And just like that, it all ends. A season of promise and hope suddenly crashes to an end with the Miami Dolphins losing to the New York Jets today. After two three game winning streaks during the year, the Dolphins lost their last two games to end 8-8 and in third place in the AFC East. Now, it's time to return to the film room, figure out exactly what went wrong on a season that could have been something special, and try to find some answers for 2014.
To be fair, this Dolphins team was not supposed to be a Super Bowl contender. They were simply supposed to be in playoff contention late into the season, hoping to sneak into the tournament, and that's exactly what they were this year. In Week 17, the Dolphins had a chance to go into January still playing football.
But, it feels so much worse. This team should have been in the playoffs, not just in contention. They had a chance to be in control of their destiny, and they blew it by being shut out by the Buffalo Bills last week, then came into this week with the best odds to make the post season, but needing some help. They got the help when the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens, but couldn't take care of things on their own end, and now head home for the offseason.
The Dolphins were once again outplayed, with no offense able to effectively move the ball on a sustained drive, and a defense unable to stop the Jets. New York quarterback Geno Smith finished the game 17-for-27 for 190 yards and an 83.9 passer rating. He also ran seven times for 47 yards, with one touchdown. The other touchdown came on a one yard plunge from Sheldon Richardson.
Meanwhile, for Miami, Ryan Tannehill ended the game 20-for-39 for 204 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. He had a 42.1 passer rating.
The offseason officially begins now for Miami, with a lot of questions needing to be answered. The first will be the status of general manager Jeff Ireland and head coach Joe Philbin. The NFL's final report on the bullying scandal will also be released some time after the new year.
Time to get ready for 2014.