What does 1-4 sound like?
Silence filled the Dolphins’ locker room a half-hour after the latest -- and arguably worst -- embarrassment of this still-young season, a 30-17 beatdown courtesy of the Tennessee Titans Sunday.
Perhaps Dolphins players, who evacuated their dressing room Sunday with the urgency of school kids during a fire drill, had nothing to say.
Or perhaps their fans said enough for them.
Yes, we’re just a third of the way through the season, and Dolphins Nation has had enough.
Of this year. Of this team. And of Ryan Tannehill.
About the only time they stopped booing in the fourth quarter was to chant: “We want Moore!”
As in Matt Moore, Tannehill’s backup.
Yes, it’s gotten ugly, early, here in Miami.
And why are they so upset?
“We’re inept right now,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said with typical honesty. “We’ve just got to figure something out.”
No matter what Gase, Tannehill (who will remain Miami’s starter for the rest of the season, his coach insisted) and the rest try, the result is the same:
An offense that is somehow worse now than it has been in years.
The ugly reality Sunday against an average Titans defense:
▪ One offensive touchdown.
▪ Two hundred yards of offense.
▪ Six sacks.
▪ Seven failed third-down conversions on 11 tries.
▪ Two more turnovers.
▪ A 13-minute deficit in time of possession.
▪ Five three-and-outs.
▪ And, most importantly, a seventh loss in nine games, dating back to the 2015 season.
Tannehill has been the quarterback for all of those losses. The quarterback gets the lion’s share of the credit, in good times or bad.
And this quarterback is regressing, plain and simple. He’s worse in 2016 than he was in 2015, when he was worse than 2014.
He can’t get the ball to his weapons. Deep threat DeVante Parker was targeted just three times.
He can’t feel pressure. Several of his sacks should have been avoided.
And he can’t get the Dolphins in the end zone.
So five years’ worth of fan frustration bubbled over Sunday. It’s remarkable it took as long as it did.
Tannehill’s teammates, however, believe the blame should be spread around. Some were angry for their quarterback when the boo birds came calling. One starter pointed out that the people who jeered Tannehill are the same one who cheer him when things go well.
“It's just frustrating, because I know the work he puts in, every day,” said offensive guard Jermon Bushrod. “We are literally grinding and grinding and grinding and grinding. And then we come out here and lay an egg like we've done, it's frustrating. I understand. Fans pay their hard-earned money and we can't win no games, they have the right to boo. Until we get it turned around ... They pay our hard-earned money for us to put on a show for them and we're not putting on a show.”
As a result, the Dolphins lost for the fourth time in five games. Their playoff hopes are a pipe dream, and there are 11 more weeks of this to endure.
Granted, luck conspired against them this week. Left tackle Branden Albert didn’t play after losing a dozen pounds to illness in recent days. Albert’s replacement, Laremy Tunsil, hurt his ankle pre-game and couldn’t go. The Dolphins had to start Billy Turner at the position for the first time ever. Dallas Thomas filled in at left guard.
All of that convinced Gase to throttle down on the pace and huddle more than normal. He wanted to control the clock. And yet, the Dolphins couldn’t hold onto the ball, which left their defense, playing without three starters, again exposed.
The Titans (2-3) outgained the Dolphins by nearly a two-to-one margin. Tennessee rushed for 235 yards on 41 carries.
“If I were them, I wouldn’t stop doing that,” said Ndamukong Suh, who didn’t have a quarterback sack or a tackle for loss Sunday. “You can run the clock out and also put up points.”
The Dolphins, meanwhile, can do neither.
And they heard about it Sunday.
“I hate it as much as my first high school game, the first time I lost,” said defensive end Cameron Wake. “The same pain, the same digust, the same fury. It boils inside of you. It doesn’t get any easier. Unfortunately I’ve experienced it too many times.”