It was a call that changed the game.
And it was a total, unquestionable crock.
When Chad Henne threw his third pick to Tennessee safety Michael Griffin in overtime, Griffin ran from Miami's 45 yard-line to the 42, where he slid to the ground, untouched. Griffin wasn't touched down, and as his own teammates motioned for him to get up and keep going, Dolphins receiver Greg Camarillo ran over and pushed Griffin to down him for sure.
The officials threw a flag, charging Camarillo with a personal foul for unnecessary roughness. And instead of starting at the Dolphins' 42 and needing to work their way into field goal position, the Titans were handed it, and the game -- something that should never, ever happen in overtime.
Considering this is football, that call should only be made in overtime if the supposed foul involves a garrote, cosh, blunt object, or shovel. And even then, officials should hesitate.
"I was just told it was a late hit," explained Camarillo. "There was no whistle, the man's down, all his teammates are telling him to get up. I think he starts getting up. Either get him down or knock the ball out, those are my intentions. It's a physical game. It's been a physical game the whole time. Trying to make a physical play. That's what they called. That's how it goes."
The Dolphins, naturally, felt wronged.
"It's hard enough to beat 11 Titans," Channing Crowder huffed in the locker room. "You can't beat 17 Titans. Put that on your sheet."
Of course, there's 7 officials, meaning Crowder counts as well as the officials throw flags. But his complaint is legit, in that the officials shouldn't make the difference, and in this case clearly didn't consider Griffin still in play -- a simple shove isn't worth 15 yards on a player who isn't downed.
Still, though, the Dolphins can only blame themselves for the loss. It is always a team's responsibility to put themselves in a position that one blown call doesn't determine the outcome, and the Dolphins used up all their luck in the fourth quarter: Three interceptions is too many. Eight trips to within the 35 without scoring is too many. Ricky Williams' lost fumble that set up a Titans field goal is one too many. Allowing Tennessee too average 17 yards per reception is too many. Dan Henning's body pumps adrenaline and pure crazy, one ingredient too many.
Ultimately, the bad call shouldn't leave a taste any worse than the first few quarters of Dolphins football, but with a call that bad it's easy to forget.
Janie Campbell is a Florida sports fan who would like the officials from Tennessee to take a long walk off a short pier. Er, figuratively speaking, of course. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the Internet.