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Dolphins defense shows the Vikings how to 'phinnish'

I'm creating a new word to describe the old-school, 2010 Miami Dolphins. The 2-and-0-on-the-road, run-it-down-your-throat, stuff-you-at-the-goal-line Miami Dolphins. The "we make teal look mean" Miami Dolphins. Get ready for it…


It loosely and phonetically connects the theme of this article to Miami's undefeated team. Let it mean whatever you want it to mean. It's what they do. It's how they play. It's who they are.

The Tony SparanoDolphins do not simply accept defeat. On the contrary, more often than not, they find a way to win. 'Phinnish football reads like this:

» Heading into 2008, Sparano's first season, Miami had one of the worst passing games in the NFL. It started the season 0-2, was outscored 51-24, and looked destined to go 4-12. So they took a chance and implemented the Wildcat offense, an innovative use of misdirection that became the Dolphins' calling card. It wasn't just a gimmick to help sustain drives, but a diverse package capable of producing explosive plays. Since incorporating the Wildcat, the Dolphins have gone 20-12.

» During Sparano's tenure, the Dolphins have the NFL's third-fewest penalties and fourth-fewest turnovers. They are 17-6 in games decided by single digits, and 11-7 on the road. They have won in places like New England, Denver, Kansas City, New York, Jacksonville, and now... Minnesota.

Nothing could define my new favorite word better than the Dolphins' goal-line stand against the Vikings last Sunday. Historically, the Metrodome provides one of the league's best home-field advantages, and the Vikings were undefeated there last year.

The Dolphins were clinging to a 14-10 lead late in the fourth quarter, when running back Ronnie Brown fumbled the football.

It was an especially poorly timed turnover, considering the Dolphins' defense had already been on the field for over 31 minutes and was beginning to fatigue.

They looked tired as Adrian Peterson rushed for 20 yards on the next three plays.

With just over three minutes remaining in the game, the Vikings faced a third-and-goal from the Dolphins' 4 yard line. Our Anatomy of a Play segment illustrates how the Dolphins' defense denied one of the league's best running backs, on his 27th and 28th carries of the game, from scoring the go-ahead touchdown.

Time to get 'Phinnish!

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