From 1-7 to 8-7, the Dolphins never lost faith.
Miami made history as the first team to feature a seven game winning streak and seven game losing streak in the same season. At one point it seemed that franchise owner Stephen Ross was headed towards a hard reset on South Florida’s franchise.
A two-month struggle came to an end with a 17-9 win over the Houston Texans and the team has gone roughly two months without looking back at what could’ve been one of the worst seasons in the franchise’s history.
“ I think the belief has always been in the locker room. It’s really just the execution from all of us – being able to play together,” starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said on Wednesday. “ There would be times where the defense plays really well and we’ve got to pick it up on offense – we don’t play as well as we should and vice versa. Or maybe something happens where penalties take a toll on the game for us as a team.
“So we just weren’t playing complementary football – like we’ve been saying – the way that we’re kind of doing now. That’s that.”
The idea of complementary football is something that has stuck with the Dolphins throughout the winning streak.
“We always stress playing complementary football so the defense giving the offense the ball back and the offense capitalizing on those turnovers,” Tagovailoa said after Monday’s win. “It’s definitely something that gives us life whether it’s the offense scoring on the first drive or scoring in general or the defense getting a big third-down stop or getting a turnover and scoring. It’s definitely something that gives I would say this team life.”
For instance, Miami’s defense got to Ian Book for two sacks early in the second half on Monday night against New Orleans. With the saints punting from the 50-yard line, Tagovailoa and the offense marched 86 yards on nine plays for a touchdown — pushing the lead to 17-3.
With two games left and playoff hopes on the line, coach Brian Flores is hoping to see his players stick to the script that has led to nothing but wins in seven-straight games.
“I’d like to think it’s as normal a week as possible,” Flores said on Wednesday. “Preparation is always at a high level – our effort, our communication, always trying to be at the top of our game from that standpoint. I think this week we’ve got a great challenge in the Titans – a well-coached team, a tough, a physical team really on all three sides of the ball. So our preparation has got to be at a high level.
“They’ve got a lot of good players really on both sides of the ball and in the kicking game so it’ll be a big test for us.”
The Dolphins travel to Tennesse to play the Titans on Sunday. The kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.