Armando Salguero

RIP: The Miami Dolphins season is over

The Miami Dolphins’ Jakeem Grant (19) gets swamped by Tampa Bay Buccaneers players on a kick return in the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, Nov. 19, 2017.
The Miami Dolphins’ Jakeem Grant (19) gets swamped by Tampa Bay Buccaneers players on a kick return in the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, Nov. 19, 2017. ctrainor@miaiherald.com

This Dolphins season is over. And this season deserves to die because of the four consecutive losses the Miami Dolphins have suffered the past month, this was by far the most embarrassing.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30.

Miami Dolphins 20.

Put a fork in 2017.

The Dolphins are only 4-6 now with six games to play so technically the season is not over. But who is anyone kidding?

This team that will go to New England next Sunday — a place they haven’t won since 2008 — isn’t ready to compete with the NFL’s bottom dwelling teams. How are they going to pretend they have a chance in a division that the Patriots have dominated for 14 seasons?

How are the Dolphins going to pretend they can put together a playoff push?

This team wasn’t even ready to put together a semi-solid performance at home against a 3-6 Tampa Bay team Sunday.

The Dolphins had 17 penalties for 123 yards.

The starting quarterback, Jay Cutler, was knocked out of the game in the first half.

The defense, good the first month of the season, was in free fall much of this game.

The defensive meltdown is particularly frustrating. The unit didn’t play well the first half. But gathered itself long enough in the second half to allow their offensive teammates to rally and actually tie the game at 20.

And then, with less than three minutes to play, the defense collapsed.

The Dolphins yielded a 58-yard drive in nine plays that included a 24-yard third down completion from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Chris Godwin in what turned into a field goal drive. It was the winning drive.

The special team fumble and ensuring Tampa Bay touchdown on the ensuing kickoff was just salt in a wound. The game was fully lost anyway.

So this Dolphins team has much to consider now. No, I’m not talking about gathering a game plan for next week. Nobody cares about that. That thing is moot.

I’m talking about what to do going into the offseason. And next season.

Because this season is a mess.

Speaking of mess, the first half Sunday was a nightmare.

The Miami offensive turned the ball over four times. It gained 69 yards on the first play from scrimmage on a Damien Williams run — and then gained 87 yards the entire rest of the half.

The second quarter was particularly unproductive in that the Dolphins gained four yards.

The defense, meanwhile, was not at its best, either.

Although the Buccaneers only led 20-7, it could have been more had they not dropped a handful of passes and missed a field goal try. Despite this, backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 16 of 24 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns. His passer rating was 117.6

The Dolphins, meanwhile, went to the locker room with a starting quarterback that would not play another down.

Jay Cutler, who threw three interceptions in the first half, was evaluated for a concussion at halftime. He didn’t return.

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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