How the Dolphins rebound from the loss to Denver will go a long way in how the 2020 season plays out

How Will Miami Respond to Taking a Punch From Denver?

The Dolphins had gone nearly two months without losing a game, but that doesn’t matter when we live in the incredibly reactionary and hot-take filled atmosphere that exists today. Following the loss to Denver, some fans and critics decided that the Dolphins’ inability to win 6 games in a row means that this has become a lost season, Tua is a certified bust, and Brian Flores is a fraud. Incredible. Maybe it’s the cynicism that has rightfully been burned into Dolphins’ fans the past 20 years, but now is a time to relax. Winning 5 games in a row is far from a light task in the NFL, but the Dolphins did it. Then, they ran into a scrappy Broncos team on the road and took a punch to the gut. It’s okay – it happens. Yes, Tua was benched in favor of Fitzpatrick in the 4th quarter, but now we’re going to act as if we’ve never seen a rookie quarterback struggle? Slow down.

Maybe the Dolphins needed that loss. Too many people in the media were counting wins for Miami weeks ahead of time, which is never a good idea. That’s simply not how the NFL functions. It’s possible that this loss will serve as a sort of wake-up call for Miami in the sense that you cannot count wins or overlook opponents. The decision by Flores to bench Tua only furthers the message that no one is above replacement, and winning is paramount regardless of the cost. This loss may have rattled the Dolphins in a productive fashion.

It is also important to remember that the Dolphins are still ahead of schedule. The playoffs were not part of any realistic person’s thoughts about Miami heading into the 2020 season, this was always supposed to be a growth year of sorts. That has completely changed however with consistent defensive performances combined with the hope of #1. Yes, you should hold this team to a higher standard than Dolphins’ teams of recent years, but it should be done with clarity. The offensive line consists of almost all rookies and newcomers, so struggles should not be shocking. The wide receiver corps couldn’t seem to achieve any separation against Denver, but Miami is playing with one true starter at the position. Tua, a rookie quarterback in his 4th NFL start, had a rough game against a stingy defense coached by Vic Fangio. Context helps. Maybe you didn’t see this coming, but it certainly does not mean that Miami is all of the sudden in peril. 

Miami’s schedule softens for the next two weeks as they take on Adam Gase’s winless Jets in week 12, and then the Burrow-less Bengals in week 13. They are still firmly in the playoff picture, however, the waters are beginning to muddy. The Dolphins, at 6-4, hold the same record as the Ravens and Raiders and remain in second place in the AFC East behind 7-3 Buffalo. The sledding gets tough for Miami following week 13, though as their remaining opponents are as follows: vs. Chiefs, vs. Patriots, @ Raiders, @ Buffalo. The path to the playoffs will not come easy for the Dolphins, and after dropping the Denver game they must make up for it down the road. 

For now, just breathe. This team has the opportunity to bounce back nicely in the coming weeks. Patience is key for fans of this growing Miami team, it’s coming together and bumps in the road are natural. Onto New York.