NFL Wire News

Dolphins floundering, Philbin in trouble


DAVIE, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins experienced a total collapse Sunday in a 41-13 road loss to the New England Patriots. Any realistic chances of making the playoffs are gone, and coach Joe Philbin might be next.

Philbin is 22-24 in his third season in charge, and it appears Miami is regressing.

The Dolphins (7-7) peaked at midseason when a three-game win streak over the Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars and San Diego Chargers ran their record to 5-3.

Since then, Miami is 2-4 with victories over the Buffalo Bills (8-6) and the New York Jets (3-11) and losses to the Detroit Lions (10-4), Denver Broncos (11-3), Baltimore Ravens (9-5) and New England (11-3).

Philbin said he’s not concerned about his future right now.

“What my focus is, and the team’s and staff’s, is this week,” Philbin said. “This is game 15. This is the 2014 season.

“What’s happened in the past certainly at some point in time is relevant, but right now what’s relevant is getting our team to play up to their potential for 60 minutes against the Minnesota Vikings. That’s really all that is important to me right now.”

Philbin said he talked with owner Steve Ross after Sunday’s loss, without expounding on whether they discussed the coach’s future.

“We’ll talk again a number of times throughout the course of the week,” Philbin said. “We’re both disappointed in how the team performed in the second half. …

“We just talked in general about the game. We didn’t perform well enough in the second half. We were both disappointed. Players were disappointed. Coaches are disappointed. Owners are disappointed. I think that’s understandable.”

Philbin, aware that his job status likely will be the focus of media and fans the next two weeks, sidestepped a question on whether he deserves to return next season.

“The focus is on the Minnesota Vikings,” he said. “There is going to be a time and a place for all those types of discussions.”

Right guard Mike Pouncey was among the numerous players who said Philbin should return next season.

“I hope so,” he said. “I think he’s a really good coach. He’s been a guy that’s stuck with me through the good and bad. He’s not the problem, I’ll tell you that.”

Other players said it is not their decision.

“It’s probably not a question you should ask me,” wide receiver Brandon Gibson said.

Linebacker Philip Wheeler added, “I don’t know. I can’t speak for those who make those type of decisions.”

The Dolphins finished 7-9 in Philbin’s first season. Last year, after enduring a bullying scandal, the Dolphins finished 8-8, losing their final two games to the Bills and Jets.

This season they could show improvement by finishing 9-7, but they failed to contend for a playoff spot in Weeks 16 and 17, something they did last season.


–PASSING OFFENSE: C — QB Ryan Tannehill (one touchdown pass, two interceptions) wasn’t sharp, and he was sacked four times. However, at least he threw deep, completing passes of 50 and 32 yards. WR Mike Wallace had 104 receiving yards, and WR Jarvis Landry added 99. The passing game wasn’t good, but it showed promise.

–RUSHING OFFENSE: D — RB Lamar Miller (47 yards rushing) only had three carries in the second half. As a team, the Dolphins were fairly ineffective on the ground. Tannehill (21 yards) was the second-leading rusher. Not good.

–PASS DEFENSE: D — Miami didn’t have a sack, but LB Jason Trusnik produced an interceptions. Still, it was a poor showing. QB Tom Brady (two touchdown passes, one interception) was good, especially in the second half, and TE Rob Gronkowski (96 yards receiving, one TD) had his way with the linebackers and secondary.

–RUSH DEFENSE: C — The Dolphins allowed 108 rushing yards, which isn’t good, but New England’s ground game wasn’t the killer. It should be noted, however, that Miami allowed Brady a 17-yard run on third-and-11. That allowed the Patriots to score a touchdown on their first possession after halftime and fuel a 24-point outburst in the third quarter.

–SPECIAL TEAMS: D — The Dolphins did well expect for a blocked field goal in the first quarter that was returned 62 yards for a touchdown. It was a critical error, and it was enough to bring down the showing for the entire game.

–COACHING: D — Miami did well in the first half, trailing just 14-13. However, the Dolphins allowed 24 points in the third quarter — unacceptable in such a big game. It was a performance that might have ensured coach Joe Philbin won’t return for a fourth season.

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