This wasn’t the way a Miami Dolphins loss was supposed to happen on Sunday, right? It was supposed to happen because Brock Osweiler turned from Mr. Brocktober to Mr. Broketober, lapsing suddenly back into the marginal NFL quarterback who finds himself a career journeyman at 27, the afternoon surely unraveling on account of his turnovers.
At least that would have been understandable. Fathomable. Excusable.
The way this loss did happen was none of those things.
It was staggeringly dumbfounding.
Miami’s 32-21 home loss to the Detroit Lions happened because the Dolphins’ defense was as abysmally bad as can possibly fit into three hours of work. It failed to stop Matthew Stafford or the Detroit passing game. It turned Lions rookie running back Kerryon Johnson into Barry Sanders 2.0.
The Dolphins D was an F, grade-wise, allowing the Lions to score on every possession but one. Miami defensive coordinator Matt Burke should shave his luxurious beard overnight and show up for work Monday in a clean-shaven disguise so he might not be recognized. Sunday brought enough shame for any one man to endure.
“There’s no way you could have told me that was something that could happen today,” as defensive end Cam Wake put it afterward, sifting through the debris.
The Dolphins’ defense had been somewhat reliable this season, as close to a count-on-it element on a wildly inconsistent team. Can you count on anything now? Anything about this team you know will be solid next week and the week after? The defense stopped being that on Sunday.
Said a glum coach Adam Gase: “We just couldn’t stop ‘em. That’s just the way it was.”
Osweiler, the easiest one to blame, the ready excuse, was great again. He completed 22 of 31 throws for 239 yards and two touchdowns with no picks. His 24-yard fourth-quarter strike to Danny Amendola was a thing of artistry, a rolling-right strike. He gets to keep “Mr. Brocktober” for another week, manning this Thursday night at Houston.
He’s still the Wizard of Os, Os-wiley, Brock ‘n Roll!
OK we’re getting carried away. Point is, Osweiler has been more than fine filling in while Tannehill’s shoulder mends.
It’s the Dolphins defense that laid down at home Sunday.
Detroit’s first six scoring drives were 64, 85, 75, 65, 75 and 63 yards. No gifts from the field-position gods. These were long drive by a bunch of guys from Detroit who shrugged off South Florida’s infamous heat and humidity and flat-out physically out-manned the guys from Miami.
Detroit’s first play from scrimmage was a 24-yard run by Johnson. It’d get worse.
The Lions would trample Miami for 248 rushing yards on 35 carries, or 7.1 yards per touch.
“A lot has to go wrong for that to happen,” noted Wake.
The pass defense was every bit as bad. Stafford completed 18 of 22 throws for 217 yards and two TDs, a near-perfect 138.1 passer rating.
Oh how Miami’s defense needed to interrupt the torrent of Detroit scoring drives — “A spark play,” suggested safety T.J. MDonald — but no such thing was coming.
Neither were there any big special-teams plays to give the team a lift.
There was nothing but Brock Osweiler being the best Dolphin on the field Sunday — hardly a good position for the Miami to find itself.
So the Dolphins pack a 4-3 record now for the short-week trip to Houston, which will be heavily favored to knock Miami back to .500 at midseason.
Oh, and the New England Patriots, finding a way to win in Chicago Sunday, now sit alone atop the AFC East, ahead of Miami.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
The Dolphins were 3-0 once, right? That really happened, yes?
It seems so long ago and so far away.