That feeling. That all-too-familiar feeling that Miami sports fans feel at the end of a season. That's the feeling that we are overcome with yet again as we must suffer through another offseason of building up our hopes only to have them crushed.
But before we move on from this debacle of a season, we still have a few more things to discuss. The first will be what happened in this Jets game.
1. Dolphins collapse to end season
The theme of the 2014 Dolphins has been "collapse", and the Dolphins finished the season in true to that theme.
The Dolphins were up three at halftime. After a long kick return set up the Jets in the redzone, the Dolphin defense stood strong and came up with a goal line stand at the 3-yard line.
What happened next should have been the turning point in the game.
Lamar Miller took the ensuing handoff 97 yards for a touchdown to put the Dolphins up 10. It was the third longest run in NFL history and the longest of Miller's career. It also launched Miller to his first 1,000 yard season.
And it should've broken New York's back.
But the Jets scored three plays into their ensuing possession on a deep ball to Eric Decker, who torched the Dolphins secondary.
The Jets were right back in it, and after forcing a turnover on downs, the Jets tied the game at 24 with a field goal. The Jets never looked back from that point, scoring another 13 second half points on the Dolphins limping defense.
The Dolphins were embarrassed in the season finale for the second year in a row by the Jets. What's worse is that the Jets regressed from 2013 to 2014. What does that mean for the Dolphins?
2. Mediocrity once again
The Dolphins have tried unsuccessfully yet again to escape this pit of mediocrity. Once again the Dolphins were halfway up the walls of the pit, only to woefully slide back down to the bottom.
The Dolphins are a mediocre 8-8 for the second straight season. The Dolphins failed to finish above .500 for the sixth straight year.
3. Mr. Stephen Ross now looks like a fool
I wrote the Saturday before the game that the Dolphins losing to the Jets would make Ross, who endorsed coach Joe Philbin's return after a Week 16 shootout victory over the Minnesota Vikings, look like a fool.
Well, in far too predictable fashion, that happened and here we are.
Ross cannot go back on his word at this point as it would tarnish his credibility and make future candidates untrustworthy of Ross (not to mention there isn't a lot out there to choose from).
Philbin will stay after a season of watching his team collapse. Philbin will have another year to make this team into a winner.
That being said...
4. Something has to change
When the Dolphins folded to end the 2013 to the tune of only seven combined points in the final two games, then-offensive coordinator Mike Sherman was fired for the inability of his offense to put points on the board when playoffs were on the line.
Sure his personnel wasn't the best (actually he was working with the worst offensive line in the league), but that excuse wasn't strong enough to save his job as he didn't make the best out of what he had.
Now, in 2014, the Dolphins are sitting in the same place as they were one year ago. 8-8. Only now the focus turns to the other side of the ball, to defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle.
Coyle's unit allowed 72 points in the final two games of 2014. The Dolphin defense allowed 35 points to the Minnesota Vikings and 37 points to New York Jets, two offenses that average 20.3 and 17.7 points respectively.
What does this mean? Sherman's offense faced two of the NFL's best defenses in 2013 when he was fired. Coyle's defense folded against two bad offenses in the final two weeks of 2014.
Philip Wheeler said it himself after the game. The Dolphins are going to have to start changing some of the things they're doing defensively. Whether that means changing who coordinates the defense... Well that remains to be seen.
But, in a similar scenario last year, Mike Sherman didn't survive. (It should be noted that Philbin was reluctant to fire Sherman and is thought to have done so only when given the ultimatum that he either fire Sherman or lose his job.)
To make things worse for Coyle...
5. Geno Smith had a perfect passer rating
GENO SMITH HAD A PERFECT PASSER RATING.
Smith, possibly the most highly-scrutinized quarterback in the league, is now the only QB in the NFL to achieve this feat this season. That is embarrassing.
The Jets accumulated 390 passing yards on the Dolphins after achieving 300 passing yards in a game only once this season (exactly 300 against the Chicago Bears).
390 yards is the highest total the Dolphins have allowed this season. There were far too many breakdowns in coverages, leading to far too many wide open receivers.
Coverage breakdowns are due to miscommunications and mistakes, and for a former secondary coach (Coyle) to let those types of mistakes happen in Week 17 is inexcusable. Especially considering the Dolphins faced the league's 32nd ranked passing attack.
6. What happened to Mike Wallace?
Mike Wallace stopped playing at halftime due to a difference in opinion with the coaching staff. There are conflicting reports as to what happened with Wallace, but the bottom line is he quit on the team and the game.
Wallace reportedly didn't want to run a play that was called and therefore was benched for the rest of the game.
Wallace gave his post-game locker room interview behind the veil of fellow receiver Brandon Gibson. Gibson answered all of the questions addressed to Wallace as if he were Wallace. When asked why he was doing this Gibson replied "just don't want my dog to say anything wrong."
It was an odd sequence that has many wondering what the future holds for Wallace. Some reports say that this wasn't the first time Wallace has threatened to quit during a game. With an attitude like that, I think it's safe to say Wallace's days in Miami are numbered.
7. Now, we wait
We wait for free agency the NFL Draft. We build our hopes up during the offseason. Then we do it all again next season.
Just a joke, next season will be good. Why?
Next season is literally a boom or bust year. If you don't like Joe Philbin but do like winning and seeing the Dolphins do well then you will see something you enjoy happen at the end of the 2015 season.
Either the Dolphins will be in the playoffs or Joe Philbin will be unemployed.
QUICK HITS & QUOTES
- Dion Jordan started the game at outside linebacker in a base 4-3 defense, something that Kevin Coyle said he would consider. Unfortunately, the experiment didn't last very long.
- The Dolphins defense was fooled by misdirection yet again in this game. The Jets, like in the Dec 1 matchup between these two teams, scored it's first touchdown on an end around to a wide receiver.
- Rex Ryan's fake punt in the fourth quarter, which led to the touchdown that put the game away, was a real slap in the face. But it was an example of Philbin being out-coached. The Dolphins had tried blocking punts multiple times in the game before Ryan rolled out the trick play that won the game.
- There is turmoil within the locker room. That much is for sure. Between Jared Odrick's sideline explosion a few weeks ago, Miko Grimes (Brent's wife) insinuating on the radio that the players trust the coaches more than Ryan Tannehill and now the Mike Wallace incident, something isn't right.
- This game, just as predicted, showed the areas of the team that need to be fortified heading forward. Cornerback, linebacker and defensive tackle all need more pieces. The Dolphins could also use a big wideout. Interior offensive lineman is a must. My draft work starts today, everything I do will be posted on the site.
- The Dolphins now hold the 14th pick in the NFL Draft.
- "I told Mr. (Stephen) Ross when I interviewed for the job that we were going to get better week-to-week and year-to-year. Going 8-8 again, obviously I failed my obligation of responsibility I made to Mr. Ross. I didn’t do well enough coaching this football team to get them better." - Joe Philbin.
- "Yeah, we had an idea of plays we wanted to attack them with. Down three, felt great about having the game-winning drive. Felt good about our plan going into that drive and I think guys were ready to step up and make plays, but you have to give credit to them. A great call on their part and they made it happen." - Ryan Tannehill on the offense's plan before the Jets' fake punt.
- "It was us offensively. We didn’t come out and execute. We had a 10 point lead and they were able to score and we couldn’t answer. That’s what it comes down to as an offense. It doesn’t matter how many points the other team scores. We have to score more. We didn’t do that, and we weren’t even close. Execution has to be a lot better." - Ryan Tannehill.
- "Differences of opinions led us to Mike not playing in the second half. That's kind of all we have to say about the coaches. That's how it went." - Brandon Gibson (as Mike Wallace) on Mike Wallace not playing the second half.
- "The process is going to start here soon. Today is really dedicated to the players. Then I’m going to sit down with the coaches as I do every single year. I need obviously some time to think about some things. The season just ended, but I haven’t made any decisions about any coaches for 2015, none of them." - Joe Philbin on future of his coaching staff.
- "It’s certainly not about Joe Philbin. It’s not the Joe Philbin show here. It’s about the Miami Dolphins winning championships and playing up to our potential. We have to find ways to improve and do that quickly."- Joe Philbin.
Make sure you check back with the Phinsider daily, we will have a ton of articles about the Dolphins' season and what lies ahead...