It would seem the Miami Dolphins were given a huge gift in the form of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night. With all the drama and distractions surrounding the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin situation, the Dolphins couldn’t have asked for a better matchup than facing the NFL’s last winless team with a long week to prepare.
With two of their offensive lineman missing time amidst the controversy, a terrible Tampa Bay team should’ve been what the Fins needed to battle through their current mess, but they couldn’t take advantage. Even with 11 days to get ready, Miami came out flat, falling behind 15-0 early, and were lucky the Bucs only put up that much with the Fins refusal to both tackle and block in the first half.
With virtually no help from the running game that managed just two yards on 14 carries, Ryan Tannehill responded to an early 15-point deficit by leading the Fins on four-straight scoring drives to take a 19-15 lead. It wasn’t enough as the Bucs answered back with a TD drive that put the game away for good, and knocked Miami back in the AFC playoff race.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos being in the same division all but locks up one of the two wild card berths in the AFC, and there are several teams in the running for the last spot. The New York Jets currently lead that pack with records of 5-4, but the Dolphins and five other teams are right behind them with 4-5 records. While the Fins are still mathematically in the race, it’s tough to imagine them making a push for the playoffs after Monday’s pathetic performance .