NFL Wire News

Dolphins’ D running on empty as playoff hopes fade

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DAVIE, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins (7-6) have the look of a team whose playoff hopes are in great jeopardy.

After Sunday’s 28-13 loss against the Baltimore Ravens, a game in which the Dolphins were outscored, 28-3, in the final three quarters, it appears they will need a small miracle to earn their first playoff berth since 2008.

“We have to win out,” said defensive tackle Jared Odrick.

That’s not good news considering the Dolphins visit New England (10-3) this week. They finish with home games against Minnesota (6-7) and the New York Jets (2-11).

The Dolphins aren’t trending in the right direction.

In the last three weeks, a time in which the Dolphins have gone 1-2, they have allowed 661 yards rushing – 201 against Denver, 277 against the New York Jets and 183 against Baltimore.

In the last two weeks, a time in which the Dolphins have gone 1-1, they have scored two touchdowns.

Last week, the offensive line allowed a season-worst six sacks to Baltimore.

“I hope it was an exception,” offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said. “And I hope it’s the only one that we have like that.”

It’s tough to say whether Baltimore was rock bottom. The Dolphins can’t seem to do anything correctly on a consistent basis lately – running, passing, stopping the run, stopping the pass, nothing.

All of a sudden Miami, which was looking promising when it had 5-3 and 7-5 records, is looking shaky with its 7-6 record. The Dolphins have lost three of their last five games.

“We have to play better,” coach Joe Philbin said. “We have to finish better. We have to step up and make some plays in the fourth quarter.

“To win games in December against good teams, you’ve got to make plays in the fourth quarter. It’s hard to see a lot of plays on tape in the fourth quarter. It’s joint. It starts with me. I’m the head coach.”

NOTES: LB Jelani Jenkins (foot), the team leader with 99 tackles, left Sunday’s game in the third quarter and didn’t return. His status for this week’s game at New England is unknown. If Jenkins can’t play or is limited look for veteran Jason Trusnik to take his place. … TE Charles Clay, who has been battling knee and hamstring problems, had two receptions for 18 yards against Baltimore. He was only targeted three times.

REPORT CARD vs. RAVENS

PASSING OFFENSE: F – They allowed six sacks. QB Ryan Tannehill (23-for-33, 227 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs) overthrew WR Mike Wallace in the end zone, and WR Brandon Gibson dropped a third-down pass. They moved the chains, but not in the red zone and they had too many errors.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C – They rushed 16 times for 63 yards. They only had three carries for six yards in the second half. Lamar Miller (12 carries, 53 yards) was decent, but he hardly had a chance to do anything in the second half.

PASS DEFENSE: C – Ravens QB Joe Flacco (106.8 passer rating) had good success against the Dolphins. The saving grace is CB R.J. Stanford’s interception in the end zone in the second half. But they only had one sack (replay overturned a potentially crucial sack-fumble) and didn’t make many plays in the second half.

RUSH DEFENSE: F – Once again, they were a disappointment. They allowed 183 yards rushing, 111 of those in the fourth quarter. They were OK through the first three quarters, but allowed runs of 44, 23 and 27 yards on Baltimore’s final two possessions.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A – K Caleb Sturgis was 2-for-2 on fields goals, P Brandon Fields punted five times, averaging 51.4 yards per punt and placing three inside the 20. KOR Jarvis Landry had two returns totaling 61 yards. Miami only allowed eight yards on two punt returns, a huge improvement.

COACHING: F – The Dolphins were outscored, 28-3, in the final three quarters. DT Jared Odrick yelled at coach Joe Philbin twice on the sideline. They suffered six sacks. This was a big December game and the team wasn’t prepared.


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