Dolphins beat three teams still fighting in playoffs

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 15: Jarvis Landry
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 15: Jarvis Landry /

The Dolphins underperformed in the eyes of many with a 6-10 record, but the ironic thing is that half of those wins came against teams still currently fighting it out in the playoffs.

It was a tough season for sure for the Miami Dolphins in 2017. After a 10-6 season, and the team’s first playoff berth in eight seasons just a year ago, 6-10 sure does seem like a major step back on the surface. It’s disappointing to say the least for the team, and their fans, knowing that they are now focusing on the draft, meanwhile, eight other teams are still fighting it out in the playoffs.

Building off of last season’s success, and offseason programs, expectations were definitely high heading into the season. Unfortunately, losing Ryan Tannehill for the season with a torn ACL during training camp, plus a plethora of other injuries, mixed with other things out of their control, things didn’t pan out well.

Changes and adjustments will, obviously, need to be made to turn the page back to the winning side. In fact, Miami has already begun that process by already making multiple coaching changes. The most recent of those changes being the firing of running backs coach Danny Barrett.

One thing that the Dolphins can be proud of, however, and build on for next season, is the success that they had against playoff teams still currently playing. Half of the games Miami won this season came against teams still fighting it out in the divisional round of the playoffs.

The first of those came against Tennessee in Week 5, which conveniently was a part of this year’s Web Weekend, where some of us from PhinPhanatic, and other popular websites dedicated to the Dolphins got to enjoy the festivities. Miami was fortunate enough that week to face Matt Cassel instead of Marcus Mariota while he recovered from injury. A difference at quarterback may have made a difference, but we’ll never know for sure.

The following week Miami completed one of their more impressive victories on the season. After falling behind 17-0 to the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons on the road, the Dolphins stunned everyone with 20 unanswered points in the second half. A Reshad Jones interception on the Falcons final drive sealed the win for Miami.

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The only victory probably more impressive than that was Miami’s surprisingly dominant performance against New England on a Monday night in Week 14. The Dolphins had lost to the Patriots two weeks prior to that, 35-17, at Gillette Stadium. The only other team still alive in the playoffs to defeat Miami was New Orleans, who manhandled the Dolphins in London early in the year.

It’s a good sign knowing that Miami found success against some of the better teams this season. Nothing will matter by the start of next season, but it shows that the Dolphins can be a competitive team that hopefully can catapult back into the playoffs next year.

It should be noted that in addition to their losses against New England and New Orleans, the Dolphins also lost both meetings against Buffalo, along with games against Carolina and Kansas City. Those three teams were playoff teams this year that were eliminated last week. That’s a clear indicator that even though Miami can play with the best of them in this league, they can also lose to just about anyone if they’re not careful. Losses to the Jets, Raiders, and Bucs to name a few, prove that even more so.

If Miami is serious about getting back to the playoffs they have to be serious about the “one game at a time” approach. There is too much competition in this league to overlook anyone. My instincts tell me that the Dolphins will remain more focused in the coming year, and hopefully, stay a bit more healthy. If this comes to fruition, there’s no reason to think Miami won’t be back in the playoffs this time next year.