Professional sports are somehow both highly complex and quite simple at the same time. Simply, at the end of the day, one team wins and another team loses. One player has their hand raised, raises a trophy or gets the big check while another doesn’t. Depending on the result, the winner gets credit and the loser gets the blame.
Yet we know most sports are far more complicated than that.
Professional football has 22 players on the field, weather, the referees and, sometimes, the physical field itself as variables. That complexity has led to the sports media machines, like ours, that pump out constant content.
For fans of the Cleveland Browns, Week 10 was a horrible performance where the team deserves a lot of blame. Yet, the Miami Dolphins also deserve some credit. Where the Browns defense look out of position, Mike McDaniel’s offense was getting them out of position. Where Cleveland’s offense couldn’t find running room, Miami’s defense was busy clogging running lanes.
Yesterday’s loss is one of those complex games to look at. Yes, the Browns looked putrid but, as they say, the Dolphins get paid too.
The first drive showed what Cleveland’s offense could do but Nick Chubb’s fumble on the next drive showed just how razor-thin the margins are for the team. The defense was able to hold Miami to a field goal after the turnover and a turnover on downs the following drive but, without the offense capitalizing, was not able to stop Miami on their next five possessions (four TDs, 1 FG).
As we all dig into the tape from yesterday, watch how the Dolphins offense focused on taking advantage of what they knew was coming from the defense. Watch how Miami’s defense was able to take away the Browns run-centric offense before the scoreboard forced more and more passing plays.
It is easy to focus all the blame on Cleveland but that would be minimizing the positives from the other sideline. Give the Dolphins credit while, also, leveling some blame at the Browns.
Week 10 wasn’t an either/or proposition, instead both/and is appropriate after that shellacking.