This Dolphins season has filled me with a roller coaster of emotions and it all started with the 1-4 start. After the 30-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans, fans on social media were already calling for the job of Adam Gase. In the post game press conference, Gase was swarmed with questions about the starting quarterback, but the first year head coach was positive Tannehill would continue to take snaps as the starter.
Adam Gase just had a private chat with Tannehill at Ryan's locker.— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) October 9, 2016
I don't know what Gase said to Tannehill following that early October game, but it sparked a fire in this team. The old Dolphins weren't going to return for a long time. The team racked in six straight victories improving their record to 7-4. The fans on social media began to praise Gase for making football relevant again in the city of Miami. Radio shows in South Florida started talking playoffs instead of draft picks. It was an exciting time for every Dolphin fan around the country so how would they play in their first meaningful December game since their AFC East title victory in 2008?
Well, the team struggled in all phases of the game. They couldn’t move the ball on offense, the defense struggled to stop the pass attack of Flacco and the special teams was just average. However, I was excited to see how the team would respond after an embarrassing performance. These guys did not disappoint.
I loved what I saw against the Arizona Cardinals. The offense was clicking as Tannehill was throwing dimes around the field and the defense was swarming Palmer forcing him to throw ill-advised interceptions. Everything was going smoothly for the Dolphins as it looked like they were sailing towards their 8th victory of the year.
With just about 1:42 remaining in the third quarter, tragedy struck. Ryan Tannehill was hit low and immediately clutched his knee. I expected the worst and reports were pouring out on Twitter that Tannehill had just torn his ACL and would be missing the remainder of the season, a devastating blow to a team that had been turning the corner as of late. The team responded well to the adversity though.
Matt Moore came into the game and got the job done. It was his first time getting significant playing time regular season game since 2012 when he led Miami to a 30-9 victory over the New York Jets. With the game tied up at 23 and the field damp as ever, Moore came in and threw a 29 completion to Kenny Stills which led to an Andrew Franks field goal to seal the deal. The Dolphins won 26-23.
The team currently sits at 8-5, something that seemed impossible months ago. Adam Gase has held his next man up mentality all year and he will apply it to the QB position assuming Ryan is out for the year. If the Dolphins can win 2 of the next 3 games, I expect them to secure a wild card berth.
I also expect the NFL to reward Adam Gase with Coach of the Year for what he has done for this football team. Everyone counted him and the rest of the team out, but he had a plan and he stuck with it. Other coaches would have folded and moved on to next year. I am proud that the Dolphins hired Adam Gase. He will be a great coach for years to come regardless of the outcome this season.