The Miami Dolphins had been consistently inconsistent all season, but finally seemed to get it together during a three-game win streak which featured them beating the New England Patriots in miraculous fashion. But the Dolphins finished the season in soul-crushing fashion, getting routed by the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets in back-to-back weeks to miss the playoffs and squash any hope of this team finally taking the next step.
The Dolphins got dominated by the Bills in every way throughout the game. Against the Jets, the Dolphins seemed to have momentum early. They were looking as though they recovered from last week, but then the Dolphins blew an early seven-point lead by giving up 14 unanswered points. The Jets never looked back. The Dolphins made too many mistakes to overcome, highlighted by Ryan Tannehill’s three interceptions.
But the Dolphins also had many costly penalties and drops. Rishard Matthews’ drop near the end of the first half was devastating to the Dolphins, as not only did it stop the Dolphins from getting a first down (and possibly touchdown), but it allowed the Jets to get the ball back before halftime and score a touchdown themselves, giving them 14 unanswered points.
The Dolphins’ disappointing linebackers were again a subject of much scrutiny. Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe did not play the way they needed to in order for them to win. The Jets’ had 154 yards rushing and both of their touchdowns came on the ground. The most embarrassing play of the day came from Ellerbe when he was ran over by Geno Smith on Smith’s way into the endzone.
From this season (and last two games specifically) we have learned that this Miami team is no different than teams of past. Inconsistency and mediocrity is what it hangs its hat on. Its collapse to end the season shows a lack of passion and fire, and that might be a direct reflection of head coach Joe Philbin. While this Dolphins team is close to being good, they still aren’t making the plays that playoff teams make, which is why they will be watching the postseason from the couch.
“Just wait till next year” has been Dolphins fans’ motto for years. Unfortunately, it will have to be the motto once more as the 2013 season is over. Will the Dolphins work their way out of the inconsistent/mediocre category in the offseason? If the answer is no, then it might be time for Mr. Ross to start over with his management.