FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Feel like the season is starting to slip away? Like there are no real answers? Like no one on the Dolphins is really dependable, least of all the men most responsible for making things right?
In short, do you feel like youve seen this terrible scene play out before?
That may be because the Dolphins have been here and done all of that before and, by the way, it has never ended well in the past.
The Dolphins lost to the Patriots here on Sunday.
It was 27-17 in the end but that final score doesnt account for the horrible collapse that preceded it.
It doesnt account for another bad game by quarterback Ryan Tannehill. It doesnt account for (more) inconsistent play calling by offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. It doesnt account for a defense that saw things slipping away, knew why things were slipping away, and ultimately was helpless to keep the game from, yes, slipping away.
There really isnt any explanation, receiver Brian Hartline said when he was asked why such a good start led to such a disheartening finish. I would like to think if we knew what the explanation was we would have corrected it. We didnt. We lost and they played better and now we have three days until our next game.
To me, I thought in order to beat New England you have to score 30 points. We didnt score 30 points so we didnt win.
The Dolphins havent scored 30 points all season and, true enough, coach Joe Philbin said before this game his team had to play its best game to beat the Patriots at a venue where they havent lost an October game since 2005.
But instead of delivering their best game, the Dolphins offered up this seasons worst quarter of football a third quarter in which a 17-3 halftime lead evaporated into a 20-17 deficit.
The Patriots had been outscored 44-9 in the third quarter of their seven previous games. Then they outscored Miami, 17-0 in Sundays depressing third quarter.
And then fourth quarter follies followed.
Tannehill, who hadnt previously thrown an interception, threw two. The defense, which previously limited the New England running game, gave up 61 rushing yards. And Sherman, who previously and finally seemed to discover Lamar Miller running the ball (16 times and 69 yards), called on Miller only two times despite still being in the game.
This is what the Dolphins had as response in a difficult moment?
Second half I felt like we let up on them, said linebacker Phillip Wheeler. We got to look at the film to see why, but I felt we just let up. I just felt as team, not just a defense, as a team we let up. Not backed off purposely. We didnt finish them. Like coach always says, he wants us to finish. We didnt finish.
That shouldnt come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the Dolphins.
This game, you see, had the exact same feel of the 2011 Dolphins trip to New England. That team led the Patriots 17-0 at halftime.
That team lost the game, 27-24.
Brady recovered from a poor first half. The New England defense suddenly stiffened. The Dolphins quarterback suddenly couldnt move the offense. And that coaching staff had no answers.
The problem is that was a different Brady as Sundays New England quarterback is older and has fewer weapons and somehow seems to be increasingly inconsistent. And that long ago Miami quarterback was not Tannehill, who is supposed to be developing into a franchise player but instead continues to deliver unsteady play that simply doesnt show significant improvement.