The Dolphins have finally found something they’re really good at:
Being really, really, historically bad.
Two weeks, two blowout losses at home.
A week ago was the worst defensive performance in team history.
Sunday against the Patriots, it was the offense’s turn.
Two pick sixes.
Two dropped would-be touchdowns.
Fourteen weeks to go.
On a day the Dolphins flirted with the franchise record for fewest yards gained in a game (88), they were outscored by New England’s offense (24 points), defense (12 points) and special teams (7 points).
Final score: Patriots 43, Dolphins 0.
How bad was it?
The Dolphins had a grand total of 38 yards through three quarters.
They were shut out at home for the first time in nine years.
And there’s reason to believe this year might get worse before it gets better.
Sunday’s blowout comes on the heels of Miami’s Week 1 beatdown at the hands of the Ravens.
So through two weeks, the Dolphins have been outscored 102-10. That’s not just the most points allowed in their first two games in team history.
It’s 31 points worse than the previous record (set in 1968).
This week and last were two of the 15 highest point totals allowed by the Dolphins since the merger.
And here’s the crazy part of it all: They weren’t even that terrible Sunday, at least on defense.
But the offense was putrid, highlighted (lowlighted?) by two pick-sixes in a span of five plays by Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was pulled for Josh Rosen in the second half for the second straight week.
“We’ve got to improve,” said Fitzpatrick, who went 11 of 21 for 89 yards and threw three interceptions. “We’ve got to get better. There’s not going to be anybody in this league that’s going to feel sorry for us, so we’ve got to continue to try to get better every day with ourselves and collectively as a team, and hopefully, again, the results are going to start showing up on Sunday.”
But it might be for another quarterback.
Brian Flores gave no assurances that Fitzpatrick would keep his job, meaning Rosen could be the team’s starter next Sunday against the Cowboys.
If so, the Dolphins might have something to build on — even they weren’t rewarded with a good result.
Rosen uncorked two perfect deep passes in three plays — but both were dropped. (The first by Jakeem Grant, the second by Preston Williams.)
But even those throws couldn’t mask the Dolphins’ deep, deep issues on offense.
The Patriots sacked Fitzpatrick four times in 25 dropbacks, and Rosen three times in 21. Together, New England hit Dolphins quarterbacks 12 times.
“We work too hard during the week to not have some good things happen,” Dolphins center Daniel Kilgore said. “Tipped balls at the line, the sacks — again, not establishing first, second down positive plays — those are things we need to work on.”
Added tackle Jesse Davis: “Go back to what we have been doing and obviously step our level up, because what we’re doing right now ain’t working.”
To say the least.
The Dolphins ran 24 first-down plays Sunday. Thirteen of them went for no gain or lost yards.
They turned the ball over once out of every 15 snaps.
They went without a first down for the entire second and third quarters.
They went three-and-out five times and four-and-out once.
They converted just two of 15 third downs.
And they squandered what was a relatively good defensive performance.
A week after surrendering 59 to the Ravens, the Dolphins held the high-flying Patriots to 16 points on New England’s first seven possessions.
Finally, the heat and the adversity and Tom Brady wore them down.
“Losing sucks,” Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard said. “We still have to keep our head strong. I feel like we just have to get better each week. I feel like we did way better than we did last week. I feel like we’ve got to keep improving and get better each week.”
They better. Because blowout loss after blowout loss can cripple the morale of a team — and make members of the locker room question the leadership.
“I think that’s a resilient group in there,” Flores said. “It really is. That’s a resilient group in there. They’re not making excuses. They’re not going to point fingers. We’re just going to go back to work tomorrow, make the corrections, come back Wednesday, make some more corrections and try to get better.”