Sometimes, good football teams lose to bad football teams and last Monday night, the Miami Dolphins did just that. They may have left the game physically banged up but this is still the top seed in the AFC East.
No, losing to the Titans didn't suddenly make the Miami Dolphins a bad football team. If this team is as good as everyone said they were before the loss, they should be even better this week. Did the loss wake a giant? Will it serve as a wake-up call?
Throughout the week we have heard all the talk of playoff scenarios from the Dolphins players and we can see where they got complacent and let up in the final minutes of the game. It was as though they simply thought 14 points was enough with 4 minutes left. After all, the Titans' offense hadn't done much the entire game. Lesson learned, or at least it should be learned.
The Eagles were undefeated and lost to the lowly Jets. That should serve as a call to the Dolphins this week as well. Yes, they could lose to New York in front of their home crowd and that could be something that changes the narrative a lot more than losing to the Titans.
Tua Tagovailoa didn't have a good game. Tyreek Hill is banged up. Connor Williams is out for the year. Yet, it could be a lot worse.
Mike McDaniel has to get his team prepped and ready on a short week and he has to avoid a similar year-end collapse that plagued the team last year when Miami entered the final stretch, 8-3 before dropping five in a row before beating the Jets in the season finale.
This is where Mike McDaniel will prove that he is a good football coach worthy of this job at the NFL level. The gun-and-run offense may be fast, furious, and fun, but when a team faces adversity, it is the head coach who must pull them out of it. Coach them. Can he?
Many fans agree that McDaniel is a good football coach and there is no reason to believe that he is not but like it or not, this is a critical time for him. This team is built well enough to win in the playoffs but they have to get there first.
There is nothing easy about the next four games and this is where McDaniel needs to shine. This team is not bad because they lost to the Titans any more than they were frauds for losing to the Bills, Eagles, and Chiefs. They are bad only if they let themselves be bad.
Injuries are an excuse for no one but the player who is injured and for them it isn't an excuse outside of convincing themselves it's o.k. to have to sit out. Miami is banged up. They got brutalized and bullied on Monday night and now they have to find a way to pull up the straps and get back to work.
Miami may not have Tyreek Hill this week and if they do, it will not be the version Miami fans are used to seeing. So, this is where Jaylen Waddle needs to step in and become a leader. This is where Cedrick Wilson needs to step up and earn his paycheck.
No, Miami isn't a bad team, they simply had a bad game, and now, they need to have a very good game and get back to their style of football.