From time to time we are reminded that at the end of the day, sports remains, above all else, entertainment. For the past six weeks, the Miami Dolphins have been nothing if not entertaining. They've won games in about as many different ways as a team can win them. They've won with big plays in the running game, a kickoff return for a touchdown, an interception return for a defensive touchdown and of course, they've won games on the rangy right arm of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Indeed, Tannebashers have given way to Tannemaniacs. In mid October, the Dolphins looked like a rudderless team cast adrift on a windless sea of woe. A month and a half later, they have vaulted, at least for the moment, into the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. The train that has become the 2016 Miami Dolphins just keeps on chugging down the tracks.
On Sunday, against the San Francisco 49ers, they gave up 475 yards on their own field to a team that was 1-9 coming in, but as they have in every other game during the past six weeks, they found a way to hang on for the win. With five games remaining in the 2016 regular season, Miami ranks 25th in the NFL on offense and 20th on defense. What does that mean ? Well, for starters, it means that if they give up 475 yards of total offense next week in Baltimore, they will, in all likelihood, lose the game. The Ravens are 22nd on offense but 2nd, overall, on defense. Given the Dolphins' six game winning streak, and the playoff implications this game will carry, it will no doubt be broadcast across a large swath of the country. It should be an exciting battle between two pretty good teams. Obviously, the Ravens will be favored, but this year's Dolphins have proven time and again that they aren't the pushovers they've been in years past.
In other news, Sunday was a bad day for players who wear number '11' on their jersey. Miami's own DeVante Parker suffered a back injury in the fourth quarter, but at least he was playing well up to that point. He did better than two other guys who wear that number on their backs; Bears wide receiver Marquess Wilson dropped a would be touchdown pass from the seven yard line, costing Chicago a win against the Tennessee Titans and Broncos wide receiver Jordan Norwood had a punt clank off his facemask that the Chiefs recovered and turned into points in a game that was ultimately won by Kansas City in overtime. Remember when wideouts wore numbers in the 80's, like Jerry Rice, Mark Duper and Mark Clayton ? Remember when guys who wore number eleven were quarterbacks, like Pat Haden, Phil Simms and Drew Bledsoe ? Dolphins rookie receiver Leonte Carroo scored his first NFL touchdown against the Niners on Sunday. When Miami traded multiple picks, for the right to draft Carroo, we were critical of the move, and we still don't really like the pick. One thing we can say for the kid, though: at least he wears a wide receiver number, '88', instead of a quarterback number. Receivers who wear quarterback numbers are sort of like women who wear green nail polish; you see it and you just kind of shake your head.