There comes a time when being “in contention” for the NFL’s post-season is no longer enough. Last year the Miami Dolphins managed to mathematically stay alive until week 16. They improved on that this year by one week. They improved on their record by one game. Guess what? It doesn’t matter. The Miami Dolphins are once again going to sit at home and watch the playoffs as they limp out of their season.
Last week against the Buffalo Bills the Dolphins put up a big fat zero on the scoreboard and this week managed to put up a whooping seven against a Jets team that has given up big games. They were flat, unaggressive, and showed little determination. If you didn’t know any better they already had a playoff spot locked up and were simply taking care not to get injured. In other words…
They were pathetic.
Early on it looked like we were going to see a typical Miami Dolphins game. The ones where they have opportunities to put the game away but don’t. They never had an opportunity. The Jets didn’t beat them, they completely beat themselves. Ryan Tannehill looked far from his normal self while the defense once again showed up only to prove that the pre-season hype was nothing more than hype. The Jets pounded the ball at the Dolphins who still had no answers on how to stop it. They couldn’t stop Geno Smith who looked like a Pro-Bowl QB. The Dolphins simply looked stagnant and uninspired.
Stephen Ross will not fire his head coach and his head coach will not fire either the defensive coordinator or his offensive coordinator. I hate to the be the bearer of bad news but it’s the reality of the Dolphins situation. Make no mistake however, he should seriously consider it. Philbin will get his pass on the way he held this team together during the Jonathan Martin situation but the truth is he has failed to instill anything in this team. No fire, no drive, no urgency. The list could go on and on.
The Dolphins controlled their own fate not once but twice this season and while they didn’t control their fate today the score on the big board at SunLife Stadium clearly showed that the Bengals were going to win and give Miami a simple win and your in situation. Yet despite the news in Cincinnati the Dolphins didn’t seem to care.
The season was punctuated with today’s play. They never looked like they were driven to win this game. No spark, no fire. They went through the motions like someone was going to hand it to them. The Jets were fighting for their coaches job, for pride, and for 2nd place in the division. Miami was fighting for a post-season birth. Apparently that isn’t enough. Perhaps Philbin should have reminded the players of the extra bonus money they receive for the extended season.
Focus will now turn to the off-season that rests three months away. The Dolphins will need to revamp, completely, the offensive line. Look for new linebackers, and with the number of free agents on their roster they will be looking to fill a few more soon to be holes as well. While the team will search for answers with personnel they should be looking for answers at coaching. Today’s game was a representation of their head coach and while Joe Philbin is a well respected man, he fails to ignite his team to play.
The Miami Dolphins are out of the playoffs. Not because Baltimore won or San Diego lost but because they simply couldn’t play. That’s the shame of it all.