Miami Dolphins: Is This the Beginning of the End of the Season?
No one knew what to expect this week as the Miami Dolphins were on their way to face the Buffalo Bills. We thought that thrashing Miami suffered against the New England Patriots was an outlier. We didn’t think that was the way it would always be in competition.
Or maybe we did expect this. Maybe we were really just living on some foolish concept of optimism with the Dolphins. Maybe we were sipping on the same Dolphins Kool-Aid that we always drink on. You know that same Kool-Aid that we sip before the year begins when we say things like “this is finally the year when we win the AFC East, get into the playoffs, and potentially compete for a Super Bowl.” Maybe optimism is out of the window when it comes to this team.
On Sunday night, many hearts in South Florida were broken knowing that the beloved Miami Dolphins won’t most likely be competing in the playoffs. The Dolphins traveled up to the cold harsh reality of Buffalo, New York and once again got thrashed. The Dolphins went back to Miami with their tail between their legs as they lost to the Bills 33-17.
During the postgame conference, Miami Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell said this. ”That was certainly not the way we wanted it to go, or expected it to go. Yeah, we know all the negatives.”
After winning their first two games under interim head coach Campbell where Miami looked like they had turned the corner and looked like an unstoppable team. The team has been in the regression for the last two games getting bodied their competition. What hurts even more about losing to the Bills on Sunday was the playoff implication behind it. With their latest loss, the Dolphins most certainly will not win the AFC East division dropping to a 0-4 record within the division.
The most glaring part of Sunday’s loss to Buffalo was the lack of a run defense. To win on the road teams have to have the ability to stop the running game. When temperatures are colder, and the weather is less than perfect condition to play because the wind is gusting, teams will prepare to run the ball 20 or 30 times. In order to get the offense off of the field, especially a team with an average starting quarterback, you need to stop the run. Against Buffalo, Miami didn’t do that and they paid the price. The Bills racked up 266 rushing yards and they were led by LeSean McCoy who had 112 yards rushing and a touchdown. In addition, rookie running back Karlos Williams had 110 yards rushing and two more rushing touchdowns. This was a complete flip of the Campbell led Dolphins we’ve grown to see because in their last three games Miami allowed a combined 229 rushing yards.
Furthermore, Buffalo’s Sammy Watkins took complete advantage of the mismatch the Dolphins threw at him.
Cornerback Brent Grimes was covering Watkins most of the game and got fried as a result. Watkins finished the game with eight catches for 168 yards and a 63-yard touchdown reception. Watkins is well on his way to becoming an elite receiver, but to get torched by the only wide receiver who caught passes for Buffalo is very inexcusable. Grimes might have gotten torched, but the coaching staff should’ve game planned better going against one of the future elite receivers in the game.
During the post game conference, Grimes said this. “I messed up. They can make big plays, so I take the blame for it. I didn’t bring my `A’ game today. And hats off to the Bills. Sammy Watkins had a great game.”
The Dolphins have to do some soul searching now because with a 3-5 record the playoffs aren’t necessarily out of the picture. However, they can’t afford to lose any more games. But then again that type of thinking sounds like we’re sipping the Dolphins Kool-Aid a little too much once again.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter@DJoumbarey.