The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

HOOTIE’S CRYING TONIGHT

Just when it appeared the Dolphins were headed to the playoffs, they traveled to Buffalo and played absolutely heartless, gutless, uninspired football in a game that meant everything to them.  As a result, they were beaten and beaten up in an embarrassing 19-0 shutout loss.  How a team on a 3-game winning streak needing a win to almost assure themselves a spot in the playoffs could not get up for a game against a lesser team that beat them at home earlier this season defies explanation.  Two things are for sure: (1) the coaching staff did not get this team ready to play; and (2) the players should not have needed the coaches to get them motivated with the playoffs on the line and a chance to avenge their earlier season loss.  Now the Fins’ playoff drought is almost sure to continue, leaving Hootie (and all Dolfans) crying tonight.

This game was a horror from start to finish.  The Fins’ had only 56 yards of offense in the first half as opposed to the Bills’ 205 yards.  They had 7 first-half possessions and each of them ended with a punt.  Five of those 7 possessions were three-and-outs.   Ryan Tannehill was sacked 4 times in the first half.  When he wasn’t being sacked he was being harassed.  The running game produced 9 yards on 9 attempts–you don’t need to be a statistician to figure out their average per carry.  With numbers like that it was no surprise the Fins were behind 10-0 at the half.

The second half was no better.  The Fins managed only 6 yards of offense in the third quarter.  Amazingly, they had only 46 net yards passing in the second half.  This was amazing because one pass accounted for 50 yards.  The net came out to only 46 because there were 3 sacks in the second half.  Matt Moore came in after Ryan Tannehill sustained a knee injury as he was being sacked for the 6th time.  Although it was Moore who threw the 50-yarder to Brian Hartline, typical for this disastrous day, his next pass was intercepted.  Moore was intercepted once again later on.  His 6 pass attempts resulted in only 2 incompletions, the problem being 2 of those 6 passes were caught by the Bills.  Tannehill wasn’t much better.  He completed only 10 of 27 attempts with a long of 13 yards for a miserable (and well deserved) QB Rating of 45.6.

Even normally sure-handed, dependable Brian Hartline had an off day.  He was targeted 10 times, but had only 2 receptions thanks to an unmistakable case of the dropsies.

Meanwhile, we are all still awaiting the so-called Bullygate Report from the NFL.  One has to wonder if the report will be released this week since the NFL had said it would be released after the season was over.  It would be difficult to argue that the Fins’ season is not over following the nosedive in Buffalo.

So the bottom line is despite some early season and early December optimism, it ends up being yet another season of disappointment in Dolphinland.  So yes, Hootie (and all Dolfans) are crying tonight.

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