Armando Salguero

Quick reaction: Dolphins good enough to beat Bills, but not good enough

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) is sacked by Buffalo Bills defensive back Rafael Bush (20) in the first quarter as the Miami Dolphins host the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, December 2, 2018.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) is sacked by Buffalo Bills defensive back Rafael Bush (20) in the first quarter as the Miami Dolphins host the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, December 2, 2018. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Go ahead and enjoy this victory because it was hard-fought and the Miami Dolphins earned it.

Go ahead and enjoy this because the Dolphins have evened their record at 6-6 for the season.

Go ahead and celebrate because the Dolphins believe they still have legitimate playoff hopes and the math confirms their belief.

But based on what I saw this day at Hard Rock Stadium, I believe your celebration will be short-lived. Because the Miami Dolphins are not a good team, folks.

This 20-17 victory the Dolphins sweated out over the Bills should give you little to really and truly be happy about. And that is the Dolphins have an emerging star in cornerback Xavien Howard.

But that’s close to it.

Because the Dolphins were just extended to the final minute of this game by a team that is not very good. And that team came into Hard Rock Stadium and actually led the Dolphins 17-14 with eight minutes to play.

That not-good Buffalo team was one drop in the end zone by an open Charles Clay from winning.

And if you watched and you’re honest, you know that if the Dolphin were playing a legitimate playoff contender or a team that is not nearly as flawed and rebuilding as the Bills, this would have been a loss. This would have been Miami’s fifth loss in six games.

It wasn’t. Give the Dolphins major credit for that. They won.

But do you feel good about this team after today?

The offensive line was a turnstile. Ryan Tannehill was sacked three times. He was under pressure much of the day by a defensive front that was a modest 16th in the NFL when the day began.

The Dolphins defensive front, on the other hand, seemed to be missing in action. They didn’t apply any significant pressure on rookie QB Josh Allen until Robert Quinn had a strip sack with 3:34 to play. Bobby McCain had the other Dolphins sack. He plays cornerback.

And about Allen... He’s a rookie. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

But he’s exciting. He has a future.

Would you rather have Tannehill or Allen? It’s not a simple answer. It’s not a ludicrous question.

Anyway, the point here the Dolphins seemed to match the Bills flaw for flaw this game.

It was an ugly game. It was two hogs mixing it up in the slop.

I know you don’t want to read this. You want me to tell you the happy narrative that the Dolphins stopped a losing skid and are still alive in the playoff race.

Great. Believe that if you want.

And I get it. You want something great to believe in.

But I believe this team simply cannot expect to play like this against New England and at Minnesota and expect to win. And this team has to be much better than that for more games than that to claim the last seed of the playoffs.

With this offense line?

With this absent defensive front?

With this inconsistent offense?

No way.

I do believe what is becoming obvious is the Dolphins are very good on special teams. They were that again on Sunday as they have been previously this season. Matt Haack averaged over 45 yards net punting all day and and pinned the Bills in poor position throughout the first half.

The team also recovered a muffed punt that set up a Miami touchdown.

The other exclamation point is Howard. He has seven interceptions this season.

That’s Pro Bowl worthy, folks.

Laremy Tunsil also had another game in which he didn’t give up a sack and not much pressure from what I could tell.

But everyone else? Everything else?

Questionable.

Good enough to beat Buffalo.

But not good enough.

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