There is nothing positive to say about this game.
N O T H I N G
As another wasted season circles the drain after Miami’s 34-3 loss to the Titans on Sunday, I’m not going to insult your intelligence by trying to “pretty up” the Dolphins’ disappointing finish (yes, I know they have one more game to play) to the 2021 NFL season. We’re going to skip this section of the column this week.
Most of it.
I mean, pick your poison. Most of Sunday’s game against the Titans was downright miserable to watch. I could point out individual performances here. I could single out the refs. I could write about coaching, or hell, even the GM who supplied the players who contributed to the season ending loss to Tennessee, but all of those things are worse than “bad.” There’s another section in this column for all of those things – the UGLY section.
Every single thing.
Ah yes, here we are. We’ve made it to the only section of this column appropriately titled for Miami’s performance against the Tennessee Titans yesterday... the UGLY section. Now we can dig into the finer points of the Dolphins’ buffoonery. They will not be listed in any particular order.
A) Tua Tagovailoa let his team and his fans down
When his team needed him most, during the most important game Tua Tagovailoa has played in since the final game of the 2020 NFL season, he completely – and embarrassingly – fell flat on his face. His stats in the contest:
18 completions on 38 attempts (47.4%)
205 yards passing
0 passing touchdowns
3 fumbles – 1 lost
53.1 passer rating
I’m going to be 100% transparent here... I’m a big fan of Tua Tagovailoa. I was ecstatic when Miami drafted him at number five overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. I had high hopes for him coming into this season as I thought he would take a big step forward during his second season in the league – and in some ways he has.
However, yesterday was the type of game that makes one believe there are far more questions that need to be answered, and it is fair to wonder if the former Alabama product has the answers to those questions, or if bringing another quarterback to South Florida next season is the way to go if this franchise wants to pull themselves out of the middling doldrums anytime soon.
The Hawaii-born product who then played his entire college career in Tuscaloosa, Alabama may not be built to win big games when the conditions aren’t perfect. He is not used to playing in inclement weather and hasn’t shown the ability to excel in cold, wet conditions. The Dolphins’ division opponents play home games in New York and Massachusetts. Much of the league plays in cold weather cities, which will always be a problem when Miami travels outside of Florida for late season games.
If your franchise signal caller can’t win the big games, is he really the player you want leading your squad each season? I’m not giving up on Tua Tagovailoa just yet, but I personally need to see far more consistency before I blindly follow him into the future.
B) The defense comes crashing back to Earth when facing a legitimate NFL offense
Ryan Tannehill didn’t have his best day as a professional quarterback, but he did enough to put points on the board. Miami no longer had the luxury of facing a backup QB, nor did they play against a team that was missing a bunch of starters due to injury or COVID related absences.
That proved to be a problem on Sunday, as they gave up 34 points to a team that was averaging 17 points per contest over their past six games.
Miami’s defense was lit up on the ground to the tune of 198 yards on 40 attempts – good for 5.0 yards per carry. D’Onta Foreman, a career backup, had 132 yards on 26 carries – 5.1 per attempt. They gave up two rushing touchdowns.
Like Tua, Miami’s defense needed to show up on a day when their playoff hopes were on the line, and they flat-out didn’t. Sunday’s effort was a throwback performance reminiscent of earlier season games against the Bills, Raiders, Colts, Buccaneers and Falcons where they gave up chunk plays and touchdowns galore.
C) Miami was officially eliminated from playoff contention
Much like the final game of the 2020 season that saw Miami get blown out by Buffalo on the road, Sunday’s 31 point loss to the Tennessee Titans (combined with other results around the NFL) was a painfully brutal effort that saw them get eliminated from playoff contention. And just like the 2020 season, a slow start to the year gave little room for late season errors, of which, Sunday was full of them.
Shame on us.
Shame on us fans for believing that this year was going to be any different than so many years before it. Shame on us for getting our hopes up that somehow the 2021 Miami Dolphins were going to be able to exercise the demons that have been haunting this cursed franchise since the retirement of Dan Marino over 20 years ago. The Miami Dolphins did what the Miami Dolphins always do – they let us down in excruciating fashion.
Being a Miami Dolphins fan is not good for your health. They hurt us over and over and over again, yet we keep coming back for more.
“Maybe next year,” we softly utter into the mirror as we stare blankly at the bloodshot eyes and soggy, bloated faces looking back at us. Yet, we know that’s not true. This year wasn’t our year, and next year won’t be our year either.
After all, we’re Miami Dolphins football fans. These are the sad lives we’ve chosen.
How would you fix this franchise if you were the owner of the Miami Dolphins? Are you still a supporter of Tua Tagovailoa, or do you want Miami to pursue a star QB this offseason? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @MBrave13.