them.
But don't the Dolphins have a fine defense, too? And Willie Parker got 100-plus yards anyway. So don't buy that lame excuse.
OK, my flight is getting ready to board. With the way things have gone in the last 12 hours, I just hope it doesn't go down.