What a disgusting and heartbreaking end to yet another mediocre season of Miami Dolphins football. After climbing to the peak of their season with a huge home win against the New England Patriots, the Dolphins were sitting in a position that other teams could only dream about. All they needed was win out against the less than stellar Buffalo Bills and New York Jets and their goal of reaching the postseason would become a reality. And then two weeks in a row the Miami Dolphins’ offense (forget the rest of the team for a moment) forgot to show up, and OC Mike Sherman finally succeeded in burying this football team for another season.
The last two games of the season were supposed to be two of the more winnable football games for the Miami Dolphins. They were the favorites to take the final Wildcard spot in the AFC, and even controlled their own destiny. And yet, the team that took the field for the final two games looked like a team that was destined for the number one pick in the draft, not the final playoff spot. I understand that the team as a whole was flat and unmotivated, and for that we can surely point the blame at HC Joe Philbin for not preparing his team well enough for battle. But the lack of offensive production falls on Mike Sherman (once again) and his play calling.
How can a team who is fighting for their postseason lives only score 7 points in two games? How can an offense that was coming off of its best two performances (on the road against PIT and at home against NE) get shut out by a mediocre Bills team and only score 7 points against a Jets team that the ‘Fins defeated 23-3 just four weeks prior? It is inexcusable. And it is almost completely Sherman’s fault. True, Ryan Tannehill has made some bad decisions these past two weeks, Brian Hartline was not a factor at all, and the offensive line played horribly against the Bills. However, Tannehill, Hartline or the offensive line are not calling the plays. Part of being a coach in the NFL, a PROFESSIONAL football league, is being flexible and drawing a game plan that suits not only your team but that attacks the opposing defense’s weaknesses. This is something that Sherman has not done consistently once this season. Knowing the ‘Fins’ problems on the O-Line and the fact that the Bills boasted the NFL’s best pass rush would have steered any offensive coordinator away from trying to throw in the pocket or throw the ball down field with long routes. But no, Sherman maintained stubborn and only got his young QB destroyed in a seemingly cursed pocket. Instead of implementing new and creative running plays, Sherman used the read option over and over. He then abandoned the run completely after just 12 attempts of the SAME play. Absolutely ridiculous.
It was bad enough that the Dolphins were shut out in Buffalo. But to rebound from that game and only score 7 points the following week against a division rival at home? That is absurd. Put Tannehill’s interceptions aside for a moment. Forget about Hartline’s injury and the drops that some of the receivers had. The Dolphins were still able to drive the football deep into the New York Jets’ territory. They had an absolutely beautiful drive that resulted in a Mike Wallace TD catch on a fantastic read by Ryan Tannehill. They executed everything right, and Sherman’s play calling was perfect on that drive. And then, as if a switch flipped inside his head, Miami’s OC failed to organize a similar drive, shied away from what was working, and the Miami offense stalled. You can blame it on Tannehill and the offense’s miscues all you’d like, but Mike Sherman is the manipulator behind the marionettes.
Here is my my message to Miami’s owner Stephen Ross. Please save this organization and fan-base the trouble of sitting through these painful games next season and bring some passion and excitement to your coaching staff. If you don’t want to replace Joe Philbin, I understand and that is fine. However, you better replace Mike Sherman and bring in an offensive coordinator who knows what it takes to score points and win football games in this century. Preferably one who is willing to change the game plan when it is not working. Something has got to give in Miami. There is no saying “this year was not our year” or “we’ll get them next year after a great draft.” The truth is, this year was very much “our year.” That is, until Mike Sherman put on the headset and blew it.