In what might be the most disappointing loses of the season, the Cleveland Browns ran away with a one-point victory, scoring the game-winning touchdown with 43 seconds remaining after the ‘Fins held a lead most of the contest.
Miami opened up a 7-0 lead after taking its second drive of the game 43 yards in four plays, finishing it off with a ten yard passing connection between quarterback Chad Henne and running back Daniel Thomas from ten yards out. the ‘Fins drive was set up by an interception of Browns quarterback Colt McCoy. After their defense held stout for the first three Browns possessions, which net a total of 27 yards, the Browns would come back with a scoring drive of their own mid-way through the second quarter.
Cleveland went 65 yards in just six plays to even up the score, capping off their drive when McCoy found multi-purpose receiver Joshua Crribbs from 33 yards out.
The Dolphins mounted a strong drive to finish the first half, going 72 yards in ten plays, using the aerial exploits of Henne in combination with a heavy bursts of Thomas. But as has been the problem much of the year for their offense, it stalled deep in Cleveland territory, settling for a 23-yard field goal after they had penetrated the Browns ten yard line.
Leading 10-7 going into halftime, red zone issues would only continue in the second half and would eventually play perhaps the most significant factor in the team’s one point loss. They had four second half drives, a low number in part created by four long Browns drives, none of which went for a touchdown.
While they had 140 second half yards, they scored only six points. Their first second half drive, coming after a field goal by the Browns, was easily their best. Henne led the team 79 yards on an incredible 15 plays, chewing up more than eight minutes of the third quarter clock. No play on the drive went for more than ten yards, as the unit grinded its way with runs and short passes, moving the ball to the Browns five yard line before getting called for an unnecessary roughness penalty, moving them back to the 23 where they were forced to kick a field goal.
Miami took a 13-10 heading into the fourth quarter, adding a field goal after a short, 39 yard drive, putting them up 16-10 with just over two minutes left to play. But after holding down the Browns offense throughout the game, they had no answers on the final, decisive drive.
The Browns managed to get off 13 plays in about two minutes, dinking and dunking their way down the field until they reached the Dolphins’ 14 yard line. After allowing a third and five conversion and a fourth and four conversion earlier in the drive, the Dolphins gave up their go-ahead touchdown on first down, a 14 yard scoring strike from McCoy.
With only 47 seconds to attempt to get in field goal range for a game-winning kick, they only managed to get to the Browns 47 yard line before Henne threw a game-ending interception on fourth down. Hopefully this heartbreaking loss will not effect the sale of Dolphins tickets.