The Miami Dolphins Have No Meaningless Games

The Miami Dolphins unexpected arrival in the NFL playoff arena for the first time in eight years comes with little fanfare. The first step in Miami’s post season journey actually begins in the regular season finale against their biggest rival, the New England Patriots. Across the league, the Patriots are the preordained KINGS of the AFC and perhaps the entire NFL. By contrast, the Dolphins haven’t tasted playoff victory in sixteen years.

At 13-2, the Patriots have a clear path to home field advantage throughout the playoffs by defeating the Miami Dolphins. A loss by the 12-3 Raiders, without Derek Carr, will also hand home field advantage to New England on the last day of the NFL regular season. Traveling to Miami at 1:00 PM, the Patriots season will be over before the Raiders visit the Denver Broncos at 4:25 PM. The safest passage to home field for the New England Patriots is by defeating the Miami Dolphins.

What was perceived as a meaningless game before the season, looms large for both teams. For New England, home field advantage is huge. Tom Brady is 14-3 at home in the playoffs, and an astonishing 106-18 in all regular season and playoff games. Playing at home is a distinct advantage as Brady and Belichick seek to win an elusive fifth Super Bowl together. Standing in the way, prior to the Raiders game, is the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins are far from NFL darlings and viewed by most pundits as one-and-done playoff fodder for the big boys of January. Way back in week two, the Patriots without Tom Brady handily defeated these Dolphins in what looked like a lost season for Miami. By week six, Adam Gase found his stride and his team reeled off six straight victories before being blown out 38-6 in Baltimore.

That was week 13, the fledgling Dolphins seemed to have crash-landed and with the rising Arizona Cardinals coming to town the questions started sneaking in. The Dolphins held their own and were beating the Cardinals when disaster struck. Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill went down with a severe knee injury. In that critical moment, the tide changed and Arizona charged from behind to tie the game at 23 in the final minute.

On a rain soaked field, without their QB and leader, with little time left on the clock, Adam Gase, Matt Moore and the entire Miami Dolphin team came together. In a microcosm of their entire season, the Dolphins rose from the ashes. Moore found Kenny Stills who drew a pass interference call from officials that seemed united against Miami the entire game. The moon was in the seventh house, the throw, the catch, the penalty… Jupiter aligned with Mars and
in the pouring rain, Andrew Franks kicked Miami past the Cardinals.

26-23, it really wasn’t much of a game, but the rise of the Miami Dolphins had officially begun. Winning in the NFL comes by the thinnest of margins. Through week 16 the Dolphins have scored 349 points, Miami’s opponents have score 338 points. Miami won 10 of 15 games by a total of 11 points, eight of those ten wins came by a touchdown or less. The uninitiated glass-half-empty detractors would point to this as a sign
Miami is more lucky than good. 5-10 and losing by a total of 11 points could easily have been the season’s story, but those elusive 11 points fell on Miami’s side of the ledger.

Miami hadn’t swept the Jets or the Bills in years and yet here they stood, blocking Miami’s final path to a playoff berth. With a backup QB and years of ugly baggage, having been there and lost that, the Miami Dolphins landed in icy Meadowlands with a score to settle and a message to send. 34-13 later, the Jets and the rest of the NFL finally turned their heads toward Miami. The Sharps refusing to believe Miami could
handle Rex Ryan with his job on the line.

The Bills battled the Dolphins punch for punch, expecting Miami to finally succumb like they had so many times in the past. These Fins, with steadfast Adam Gase at the helm, would not relent, would not go quietly into the night. These Miami Dolphins did not back down and in the end, proudly road out of Buffalo with a 34-31 overtime victory.

The NFL set the table for Miami, three straight AFC East showdowns to see which of the other three teams would via for a playoff spot. Before the season and after a 1-4 start, the Dolphins were not even considered in the mix. In Tampa, where the Buccaneers had played the previous Thursday, 5 hours from Miami, the NFL chose Cincinnati and Baltimore for the televised game. In Orlando five hours away, Cincinnati and Baltimore. In Naples, two hours away, Cincinnati and Baltimore…

All leading to New England in Miami on New Year’s Day 2017 at Hard Rock Stadium. Regardless of secured playoff berths or New England’s quest for home field advantage, the Miami Dolphins march into a brave new future. The Jets and Bills were unceremoniously kicked down into the AFC East cellar and standing at the top, the mighty Patriots. The top of the stairs is not a place where losing is acceptable.

A meaningless game?

Outside the Miami locker room, the stakes were suddenly palpable. Belichick’s words come out all buttery, “Miami is a talented football team, Matt Moore is a very capable QB- …bla, bla, bla, bla, bla…” Drivel, all drivel, Belichick and Brady sense the danger creeping from the south and they will send a message to the upstarts from Miami and coach Adam Gase. We are KING and with this sword you shall be vanquished like the pretenders you are.

January first, 2017 the Patriots standing on the highest hill with all the trophies and accolades staring defiantly down at the lowly Dolphins.

A meaningless game?

This is the most dangerous game of all for Brady and Belichick, Miami has literally nothing to lose. Regardless of the outcome, the Patriots supremacy will not be dismantled on this single day, but the cold Nor’easter that has blown steady for the last two decades is shifting direction. Warm air creeping up from the south is but a sentinel of the changing tides. The Patriots can feel it and know it must be suppressed or the consequences will continue to take root and grow with each Miami victory.

A meaningless game?

Adam Gase, knows his Miami Dolphins play on a razor’s edge, 10 victories with only an 11 point scoring differential tells the tale. The Patriots scoring differential in 13 wins is 170 points. The Dolphins are far from the precipice where the mighty Patriots reign but there is only one way up the mountain. It comes in little nooks and crannies, footholds in the shear rock face, with each victory a landmark is scaled.

Each loss loosens the rocks precariously, waiting to set off an avalanche sending the Miami Dolphins crashing to the bottom once again. Brady and Belichick know, winning begets winning. In a league where the talent level is so closely aligned the psychology of winning is much more important than any physical attribute. They want to teach these upstarts a lesson.

A meaningless game?

A loss will have no outward effect on either team, but in reality, this is a playoff game for both teams.

A meaningless game?

I think not…

Miami Dolphins Grant Fans TEN WIN MERRY CHRISTMAS !!!

At Buffalo's Bills, on a last minute overtime field goal and a final score of 34 - 31.

The Miami Dolphins attained 2016's TENTH VICTORY!!!

What more needs to be said??

Other than.


9 - 5 Miami Dolphins Sweep Jets

Week nine Sunday November 6th. Miami's Dolphins beat the visiting NY Jets 27 - 23. On the following week Adam Gase' 2016 team traveled to San Diego and won! It was the first time in 31 tries that the Dolphins won versus an opponent that followed a Miami win against their New York Jets rival!

On Week fifteen the Dolphins traveled north to Metlife Stadium and not a single murmur of J E T S, Jets, Jets, Jets was prompted via the play of the visiting Miami's 34 points nor the home teams 13.

After allowing a J E T S opening 7 play, 75 yard touchdown drive. The Dolphins shoved a cork in each end of the pre-week, diarrhea spewing Brandon (Bowel-Movement) Marshall as rookie Xavien Howard and others had their way. (BM wiped one single ply catch for 16 yards), take that BITCH!!

Second year receiver turned starting corner back had two more interceptions with his team leading third and fourth on the season. Miami started the season slow via interceptions, but now with three more tonight they reside amongst the league's top three with 16 picks, and everyone is getting their hands on a share.

Even Cameron Wake had a pick in coverage tonight with a sack too, and a forced fumble while the defensive line was beastly in producing relentless backfield havoc on the Jets tarmack. Ndamukong Suh led the team in tackles and (met at the quarterback) with Wake as the quarterbacks lower body was nearly separated from his upper half.

Special teams stud Walt Aikens (for a second consecutive week) made huge plays throughout which included a Hat-Trick blocked punt, recovery, scoop and score Touchdown jog.

Miami second year running back/first year starter Jay Ajayi rushed for 50 yards while thrusting his engines beyond mach-one and/or 1000 rushing yards for the season!

For the first time in 77 games the Miami Dolphin entire roster was given a clean bill of health for a game, (other than those on IR), and five year Iron Man Ryan Tannehill.

Matt Moore started in place of the first time injured Tannehill this week. He did not disappoint! He completed 12 of 18 passes for 236 yards with a pick while a third of those completions went for (4) Touchdowns (a career high)!

Moore's first Touchdown went to tight end Dion Sims (a great pass and catch) from one yard out to get on the second quarter 6 - 7 scoreboard after an extra point miss. The wily vet hit Kenny Stills for a 52 yard score two series later for a 13 - 10 halftime lead following an NY field goal.

Matt's one pick came on the third quarters opening series with an attempted bomb to the Jets thirty.

Four plays later Walt Aikens had his Hat-Trick for a Miami advantage of 20 - 10. On the home teams next offensive play Tony Lippett got his first pick on the day. Later in the day the receiver turned corner back ended the game with his second interception, this one in the endzone on the jets last "ditch/ crash".

Matt Moore hit Dion Sims for the duo's second one yard Touchdown of brilliance five plays and 60 yards later for the 27 - 10 score.

After a jets three and out. On the first play Moore hit a short pass to Jarvis Landry who (eclipsed the 1000 yard mark for the season) on the play by taking it 66 for six final third quarter & game points. By a road winning score of 34 - 13, The Miami Dolphins Team Earned A Ninth Victory!!

Among numerous other unmentionable accomplishments that the Miami Dolphins have a great shot at producing next week.

Can Adam Gase' 2016 Dolphins (for a second time in one year) beat the opponent that follows a Miami Victory over New York's jets?

A feat not attained one single time in the teams 31 previous attempts before 2016's Adam Gase!!

It's a dirty job but somebodies gotta do it!!
Time to sweep Buffalo spewage on Christmas Eve!!


One Rainy Sunday, Miami Iost a QB and Found a Coach

In spite of improving to 8-5, the Miami Dolphin victory against the Arizona Cardinals rings hollow. Played in a torrential downpour nearly the entire game, Miami led the sloppy turnover fest until the last minute when the officials finally gave the Cardinals enough chances to tie.

The referees threw 14 flags against the Dolphins for 118 yards in a game that lasted nearly 4 hours. The Cardinals were awarded 5 first downs by penalty, while the low-blow that ended Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill's season, suspiciously went uncontested...

With 1:46 left in the third quarter, Former Hurricane Calais Campbell dove directly into Ryan Tannehill's left knee. Shock hit the Miami sideline as the iron-man quarterback limped off the field with a torn ACL. Backup quarterback Matt Moore was called into action after attempting eleven passes in his last three seasons combined.

The narrative of the game from this point on is worth rehashing as the Miami Dolphins miraculously wrestled away a victory. This game alone should garner the points necessary to make a case for Gase as coach of the year.

Adam Gase was in no hurry to call on Moore's right arm to carry the Dolphins from the Cardinals 45. Three straight J-Train runs left Miami going for a 4th and one when the officials called Anthony Steen for an unusual false start forcing a Miami punt. Aided by three penalties, Arizona found the endzone to pull within six points when the Dolphins blocked the point after attempt and Walt Aikens returned it for two critical Miami points.

The officials must have been as surprised as everyone watching and the much anticipated flag, did not fall. Nursing an eight point lead, Gase stuck with the J-Train until Moore finally attempted a pass to Damien Williams that fell incomplete for a three and out. Badly in need of a first down, the Dolphins punted back to the Cardinals at the fifty-yard line with 5:12 left on the clock.

An invigorated Cardinal team needed only 2:13 of the clock to tie the score with a successful two point conversion. Again the Dolphin offense looked defeated, going three and out. Moore completed his first pass to Jarvis Landry who had 103 yards receiving in the game, but could only manage six on the play, forcing another Miami punt.

With 1:55 left, Vance Joseph gambled and Bobby McCain stripped Palmer who fell on his own fumble for a loss of six. Miami wisely called a timeout and this proved pivotal when Arizona punted after a short pass and an incompletion.

Landry struck again returning the punt 20 yards setting up Miami at the Arizona 47 with 1:29 remaining. The ball got loose on the first play, a 5 yard run by Damien Williams but the ruling of down by contact was upheld as the Dolphin faithful held their breath.

After a 12 yard completion to Kenny Stills who had 97 receiving yards in the game, the Dolphins called their second time out with 43 seconds remaining when Matt Moore found Stills again for 29 yards! A declined defensive pass interference call stopped the clock with 37 seconds remaining.

Two short gains by Damien Williams and Miami used it's last time out with 1 final second left on the clock. Arizona attempted the obligatory freeze by following Miami's timeout with one of their own. Andrew Franks calmly stepped up and drilled the 21-yard field as time expired in the pouring rain.

This gritty performance more than any other in recent Dolphins history showed a team and a coach clearly unflappable by whatever unfortunate circumstances a game can present. One sided officiating left the fans completely exasperated while Adam Gase simply stared down the referees with a glare so intense it burned right through them.

Gase lost the quarterback he so meticulously groomed and remained unfazed as Matt Moore stepped in and showed his acumen. Calling a timeout at 1:49 when Palmer went down with a sack was pure genius and a sign to his team... Adam Gase was not about to give up on a Miami victory. The defense responded and got him the ball back!

In previous years, with previous coaches, the sense of dread on the sideline would lead to despair and a total loss of the moment, but not Adam Gase. After an abysmal performance the previous week, through the rain, in spite of the officials and losing his QB, the man did not blink. He calmly led his team to victory...

This game ball goes to you... Adam Gase!

The Dolphins are not heading to the Super Bowl in 2016, in fact it may be a few years before this team approaches the level of champions. One thing is certain, Miami has found a coach the players, assistants, ownership and fans can look forward to watching blossom into greatness.

In one rain soaked afternoon in Miami, the Dolphins found the man...

Adam Gase

Dolphins Playoff Hopes Sink in Baltimore Harbor

Riding a six game winning streak, the Miami Dolphins came crashing down to reality in Baltimore getting trounced by the Ravens 38-6. From the opening kick, the Ravens proved much more worthy of a playoff spot than the flailing Dolphins. The middle of the Miami defense was dissected like a high school frog by Joe Flacco and whichever receiver he chose.

The Miami Dolphin linebackers were out of position the entire day as Flacco completed pass after pass to open receivers. Ryan Tannehill made bad decisions and seemed to be telegraphing his run/pass option leaving the Ravens a step ahead of the Dolphins in nearly every situation. The patchwork Miami offensive line was clearly over matched and the vaunted defensive line could not slow Flacco and the Raven’s passing game.

It was a miserable game for the Dolphins, one that showed where this team resides in the playoff picture. On the outside looking in. With four games remaining Miami’s post season hopes are still alive, but the cleanup crew after this game will be very busy. In a familiar theme, injuries on the offensive line betrayed the hopes of Miami Dolphin fans. Pro bowl tackle Brandon Albert and center Mike Pouncey watched their teammates struggle.

Adam Gase has his hands full this week as Miami begins another December looking undermanned against playoff caliber teams. Miami must get better quickly at home against the Arizona Cardinals before entering a three game AFC East season finale. At 7-5 Miami enters the final quarter of the season hanging on to playoff hopes. This team has outplayed expectations and yet the dismal performance in Baltimore rings hollow, like some know-it-all spewing, “I told you so” all over the Dolphin faithful.

Is it time to backpedal on where this team belongs in the big picture? Should Miami fans brace themselves for the inevitable December crash? This is the same team that leaped overwhelming hurdles at 1-4. Adam Gase must find a way to right a ship that nearly capsized in Baltimore harbor. Offensive line play clearly seems to be the determining factor for Ryan Tannehill, the running game and even the Miami defense.

When the Dolphins run the football, every other facet of their game plan seems to follow. Given time, Tannehill can pass the ball as well as any QB in the league. Given rest, the defense plays fast and loose, but converting only 4 of 13 on 3rd down derailed the necessity of keeping Joe Flacco off the field.

Baltimore found a soft spot in the middle of the Miami defense and Vance Joseph never found an answer. It is about this time of the season that exposes the weaknesses of inferior teams in the NFL and Miami may have been exposed. Linebackers biting on play action left gaping holes for TE seam routes that Flacco exploited at will. Kiko Alonso played the game with a cast on his wrist, leaving Mike Hull and Neville Hewitt desperately trying to fill the void when he left the field. They proved unable to keep up with Pitta and Dixon.

The Dolphins must now exit the season much as they entered, with questions on the offensive line and at linebacker. Pouncey and Albert returning to the lineup could solve the line issues, but there are no pro bowlers healing in the wings at linebacker. The Dolphin defense can expect to see this same formula for the rest of the season and must find a way to sure up the middle.

Dolphin fans must temper their expectations with the reality that healthy horses are required over the long 16 game season. Only an off-season influx of talent at linebacker can solve the weakness on defense. Decisions must be made on the offensive line where availability may become the one ability Miami must reconcile with.

It should be interesting to see if Adam Gase and “leaders” in the locker room can squeeze four more games out of a team that relies as much on emotion as talent to win. As the playoffs approach, the teams with talent and emotion begin to proliferate the playoff brackets. Miami may find a place in the race, but this team seems a few pieces short of playing in January.