The Miami Dolphins are undergoing a catastrophic collapse.
Last season, they nearly made the playoffs with a 10-6 record.
This year, they only have one win after seven games despite having practically the same roster.
They can still reach 10 wins, but only if they win nine of their last ten games.
— Brendan Tobin (@Brendan_Tobin) October 27, 2021
That’s impossible, considering the strength of their schedule.
Everyone thought that the Dolphins would compete against the Buffalo Bills for the AFC East title.
Instead, they are fighting off the New York Jets for last place.
Where did all their momentum go?
Perhaps an examination of last year’s performance and some roster decisions will help explain their downfall.
Fitzmagic Is Gone
During this year’s training camp, Tua Tagovailoa admitted that he wasn’t comfortable calling plays when he was still a rookie because he didn’t master the playbook
But not knowing the system by heart is not a good excuse for two reasons.
First, you must know the schemes because that’s why the team drafted you.
Second, it shows a lack of effort during his rookie season.
Very interesting from Tua Tagovailoa today: “I have utmost confidence and trust I am the quarterback of this team. Off conversations I've had with Flo, those will stay private, I feel very confident I’m the person." pic.twitter.com/ypJ2zoJNvo
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) October 27, 2021
He’s lucky that Ryan Fitzpatrick bailed him out in some games, especially against the Las Vegas Raiders.
This year, there’s no Fitzmagic to help Tagovailoa, and he hasn’t proven that he can carry this team.
He would have solid performances, only to make questionable passes like that interception against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London.
If he’s more comfortable running the plays now, then the Dolphins would take that game easily.
What Happened To Their Defense?
Shutting down opponents became the Dolphins’ calling card last season.
They were fifth-best in points allowed last season at 21.1 points per game.
But seven games into their 2021 campaign, Miami has allowed 29.6 points per games (31st in the league).
The Dolphins defense is also the worst in total yards per game at 414.9.
There's only one team in the NFL ranked in the bottom 5 of scoring offense and defense this season.
The Miami Dolphins
Offense: 29th (16.5 PPG)
Defense: t-29th (29.5 PPG) pic.twitter.com/0XxqjpcJEp
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) October 20, 2021
Last year, the Dolphins allowed just five opponents to score at least 30 points.
This season, they already have four games of such nature.
It’s difficult to fathom how they regressed after one season, considering they still have most of their key players.
The Miami Dolphins defense is the most disappointing part of this season and it's not close.
— sports_nut (@sports_n_stuff8) October 24, 2021
Could it be that they got lucky last year, and their true colors are coming out this season?
A closer look at their 2020 schedule might unravel the answer.
Luck Can Be Essential To Victory
Without question, the Dolphins poured out their effort to claim their first winning season since 2016.
But there are glaring reasons for their victories last year without even considering the stat sheet.
The Jaguars ended with a 1-15 record while the Jets nearly had the top overall draft pick for the 2021 draft.
most boring thing I've seen in days… and I spent the past 10 hours studying the 1-15 Jaguars
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) June 7, 2021
The San Francisco 49ers suffered a ton of injuries, most notable of which was Jimmy Garoppolo‘s.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Rams had Jared Goff, who couldn’t run Sean McVay’s offense to perfection.
Look where the Rams are now with Matthew Stafford at the helm.
Then there are the Arizona Cardinals, who lost via a missed field goal, and the Raiders, who went down thanks to that Fitzpatrick no-look pass.
Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins come back to win vs. the Raiders, 26-25 ✨ pic.twitter.com/CENlQW4fA2
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 27, 2020
These storylines helped the Dolphins reach 10 victories.
Another Losing Season In The Books
The Dolphins need eight wins to guarantee a second consecutive winning season.
But that would be an uphill climb because they will still face the Baltimore Ravens, the Tennessee Titans, and the improved Patriots.
Worse, they will visit the Bills in Buffalo next week and will likely fall to 1-7.
The Buffalo Bills schedule right now:
Every team has a BYE Week.
Buffalo has a BYE Month. pic.twitter.com/XjsjW2VjJl
— Kyle Brandt (@KyleBrandt) October 27, 2021
When that happens, they’re back to square one, and heads will roll soon.