At the end of the season, all that matters are how many wins and how many losses a team has, not the way in which the team wins. The Miami Dolphins chalked up another win on Monday night when they downed the New York Jets 16-13 in a game that can only be described as ugly. In a season where Miami's first six wins were all by double digits, win number seven came in a tough, grind-it-out type of game, with the Dolphins prevailing by three points. It was exactly what the Dolphins needed.
Things were off for Miami all night. They allowed the Jets, a team entering the contest with two wins in their first eleven games, to jump out to a 10-0 lead. They allowed 210 rushing yards - in the first half. That number was up to 277 by the end of the game, with Chris Johnson reaching 100 yards for the first time as a member of the Jets (105) and owning a ridiculous 6.2 yards per carry average. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill struggled throughout the game, ending with just a 77.7 passer rating as his accuracy failed him - though he has completed more than 70-percent of his passes in five straight games, a streak that ranks second to just Peyton Manning, who reached six straight games twice, over the past decade.
The defense was being carved up and the offense was struggling to find rhythm, yet the Dolphins won.
Miami has seven wins. They do not have six wins and an ugly win. They are not trying to impress a committee who places a select number of teams in the playoffs. They are simply trying to win. And they did just that.
The Dolphins kept grinding throughout the game. They took the body blows the Jets were laying into them, wobbled a little, but came back swinging themselves. After one carry for no yards in the first half, running back Lamar Miller found some space in the second half, finishing the day with 13 carries for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Miami struggled during this game, especially against the run, which is starting to be a trend after Week 12's contest against the Denver Broncos exposed the same problems. There are issues that must be addressed this week, and throughout the remaining four games if the Dolphins are going to hold on to their Wildcard position.
This game, as ugly as it was, could turn out to be exactly what the Dolphins needed. they struggled, they fought, they came back, and they won. That's seven wins in an AFC playoff hunt that will likely take 10 wins to get into the tournament. The Dolphins won a close game. You can point to the Jets' record and say miami should have blown them out, but how many times have weird things happened when it comes to the Dolphins-Jets rivalry?
Miami needed a game where they struggled but won. Miami needed a game where they were behind and came back. Miami needed a game where it was close down the stretch, and they still came out on top. The Jets game provided all of that.
Everything is not perfect for Miami. There are things that have to improve. it was an ugly game for the Dolphins. At the end of Week 13, however, Miami won, and that's all that matters.