Tom Olivadotti didn't make a tackle, catch a pass or miss a block in the Miami Dolphins' 42-20 loss to the Washington Redskins yesterday at RFK Stadium. He spent the whole game standing beside Coach Don Shula, wincing. After the game, he was so upset he was choked up. "We stunk," he said, over and over.

Olivadotti has an unfortunate job title, at least for the next few days. He is the Dolphins' defensive coach.

As he watched the Redskins' offense pile up 467 yards, 222 of them on the ground, Olivadotti just shook his head. His defense certainly won't be ranked No. 1 in the NFL after this debacle.

"I don't know how many tackles we missed, but we had to miss a ton," he said. "We just were bad."

Olivadotti, who forged his reputation with the University of Miami's 1983 national championship team and later with the Cleveland Browns, was asked if he felt helpless watching.

"Helpless? Yes. It would be like writing without a pen. That's how it felt."

Missed tackles were part of the problem and a portion of the reason why Earnest Byner gained 157 yards -- the first 100-yard rushing game against Miami this year -- and looked like Jim Brown.

But not all of it.

"We just couldn't come off our blocks quick enough," Olivadotti said. "It was just awful. We couldn't get off the blocks and that's why the cutbacks worked so well against us."

Olivadotti's boss agreed.

"We were completely handled by their offensive line," Shula said. "They played a near perfect game offensively, except for the one interception {at the beginning of the fourth quarter}. We had absolutely no control of the line of scrimmage."

There were many questions after the game, one of which centered on the Dolphins' 9-3 record. How could a team with such a good record look so bad? More importantly, are the Dolphins really that good?

They have played three games against the NFC East and have lost two badly, 20-3 to the New York Giants and here to the Redskins. Their victory came against Phoenix, 23-3. Next up is Philadelphia, which comes to Joe Robbie Stadium this Sunday.

"We're one out of three against the NFC East with a chance to go 50-50 Sunday night against the Eagles," Shula said. "If we play as bad as we did today, there isn't much you can feel confident about other than feeling we can regroup and play a good game next time out."

Olivadotti said what many people think: The Dolphins play in the weaker conference.

"It looks like the NFC is the stronger conference right now," he said. "It appears that way in the stats."

The statistics once favored this Miami team. The Dolphins came into RFK Stadium as the most difficult team to score on this season, giving up an average of 11.1 points per game. The Redskins passed that in the game's first 16 minutes.

The Dolphins had gone 21 quarters without allowing a touchdown pass. That streak ended with Art Monk's six-yard touchdown catch 42 seconds into the second quarter.

The Dolphins were the only team in the NFL that had not allowed 300 passing yards, 100 rushing yards or 100 receiving yards to a player in a game this season. Byner took care of that, and Monk nearly did it, too. He caught 10 passes for 92 yards as Mark Rypien threw for 245 yards. The Redskins' 467 yards were the most against the Dolphins since November 1988.

Conversely, what happened to Dan Marino? One of the NFL's best quarterbacks looked mediocre most of the game, completing 17 of 33 passes for 223 yards and one early interception that set up Washington's first touchdown.

"Their cornerbacks played us tight, but the plays were there and we just didn't get them," Marino said. "They beat us up pretty good. They just played hard football and we didn't respond."

The Dolphins were hopeful just once in this game, when safety Jarvis Williams returned a Rypien interception for a touchdown with 13:30 left in the game. Miami was behind, 35-20, but figured it had time to get the ball back three more times.

"I thought we still had a shot there," Marino said, "but they kept it for nine minutes. That's what we try to do."