Many in the mainstream media called the Miami Dolphins "frauds". A team that couldn't beat the best teams in the league. The Dolphins did nothing to prove them right.
Miami's season came to an end on Saturday night and with it came another blowout defeat.
Against winning teams, the Dolphins number one ranked offense couldn't generate enough points. The defense couldn't stop the bleeding. Miami's offense struggled after they played the Chiefs in Germany but it started before that.
Against the Bills, Miami put up 20 points, against the Eagles they scored 17, but hey, they put up 70 against the Broncos. After playing the Chiefs, however, it all started to go downhill. The bye-week didn't help them get organized.
The Dolphins offense came off the bye week and posted 20 against the Raiders and while they posted 34 against the Jets and 45 against the Commanders, those outputs would be their highest scoring of the remaining games. The Dolphins would eclipse 30 only one more time, against the Jets.
For all the MVP talk and the top Pro Bowl votes, Tua Tagovailoa folded late. Tua didn't throw more than two TDs since the Dolphins played the Patriots in October. Think about that. Tua threw no more than two TDs in any game since Halloween. That spanned 10 games and in those ten games, he threw two TDs only four times, the rest he threw only one. Against the Titans, he didn't throw any.
Yes, the narrative will be that Miami's running game was on point. In that same period of time, Mostert, who tied for the lead in TDs ran for 8 scores and added another through the air. De'Von Achane added only three on the ground and one through the air.
Those are not numbers you would have expected from a team that was billed earlier in the year as the "Greatest Show on Surf". After October, the tide went out. Miami's offense looked more like a lumbering turtle heading back to the ocean rather than a speedy dolphin riding the surf.
Teams figured out Miami's offense. They figured out the motions with Tyreek Hill and took away Tua Tagovailoa's top two reads. Mike McDaniel didn't have an answer so he called short yardage plays and hoped someone could break them.
Miami's offensive line, criticized for years, showed they could run block but they couldn't control the line of scrimmage without problems and discipline was a problem. Pass blocking was a problem. Health was a problem.
It all came crashing down. It all collapsed, not in one big massive blow in but slowly, ever so slowly.
Throughout the year fans called for the Dolphins to change the narrative. Beat a great team and silence the doubters. They failed to beat the Titans and gave up a two-score lead in less than 3 minutes. The boo-birds began to circle, the vultures were already there.
Beating the Jets 30-0 got Miami back on track and when the Dolphins beat the Cowboys, the page was about to turn. The narratives would stop. The media didn't think so. Instead, it was the Cowboys that were talked about after that loss. It was the Cowboys who failed not the Dolphins who succeeded.
The narrative didn't change. The injuries didn't matter, not to the media. Miami couldn't beat a good team above .500 and the Dolphins did nothing to prove they could. They got destroyed by the Ravens and gave up 56 points. They held on closely to the Bills but Miami couldn't hold on in the 2nd half and let the Bills back in to take control of the 4th. Miami lost by 7. Against K.C., they looked out of their league.
Miami has a lot to do this off-season and the narratives and the "fraud" labels are not going to go away, they will get stronger and louder. If Tua Tagovailoa is given an off-season extension, expect it to become a roar.
It is going to be a long time before the Dolphins get another opportunity to shut them up.