Dolphins still have shot at wild-card berth

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 24, 2013 at 2:31 am •  Published: December 24, 2013
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DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Reeling from their worst loss of the year, the Miami Dolphins can still make the playoffs. Whether they deserve to is open for debate.

Miami can clinch the AFC's final wild-card berth Sunday with a little help and a win over the New York Jets. But a 19-0 loss at Buffalo cost the Dolphins control of their destiny.

"There's no question we laid an egg as a team, — coaches, players, everybody," offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said.

On a cold, windy, rainy afternoon, the Dolphins hardly looked like a team worthy of playing in January. They gained only 103 yards, their lowest total since 1999, and allowed 203 yards rushing, their worst such showing in six years. Beleaguered quarterback Ryan Tannehill limped out of the game with a left knee injury in the fourth quarter, then returned to be sacked for a seventh and final time.

None of which bodes well for Miami's chances against the Jets.

"The problems that popped up in the game and things that need to be fixed, we have to address," coach Joe Philbin said. "We have to play our best game of the year. It's a great way for us to finish the regular season. We've got a great opportunity."

And perhaps Miami (8-7) will bounce back. Even by NFL standards for unpredictability, the Dolphins have been a roller-coaster team.

They defeated three teams that have clinched AFC division titles. They also lost twice to Buffalo and once to Tampa Bay, both last-place teams.

Tannehill beat Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers, Andy Dalton and Matt Ryan. He's 0-2 against Bills backup Thad Lewis.

That's fodder for discussion in the offseason, which the Dolphins hope to delay. They're tied with the Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers in the race for the sixth and final AFC playoff spot, and none of the three teams can clinch a berth without help.

The Dolphins will make the playoffs if they win, and if the Ravens lose or the Chargers win. The reason: Miami wins the tiebreaker if all three teams finish 9-7, but loses if it's a two-way tie with the Ravens, because they beat the Dolphins in Week 5.

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