[UPDATE- The Dolphins’ Andrew Franks had another blocked kick in the Oct. 16 Pittsburgh game, this time from 24 yards. Didn’t cost a game this time, but a very troubling trend]
What do the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes have in common this season?
Each team has lost a game on a blocked kick, and a short one at that.
Of course, everyone is up to speed on the Hurricanes, who were all set to go into overtime with Florida State last Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium until the Seminoles’ DeMarcus Walker broke through the line to block an extra-point try. Final score: FSU 20-19.
That memory is going to stick with Miami fans for a long time, but an earlier breakdown by the Dolphins special-teams has been lost in a flurry of mistakes. That’s how it goes when a team is 1-4.
Think back to the season opener at Seattle on Sept. 11. Neither team was doing much offensively but a fumble by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson gave Miami a golden opportunity early in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 6-3, the Dolphins moved close enough for a field goal to potentially tie the score. The kick should have been a snap, coming from just 27 yards. That’s closer than an NFL extra point.
Seattle’s Cassius Marsh batted it down, however. Sloppy blocking and a kick that probably didn’t get up quick enough, but no big deal right? After all, Ryan Tannehill led a quick touchdown drive moments later to give Miami a 10-6 lead with 4:08 to play.
Problem is, Seattle wasn’t finished. A 75-yard touchdown drive put the Seahawks in front with 35 seconds to go.
Once again, a kick got blocked, this time Seattle’s PAT try, by Miami’s Jason Jones. That made the final score 12-10, which means that Franks’ chip shot earlier in the quarter could have provided the winning margin.
It’s all part of the game, and it’s not a simple part, either.
Getting that kick up and through, from any distance, is a coordinated effort by 11 players taking each of their jobs very seriously.
Botch it and the consequences are serious, too.
In the case of the Dolphins, that blocked field goal cost Adam Gase some vital momentum in his first game as an NFL head coach. For the Hurricanes, missing an extra point has extended their losing streak to seven games against the Seminoles.
It’s like the old golf adage. Drive for show, putt for dough. Touchdowns and kicks are kind of the same way. If fans in our market had forgotten that, this early fragment of the 2016 season has been a tough reminder.