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Miami Dolphins Humbling Loss Should Be Used As A Positive As They Enter Stretch Run

SportsMiami Dolphins Humbling Loss Should Be Used As A Positive As They Enter Stretch Run

The Miami Dolphins became the first team to humbling loss since 2016 to blow a 14-point lead with three minutes remaining in a game. They did all of this against a winless team at home with the No. 1 seed in their control.

Miami Dolphins humbling loss a game that they were supposed to win.

The red-hot Dolphins — undefeated at home and winners of three straight games — finally lost to a team with a losing record, losing 28-27 to the Tennessee Titans.

Not only did the Dolphins lose to a losing team and a squad that will be watching the playoffs from home, they did so in historic fashion. Despite the Titans doing everything in their power to lose the game — including two fumbles in the span of 33 seconds during the fourth quarter — Tennessee overcame a 14-point deficit with three minutes remaining knock off Miami.

Yes, there’s no doubt this loss stings. There’s little doubt this is the worst loss the Dolphins have had this season and it takes away a lot of the good vibes the team had built over the past several weeks.

But the team shouldn’t be in panic mode — it’s still a regular season game. Miami should use this humbling defeat and make it a positive as they enter the stretch run of the season.

“We all get to share the blame in my opinion, or at least I know the locker room felt 100 percent responsible,” head coach Mike McDaniel said after the game. “I think that’s what you want. I think there’s a lot of people that are going to be – it’s going to be tough to go to sleep tonight, including myself. That’s not something that you can do and expect to win football games, and you can’t – it’s a hard, hard lesson, but no lead is safe.”

Yes, it’s true the Dolphins looked ordinary on offense without the presence of Tyreek Hill, who was absent for two quarters due to a knee injury late in the first quarter. In fact, the Dolphins mustered just three points and posted just 147 yards on 29 plays during Hill’s absence between the first and third quarters, just 5.0 yards per play. By comparison, they averaged 7.6 yards per play during the first quarter with Hill and during the drive when he returned late in the third quarter.

Miami Dolphins humbling loss :

McDaniel dismissed the offense’s lack of efficiency without Hill during the game, instead attributing it to lack of execution during critical plays and a lack of offensive line protection.

“I think there were just critical times that we would be off a hair on first or second down and you’re put in a third down situation, and our protection wasn’t exactly what maybe we’d be used to on a play or two,” said McDaniel. “Then there was a misfire on a play or two and those things add up, but I didn’t see it as we were – obviously a player of Tyreek’s caliber, it hurts when he’s not in. However, I think there was plenty of offense to be had and we’ve got a lot of guys that I trust to do that.”

It’s also true this was always going to be a tough matchup for the Dolphins considering the Titans’ aggressive, smash mouth play style under Mike Vrabel. They dominated the trenches and had Tua Tagovailoa under constant duress, sacking him five times, the most sacks the Dolphins have allowed all season long. For perspective, the Dolphins had entered the game tied for the least-amount of sacks allowed all season long.

It also didn’t help that Miami’s starting center, Connor Williams, missed basically the entire game due to a knee injury. That was in addition to a multitude of injuries to basically all of their key players, including multiple starting offense linemen. The injuries played a major role in the Dolphins’ downfall in this game.

Every great team has a hiccup during the course of the regular season. The 2022 Philadelphia Eagles had one when they lost to the lowly Washington Commanders on Monday Night Football last season and the current hottest team in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys, had one earlier in the season when they lost to the Joshua Dobbs-led Arizona Cardinals in Week 3.

The Eagles proceeded to win eight of their next 10 games as they advanced to the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have won eight of their past 10 games and now lead the NFC East.

Does anyone remember those humiliating losses now? No.

And no one will remember this loss as long as the Dolphins quickly put this one in the rearview mirror. They’ll get that opportunity when they face the 5-8 New York Jets, a team that they surely won’t take lightly following their humbling loss to the Titans. It’s the perfect opportunity to rebound against an opponent that still has one of the worst offenses in the NFL despite their recent 30-point outburst against the Houston Texans.

Most importantly, they’ll have another opportunity to prove to everyone that they are indeed a true elite squad when they face the toughest three-game stretch of any team to close out the season — Week 16 versus Dallas, Week 17 at Baltimore and Week 18 hosting the Buffalo Bills.

If they win those games and clinch the AFC’s No. 1 seed, this Titans loss will be nothing but a distant memory.

“I don’t think this is the same Dolphins team that everyone thinks about,” Tagovailoa said when asked about prior Dolphins teams that have lost in December and had their seasons “snowball” shortly after. “We’ve got a lot of really good players. We’ve got really good coaches. It’s one loss home this year. It’s not like the world ends because we lost this game. We’re human. We’ll continue to get better from this.”

The Dolphins will have the opportunity to prove that they’re not the same team from prior years by winning their remaining four games to close out the season.

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