The Dolphins are in the midst of three consecutive prime time games for the first time in their history. And they might not get an opportunity for two in a row, let alone three, anytime soon based on a couple of factors:
• The Dolphins continue to disappoint when given a national stage. Since the start of the 2015 season (Joe Philbin was fired four games into that season), Miami is 1-8 in games televised to the entire country. They’ve been outscored by an embarrassing 246-122 in those games.
Under Adam Gase, the Dolphins are 1-5 in those games. This season, they’ve been outscored 87-24 in those full national games, though at least they were competitive Sunday.
• Miami hasn’t exactly been a huge national draw this season. Sunday’s game drew a 9.6 rating in 56 major markets – which won the night among prime time television shows but also was the lowest major market rating for a Week 9 Sunday night game since NBC acquired the package in 2006.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Miami-Fort Lauderdale’s disappointing 13.6 rating for the game (equal to 13.6 percent of homes with TV sets) ranked only sixth among the 56 markets, curiously behind cities including New Orleans, Buffalo and Richmond.
What’s more, the 8.4 metered market rating for Baltimore’s 40-0 drubbing of the Dolphins the previous week was the lowest for a CBS Thursday night game this season.
The Dolphins have two more full national TV game this season: next Monday at Carolina and Monday, Dec. 11 against New England, both on ESPN.
GASE PLEASED WITH BACKS
With Jay Ajayi dispatched to Philadelphia, Gase was pleased with what Miami got Sunday night from Kenyan Drake (nine carries, 69 yards and six catches for 35 yards) and from Damien Williams. Though Williams had only 14 yards on seven carries, he caught six passes for 47, including a touchdown.
Drake played 37 offensive snaps, Williams 30.
"We had some good runs," Gase said. "I like where our running game is headed. Those guys gave us everything they had. Damien cares about one thing. And that’s winning."
One blemish was Drake’s fumble, only Miami’s second all season. That fumble was "a tough one, kind of got spun around and hit weird," Gase said.
• Gase said he had no update on Ja’Wuan James, who left during the game with a hamstring injury and had a sleeve on his left leg afterward. Sam Young played Miami’s final 16 snaps at right tackle after James’ injury.
Gase said he held guard Ted Larsen out Sunday because he hadn’t had a full contact practice yet after returning from a biceps injury that has sidelined him since early August.
• The Dolphins used Georgia rookie safety Maurice Smith on 18 snaps on Sunday, including a bunch of third downs, in relief of Michael Thomas, who played 45 of Miami’s 63 defensive snaps. Gase said he’s excited to watch safety T.J. McDonald, who comes off NFL suspension this week.
• Gase declined to comment on changing his rule and allowing Julius Thomas, Michael Thomas and Kenny Stills to kneel on the sideline during the National Anthem.
• Gase, on tight end Julius Thomas’ strong game (six catches, 84 yards, one touchdown): "We finally got some of coverages we were looking for, so that’s what happens."
• The Dolphins’ streak of consecutive wins in games decided by a touchdown or less ended at 12 games, two short of the NFL record.
• With Tampa Bay announcing quarterback Jameis Winston will be shut down several weeks to rest an army injury, that would mean Ryan Fitzpatrick would be in line to start Nov. 19 at Miami.