Were the Dolphins so focused on their pre-game demonstration Sunday that it had them distracted once the game began? And is that the reason they looked lost in North Jersey?
No way, Dolphins guard Jermon Bushrod said back in South Florida Monday.
“Of course, with everything that happened yesterday, that's going to be the first thing to blame — like our head wasn't in it,” Bushrod said. “At the end of the day, we just didn't get the job done. We just got our butts kicked. It had nothing to do with anything else.”
Dolphins players, coaches and owner Stephen Ross linked arms during the national anthem in a show of unity and support after Donald Trump called anyone who takes a knee in protest a “son of a b-----” and should be fired. Six Dolphins players knelt during the anthem Sunday: Jay Ajayi, Julius Thomas, Laremy Tunsil, Maurice Smith, Jordan Phillips and Kenny Stills.
Their show of unity was probably the team’s highlight of the day. The Dolphins were terrible on offense and not much better on defense, losing 20-6 to a Jets team that all evidence suggests is tanking in 2017.
Some Dolphins fans believe there was a correlation between the players’ activism and their flat performance. But in reality, the team spent less than 10 minutes discussing their plan Saturday night, and players insisted that the demonstration was put out of their minds shortly after it ended.
In the team’s mind, the explanation for what went wrong is much simpler: The Dolphins got mauled by the Jets at the line of scrimmage. They rushed for just 30 yards on 15 carries and allowed quarterback Jay Cutler to be hit seven times.
“I had two terrible plays that I didn't like, I got my quarterback hit once,” Bushrod said. “I didn't like that.”
Bushrod continued: “They showed some things that we haven't seen from him on tape. Us as professionals have to find a way to correct things on the go, and we can't harp on the past. We had a lot of negative plays. We can't let that thing kind of mess up the rest of our game plan and what we're trying to get accomplished. But yeah, I can go back, I wish there were a few plays I could get back, for sure.”