With the Dolphins’ loss Sunday against the 49ers, Miami is more or less extuingished from the playoff race. While you can point a finger here or there to pin the the Dolphins’ woes on, the reality is that this team was in virtually every game this year, barring the excruiciating massacre versus the Titans (a loss that still leaves me shocked). With a couple of reversed calls or bounces going our way, Miami could very much still be in the driver’s seat as a Wildcard spot or even making a push for the AFC East. Let’s take a look at the “little things” that have happened in the Dolphins’ losses this year. I understand that some of these things are actually big things too, but for the most part they can be fixed!
Week 1 @ Houston: Tannehill had a ghastly six minute stretch in the second quarter that took a close ball game and blew it wide open for the Texans. Part of the problem was the offensive line struggled to hold their blocks and keep grasshopper J.J. Watt from tipping Tannehill’s passes. One could also question Tannehill’s mechanics, but Watt has tipped what seems like 1,000 balls all year long.
Week 2 Vs. New York Jets: Dan Carpenter missed a 48 yard field goal in OT that would have given the Fins the win. But, in regulation, Tannehill rolled right and threw a pick six to LaRon Landry instead of throwing the ball away.
Week 4 @ Arizona Cardinals: Carpenter missed another field goal late that would have iced it, but on a bigger note the Fins D failed to stop the Cardinals on a 4th and 10 from the Miami 15 yard line with 29 seconds to go in the end. Ouch.
Week 9 @ Indianapolis Colts: Sean Smith failed to catch a crucial interception late in the 4th that would have put Miami in excellent position to take the lead 27-23 or atleast tie the game 23-23.
Week 10 Vs. Tennessee Titans: Did the Dolphins even show up to this game? I don’t want to talk about this one.
Weel 11 @ Buffalo Bills: One of the ugliest games of the year, but the Fins gave up a special teams touchdown and Offensive Coordinator Mike Sherman failed to score when it counted or even move the ball on the anemic Bills defense. I strictly remember awful play calling in this one.
Week 13 Vs. New England Patriots: Reshad Jones’ pick six got called back on a confusing cancellation of penalties which ultimately cost Miami a touchdown and the momentum; The Fins D failed to stop the NE offense and allowed a 7 minute drive late in the fourth which culminated in a game clinching field goal.
Week 14 @ San Francisco 49ers: Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi put PR Marcus Thigpen in to return a punt inside the Miami 10 yard line instead of Davon Bess, which he muffed, leading to a 49ers touchdown on the resulting drive. The Fins also failed to get in the end zone besides an incredible grab by Fasano.
While you may be quick to blame the Dolphins’ troubles on the lack of a playmaker or a struggling offensive line, when you really look at it, the Fins have had their chances this year. Joe Philbin put this team in a position to win games, and ultimately it came down to failed execution, which is expected in a relatively young team. The way I see it, the Dolphins can only get better, but have already shown a turnaround under Philbin and Tannehill. We can either keep our heads up and hope Ireland will break his trend and go for some playmakers in the 2013 draft, or complain. Whatever path you choose, remember to keep your FINS UP!