Whether or not the Dolphins ever intended to be this bad is now irrelevant.
The more important question is what happens if the worst is yet to come?
Hard to believe that’s possible after getting embarrassed by the Ravens 59-10 Sunday.
If 59 points sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. It’s the most ever allowed by the Dolphins in a regular season game. Sunday was also the biggest regular-season margin of defeat in team history.
But with the Antonio Brown and the Patriots coming to town next week, it’s hard to see how it will get any better.
“We’ve got problems on offense, defense and special teams,” Dolphins coach Brian Flores, who told reporters Miami’s failures “start with me.”
Perhaps. But they certainly don’t end there.
This was a disaster on every level.
And it’s so bad that some unnamed players want out, Pro Football Talk reported Sunday. That gibes with our reporting from two weeks ago, when a very credible source said a locker room “revolt” is coming if the Dolphins went through with their plan to trade Laremy Tunsil. They did, getting two first-round picks and a second in return.
To be clear, as of Sunday evening, no player had approached the team asking for a release or a trade, the team insists.
But if Sunday’s ineptitude becomes a trend, those requests will almost certainly come, particularly from veteran players who don’t want to waste a year what remains of their career.
The Dolphins, in their 54th season opener, looked like a team determined to get the No. 1 pick in the draft.
They allowed touchdowns on their first four defensive possessions (and six of their first seven), threw terrible picks, dropped punts and surrendered 19 first downs on Baltimore’s first 42 plays from scrimmage.
And that doesn’t even mention the offensive line, which started two guys added to the roster in the last 10 days. Jesse Davis, the team’s new $15 million man, might be a good guard in this league. But he’s not a left tackle. Unfortunately, that’s where Flores lined him up Sunday.
The Ravens were constantly in Ryan Fitzpatrick’s kitchen. They even pulled up a stool and had some eggs.
“It’s a loss that you don’t want to experience, that you don’t want to be a part of,” said center and Dolphins team captain Daniel Kilgore. “We’re going to be men and we’re going to take this, and we’re going to take ownership of it. We’re going to move on.”
John Harbaugh showed no mercy either, successfully executing a fake punt up 32 in the first half. Disrespectful, sure. But who can blame him? Point differential is the seventh playoff tiebreaker.
Quick FYI to the rest of the league: Fear Lamar Jackson’s arm and his legs. He threw five touchdowns on his first 17 passes Sunday, repeatedly picking on Jomal Wiltz. Minkah Fitzpatrick also had a rough day, chasing in vain as Marquise Brown ran past him for a touchdown. He appeared to be pulled midway through the second half.
Jackson finished his day with a perfect passer rating. He completed 17 of 20 passes for 324 yards ... in three quarters of play.
The Dolphins just didn’t have the firepower to match. Fitzpatrick’s passer rating was 66. The Dolphins had 21 rushing yards — and eight of those came on a scramble by Fitzpatrick.
Kenyan Drake remains the forgotten man in Miami, getting just six touches despite being list as the team’s starting running back.
“I can’t control that, so when I know to go in there, I control the opportunities that I have and maximize those opportunities,” Drake said.
If it sounds like we’re piling on, we haven’t even gotten to the worst part: The defense was a joke.
Along with 59 points, the Ravens had 29 first downs and 643 yards from scrimmage — the most ever allowed in Dolphins history.
“It’s just a wakeup call,” said linebacker Jerome Baker. “We’re all we’ve got, so we’ve got to go out there, and perform next week.”
A few more ugly stats on the way out: Baltimore controlled the ball more than twice as long as Miami and the Ravens’ 42 first-half points tied for the most allowed in a half by the Dolphins since the merger.
The Patriots rung up Miami for 42 once as well. That was in 2007, when the Dolphins went 1-15.
At this point, they’ll be lucky to get one win in 2019.
“It’s just one game out of 16,” Dolphins linebacker Raekwon McMillan said. “We can’t let one game dictate our whole season, regardless of what just happened. If we would have won by 60, we can’t let that win dictate the whole season. We’re going to be better, I can promise you that. We’re going to go to work, and we’ll see what happens.”