Here’s one 50th season tidbit that will go overlooked by the Dolphins’ marketing department:
This year’s pass defense is statistically the worst in franchise history.
And it’s not even close.
Opposing quarterbacks this year have shredded the Dolphins for 3,908 yards and 31 touchdowns with an eye-popping 65.6 completion percentage.
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Those 31 touchdowns are tied with the 1967 Dolphins for most allowed in franchise history. And like the ’67 squad, the mark was set in just 14 games.
But bad news for this year’s Dolphins: They have two more games to obliterate it.
Plus, the team’s records for worst defensive completion percentage and highest passer rating allowed in a season are both almost certain to fall.
Teams have amassed an absurd 100.2 rating against the Dolphins’ defense this year. By way of comparison, the previous high in a season for Miami was 92.4, set in 2007.
Furthermore, the Dolphins’ current opposing completion percentage is a full three points higher than the previous high Miami had ever allowed (62.5, in 1996).
Let’s have a little fun with numbers here. If the last two teams on the schedule — Indianapolis and New England — attempt just seven total passes, and Miami’s defense intercepts them all, the Dolphins still would have allowed the highest passer rating in franchise history.
Likewise, the Colts and Patriots could combine for 23 passes without a completion, and this year’s defense would still finish with the highest completion percentage in the franchise’s 50 seasons.
“Very difficult,” Brent Grimes said, when asked about the 2015 season. “Nobody likes losing like that.”
Grimes added that the team needs to “put better stuff out there on film.”
That begins with Grimes, who has probably had his worst season as a starter.
He had a nice moment Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, intercepting Philip Rivers. But even then, he was beaten by 5 yards and only came up with the pick because Rivers underthrew the ball.
Grimes has a massive salary cap number last season and will presumably only be back if he agrees to a significant restructure.
But he’s not the only one to blame. The Dolphins have unsuccessfully tried four players at the other corner spot — Brice McCain, Jamar Taylor, Bobby McCain and Tony Lippett.
Bobby McCain said he “definitely” feels that he is playing better than what the numbers suggest.
“I’m sure we all do,” McCain added. “But at the end of the day, it’s about winning ballgames and that’s we’re not doing.”
They haven’t won nearly enough, and the pass defense is a big reason why.
None of the five corners used this year should be counted upon to start for the Dolphins next year.
Mike Tannenbaum will likely address the position in both free agency (Leon Hall and Sean Smith might be the best of the bunch) and in the draft (Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey and Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III are both options in the first round).
If there is a bit of good news for the Dolphins, it’s this: The Colts will again be without injured starter Andrew Luck on Sunday.
And super sub Matt Hasselbeck is “beat up from the feet up,” as Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. Hasselbeck (back/ribs) has been limited in practice the past two days. If he can’t go Sunday, third-stringer Charlie Whitehurst would start.
But guess who’s looming in Week 17? Tom Brady and the Patriots, who might have everything to play for should they lose to the Jets on Sunday.
So it’s nearly impossible to envision the Dolphins not allowing at least one passing touchdown in the final two weeks. They’ve surrendered eight in the past three games.
“The numbers are what they are,” defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo said. “There’s no two ways around it.
“If the numbers were good, we’d be real happy here today. But, obviously, they’re not, so it’s obviously a representation of what’s gone on on the field. There’s no two ways around it.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ Wide receiver Jarvis Landry sat out practice Thursday with a knee injury, but coach Dan Campbell said he expects Landry to play. Left tackle Branden Albert, meanwhile, practiced fully after getting a rest day Wednesday.
There was a new addition to Thursday’s injury report: Receiver DeVante Parker was limited by an ankle injury.
Offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James (toe) and receiver Rishard Matthews (ribs) continue to make progress, but neither is likely to play against the Colts.
▪ Dolphins players are off for Christmas.