Sometimes you get pushed around.
Some teams simply push you up and down the field. They dominate you from the word go. They absolutely control the line of scrimmage, the control the entire game.
The Buffalo Bills. The New York Jets. The Baltimore Ravens. Each of them has bullied the Miami Dolphins over the last few years.
It is not even about wins and losses. It is the way it happens. Every team will suffer losses. Even worse is when you are bullied.
When a team bullies you it goes beyond Xs-and-Os, it goes beyond the physical. It gets in your head. It is so hard to work through this kind of domination.
Last Sunday the Dolphins faced one of these ‘bully teams’, the Ravens.
How dominant had the Ravens been?
The last time the Dolphins beat the Raven was 2007 in a game and a play which saved them from finishing the season winless.
The games were not blowouts but they were losses. There was absolutely a big monkey set squarely on those Dolphins teams backs.
Last Sunday could easily have gone that way. Baltimore controlled the ball for over 38 minutes of the game. Rolling up 375 yards and 22 first downs against the Dolphins defense, compared with 219 yards and only 8 first downs.
The Dolphins only ran 46 plays compared with 75 by the Ravens. Any other time you would say the Ravens dominated…until you looked at the scoreboard. Somehow the Dolphins won 15-13.
The defense made just enough stops: holding on a fourth-and-1 at their own one, Jordan Phillips batting a pass into the air for Reshad Jones to intercept.
The offense did just enough. The running game kept them in the game despite a fumble on a long run by Lamar Miller. And Ryan Tannehill having one of his worst game, a game where he wildly missed on at least two passes, managed to hit rookie Devante Parker for a 38-yd touchdown.
They did what they needed to. They made just enough plays. They beat the bully.
Truthfully the win is all that matters.