Dolphins finally have something to savor
Vail, CO Colorado
DAVIE, Fla. ” Cam Cameron was still smiling Monday, with good reason.
Sure, his Miami Dolphins own the NFL’s worst record. Cameron’s job security is a hot topic, the team is apparently for sale and a game with unbeaten New England awaits next Sunday in chilly Foxborough.
Yet after 13 weeks of frustration and disappointment, the Dolphins finally got a win ” and even though Monday was a day to start prepping for the Patriots, Cameron certainly seemed like he was savoring this one.
“I can’t remember getting so many hugs from people prior to this game and so many calls and messages after a game,” the Dolphins’ first-year coach said. “I guess that’s just part of being the underdog and coming through. … There were a lot of people pulling for us.”
At long last, those people were rewarded Sunday.
Greg Camarillo caught Cleo Lemon’s short pass and ran away for an overtime touchdown that gave Miami a 22-16 win over the Baltimore Ravens. It snapped a 16-game losing streak and put an emphatic end to the will-it-be-an-imperfect-season story line that dogged Miami for weeks.
Yes, these Dolphins will go down as a bad team, but not a historically bad one.
“I don’t have to change my name now,” defensive tackle Keith Traylor said.
Once Camarillo found the end zone, players spilled on the field in joy, then continued to celebrate in the locker room. Owner Wayne Huizenga acknowledged shedding a tear in his suite, then eventually found his way to field level to wrap Cameron in a long embrace.
Clearly, 1-13 never felt so good to so many.
“It’s just a culmination of a lot of what’s built up in these guys,” Cameron said. “There has been a lot of hard work. Nobody had given up. Nobody had thrown in the towel. And that’s obviously why we do what we do, to play well, to play as well as we can play and ultimately win.”
For as good as the win felt, Cameron obviously knows it hardly cures all the Dolphins’ ills.
The team has been decimated by injuries, and now could be without linebacker Channing Crowder for the remainder of the season. Crowder will have his left knee scoped by Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday, which would suggest the former Florida standout may not be available for the final two games.
Huizenga told Cameron to go home and enjoy the win Sunday night, which the coach did, perhaps somewhat grudgingly. He hadn’t been in the team’s media room for 45 seconds Monday before starting to speak about the “great challenge” Miami will have when facing the Patriots (14-0).
Such is life in the NFL. Win or lose, the coach always wants to immediately move on to what’s next ” and Cameron hopes finally getting that victory may give the Dolphins a much-needed boost heading into these final two games.
“You keep talking about things that relate to winning in this league, and now you do those things and you win, you’d like to think that sinks in a little bit,” Cameron said. “You continue to practice, even when things aren’t going your way, practice and prepare at a high level, and then the bottom line is you have to make some plays. And there were a lot of plays made in that game.”
For once, the plays went Miami’s way.
Jason Taylor’s blocked field goal at the end of the half? “Tremendous,” Cameron said.
The execution on the 64-yard Lemon-to-Camarillo pass? “Impressive,” Cameron added.
And even as he watched Camarillo run away from the pursuing Ravens, Lemon didn’t want to believe the Dolphins had won the game.
“The first thing I did was look for a flag because that’s the kind of season we’ve been having,” Lemon said. “Every time we have a big play, I’m looking for a flag.”
The only flag that came out this time was a huge banner with the Dolphins logo, swaying from side to side as whatever was left of the crowd gave Miami a post-victory salute for the first time in a long, long time.
“It should give guys some confidence,” Cameron said.
The beleaguered coach might get some confidence as well.