As the Dolphins get set to travel to the Midwest and play the Indianapolis Colts, the intrigue of how hard they will try to win games in the second half of the season has heightened.
This as, Miami got their first win of the year last week at home with the Jets. And, in doing so, allowed the Cincinnati Bengals to now control their own destiny to “tank” completely, lose every game and end up with the number one overall pick in the draft.
Plus, there is still the looming game in South Florida in December for Cincinnati and the Fins. And, the Bengals have benched longtime starter Andy Dalton in favor of unproven Ryan Finley starting this week. This means that Cincy could very well still be winless, when they play Miami head-to-head in a few weeks.
Likewise, the Dolphins are now tied with the Washington Redskins with a single victory, and Washington’s win is a 17 – 16 triumph back last month at Hard Rock Stadium. So, therefore, should the two teams remain tied at the end of the year, the Dolphins would pick in front of Washington.
Yet, another Dolphins win, might be enough to now have a second team in front of them in the draft order for good.
Certainly, the Fins offense has responded over the last three games to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and they have actually had a double-digit lead in each of the last two contests.
Now they’re playing an Indianapolis team but not only suffered a defeat on the scoreboard at the hands of the Steelers, but also in the injury department to starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
Brissett suffered a sprained knee during the first half of the game and has been able to practice only on a limited basis. And, it’s still not completely known if he can play, or how effectively for Sunday? Yet, the odds makers still don’t seem to respect Miami, especially on the road this week. And, Indy remains a double digit favorite to hand Miami their eighth loss.
So, this brings us back to Miami and their mentality from here on out. Even though coach Brian Flores (celebrating last Sunday above) has maintained that they will continue to do everything they can to try to win games, the actions of the front office have demonstrated otherwise by getting rid of one starting veteran player after another.
This has been verified with the repeated trades during the season.
One thing is certain from the math: if Miami does win a game before that match up with Cincinnati, it all but assures they are not going to end up with the number one pick. And as laid out above with the hapless Redskins, it’s very likely that winning a second game puts them in front of Washington for good.
But like we said, intrigue will be everywhere on the Dolphins effort and execution starting against the Colts Sunday.
Dolphins were back to their bumbling ways Sunday
As the Dolphins came back down to earth in a humbling 37 – 20 loss to Buffalo Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium, many of the same flaws from their 0- 7 start were back.
Although Ryan Fitzpatrick ended with good numbers and did not throw an interception, Miami lacked offensive punch from the outset.
Miami punted the ball on each of their first four possessions and by the time they had reached the middle of the second quarter, it was already 16 – 0 in favor of the Bills.
The Dolphins could not run the ball as Kalen Ballage had nine carries for only nine yards against what’s a good but not great Buffalo defense. Newly extended receiver Allen Hurns promptly fumbled after a first half reception.
It looked all too familiar to the home fans.
The pass protection was poor as Fitzpatrick suffered seven sacks in the game, and Miami was completely one-dimensional by the time the second half rolled around. Fitzpatrick was efficient in the air at 32 – 45 for 323 yards, but a lot of those yards came when the Dolphins trailed by more than two scores the whole second half.
As for the Bills, they ran the ball just fine with 168 yards on the ground and a 5 yard per carry average. Rookie Devin Singletary of FAU came back to the area and tallied 75 yards. And second year QB Josh Allen showed one of the traits that got him drafted in the top 15, as he scrambled seven times for 56 yards, including a second-half touchdown.
Yes, The Bills are putting themselves in position to be back in the playoffs for the second time in three years, as they completed the season sweep over the Fins.
It’s the kind of improvement under coach Sean McDermott that Miami eventually wants to see with coach Brian Flores. But, days after Flores was doing his best Bill Belichick “we’re on to Buffalo” with media questions, Miami was “on to another loss.”
And, as the Dolphins sank to 2 – 8, their reality is they aren’t talented enough or coached well enough, across-the-board to play good football game in and game out.
Buffalo reminded them of that Sunday.
Dolphins give veteran WR Hurns new deal
In a season that began horribly at 0- 7, the Dolphins have begun to come around and now, put some pieces into place for the future. That includes re-upping a veteran wide receiver on Saturday.
The team announced a new two-year extension for wideout Allen Hurns Saturday. And while it’s only a modest contract, it is a signal but the team is trying to build with at least some veteran players in the future..
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport had the contract details on Hurns is getting a new $8 million dollar extension through 2021:
The #Dolphins signed WR Allen Hurns to a 2-year extension worth $8M, source said. He gets $3.27M guaranteed.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 16, 2019
This is a raise over his 1-year 2.5 million contract he signed with Miami on the eve of training camp.
Hurns entered the league undrafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014. His best season in North Florida was 2015, where he caught for just over 1,000 yards and 10 TDs. After getting a four year extension from the Jags, they cut him loose to free up cap space after the 2017 season.
Hurns then signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys worth $12 million. However, after he played all 16 games in the regular season with 20 catches and 2 TDs, he suffered a horrific broken ankle in the Cowboys playoff win over Seattle, and was placed on injured reserve.
Dallas eventually released Hurns earlier this year and that’s when Dolphins GM Chris Grier swooped in bring a veteran presence to their locker room on a one year deal.
Hurns, who just turned 28 earlier this week, has played in nine games this season with three starts, including the last two. He doesn’t have more than three catches in any of them and only one touchdown, which came in the Monday night loss to the Steelers three weeks ago. Hurns also suffered a severe concussion against his team, Dallas, in week three.
It is obvious that Miami went on a veteran purge for most of their roster in the offseason and the beginning of this year. And, that included getting rid of veteran speedster Kenny Stills in a huge trade with team-mate Laremy Tunsil to the Texans on the eve of the season.
That brought the Dolphins to number one picks in return. Miami also released veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola in a salary cap move earlier this year.
Miami wants to count on former number one pick DeVante Parker. And, they were also very high on undrafted free agent Preston Williams before he suffered an ACL injury in the win over the Jets two weeks ago.
Finally, as has been the case with Hurns’ last couple of deals, the contract only reportedly has $3.2 million guaranteed and is therefore team friendly to get rid of him, if they choose to do so at any point next season.
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