After Monday night's 27-23 Colts win over the Dolphins, Chad Pennington had this to say: "It's not about statistics, it's about scoring points and winning football games." He was referring to the now-infamous advantage in time of possession the Dolphins wildcat'd together, and how the game proved to be the exception to the rule that typically links time of possession with victory.
He could have just as easily been talking about his "No. 1 receiver," Ted Ginn Jr.
You might question my use of quotations in referring to Ginn as a top pass-catcher. After all, he is listed first on the depth chart. Literally, then, he is a No. 1 receiver. But he's not a No. 1 receiver.
I mean, yeah, 11 catches for 108 yards looks pretty good for a No. 1 receiver (despite a Michael Clayton-esque 9.8 yards per catch; dig that deep threat ability!). But No. 1 receivers don't just let an amazing run game make the plays and take advantage of the scraps of space. No. 1 receivers make game-breaking plays when they count.
... It's not about statistics, it's about scoring points and winning football games ...
Yes, I did see that 12-yard catch on 4th-and-10 with 22 seconds left, a catch that kept the Dolphins' hopes alive in spite of perhaps the most inept two-minute drill in the history of modern football. I also saw the very next play, in which Ginn had single coverage with Jacob Lacey, an undrafted rookie. I saw Ginn get to the end zone, get position on Lacey, outjump him for the ball, and ... d'oh.
Now tell me: who's the No. 1 receiver, Ginn or this guy?
You can point the finger, I suppose, at the Dolphins defense, which buckled a little too easily in the fourth quarter. You can also point the finger at the team's display of "urgency" in crunch time, giving them only two real cracks at the end zone. Or you can point the finger at Pennington and his noodle arm, which isn't equipped to pick up the big chunks of yards needed when you have to score a touchdown in a limited amount of time.
Still, the fact remains. The Dolphins did have two cracks at the end zone, and on one of them Pennington did get the ball the required 30 yards downfield and right into Ginn's hands. As a result of his inability to catch it, the Dolphins are an unsavory 0-2.
That doesn't seem that impactful on the coaching situation in Miami at this point -- the team was 11-5 last year and we're only two games into the season (by the way, fans of all 32 teams, relax -- there's a lot of season left). But if it continues to go south in Miami, and if Bill Parcells decides to vacate his throne as Chris Mortensen suggested over the weekend, this heartbreaking loss might be the first domino that leads to a new boss bringing in a new coach.
OK, so that's a lot of flimsy speculation (a special talent of mine), but one thing's for sure in the here and now -- Ginn's drop has made Tony Sparano's Tuesday a lot less pleasant.