Maybe it was the 49-yard run they allowed on the game’s first play from scrimmage, or the touchdown passes of 47 and 83 yards they gave up a little later in the first quarter. Maybe it’s the fact that of the Baltimore Ravens’ 11 legitimate drives Sunday, only one ended in a punt, or that Lamar Jackson had a career-high 210 passing yards at halftime, one season after topping 200 passing yards for an entire game exactly once.
Maybe it’s not an overreaction to say that the Miami Dolphins played the worst game of professional football anyone’s seen in quite some time on Sunday, a 59-10 loss that somehow didn’t feel nearly that close. And the Dolphins players already are jumping ship.
According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, “multiple Dolphins players” contacted their agents after the game, demanding that they engineer trades to get them out of there. The Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero, meanwhile, writes that the Dolphins roster “notably includes multiple players who privately say they don’t really trust or believe in [Coach Brian] Flores all that much” and that multiple players “rolled their eyes” when Flores advised his team to let the despair of such an embarrassing loss “sink in.”
But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?
The end result Sunday in South Florida was only surprising for its magnitude, as few expected the Dolphins to sniff excellence or maybe even competence this season. Flores was tabbed to be their coach even though he had never even been a coordinator in New England, the only place he’s ever coached. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea also are running those units for the first times in their careers. A little more than a week before the season began, Miami traded standout left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills to the Houston Texans for a package of draft picks and players. The Dolphins also traded for quarterback Josh Rosen in April, only to watch him get beaten out for the starting job by the eternally wandering Ryan Fitzpatrick, a 36-year-old who’s now on his eighth NFL team.
Fitzpatrick spent much of Sunday getting battered to the turf. Rosen’s second pass of the day was intercepted. The Ravens ran a fake punt while leading by 32 points and it worked easily. They also went for it on fourth down up 52-10. And on and on and on …
“We’ve got problems on offense, defense and special teams,” Flores said. “We’ll try to fix them all.”
That isn’t going to be easy or maybe even possible, considering that roster construction is a chore best suited for the offseason and that the draft — the No. 1 pick of which being the endgame for the Dolphins’ plan to surrender the 2019 season — is months away. And then, as the Palm Beach Post’s Joe Schad wonders, what if Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa or Georgia’s Jake Fromm decide to stay in school for their senior seasons? Or what if Oregon’s Justin Herbert decides he’d rather not play in Miami. Suddenly one year of tanking could easily become two.
Next up for the Dolphins is the Patriots, fresh off their demolition of the Steelers on Sunday night. The chances of another Miami Miracle seem dim, and it seems the Dolphins — as they’re currently constructed — wouldn’t have it any other way.