Two weeks. Two games. Two incredible comebacks.
The Miami Dolphins did it again on Sunday, mounting a second half comeback from a seemingly insurmountable deficit, and somehow, someway, pulling off a win in the closing minutes of another nailbiter of a game.
How do they keep doing this?
Don’t expect the players to be as flabbergasted as the rest of us by the fortuitous turn of events for the second time in as many weeks. This team has undergone a culture change under head coach Adam Gase, and to a player, no one counts this team out until the final whistle is blown.
Want proof? A half dozen or so players were asked after the game how this team does it.
"We're just going to keep fighting and fighting and fighting - I guess you can say we like to make it interesting for everyone out there,” said offensive guard Jermon Bushrod. “It doesn't really help me or my heart much, but at the end of the day a win is a win, and I'll take it.
“We're just going to keep fighting if we get a chance, it's a team game, you've got to rely on the other phases to come through big for you sometimes. We put up a couple of touchdowns in the beginning, but they were scoring a couple touchdowns, so it was up to one of us to do something special so we could get a little bit more momentum.
“Our special teams did a good job of pinning them back. I remember one time we got pinned back and we had a couple of negative plays and we punted and put them back on the 15 or the 20 and the defense was able to get a stop. We were able to flip the field and we were able to go down and get some points. That's just what it is about.”
Tight end Anthony Fasano concurred, saying, "It's just kind of our make-up of the team. Heart, never giving up, guys believing in the process, in the team and in one another. (There are) some really good signs, even though we'd like to be a bit more comfortable in our wins, (there are) a lot of positives to be taken out of it."
And then this from defensive end Cameron Wake who contributed 2.5 sacks in Sunday’s win, "It sounds like a broken record, (but) we've been saying this for years. It's a belief in one another. If there's time on the clock, we still believe we have a chance.
“Offense believes in the defense. The defense believes in special teams. The special teams believe in offense. So on and so forth, that we're all going to make plays and play together. Like I've said, there's obviously things we still need to work on. But it's hard to win in this league, and when you have that belief then you're never technically out of the game.”
“I think we've been showing that over and over and over,” Wake continued. “Outside of this building people want to count us out, but inside the locker room, we believe in one another. And that's why I believe we can still get things done that maybe in other situations it wouldn't work out."
Sense a common thread there? The comments relating to the team having heart, sticking together, unity? That is where this team differs from Miami teams of the past decade and a half. The difference is palpable even to players who are new to the team this year.
"I mean it's crazy,” says kicker Cody Parkey of the team coming back from 17 and 14 point deficits in back to back weeks. “This team finds a way to win. Last year, I was on the Browns. That was kind of where we lacked. We couldn't find a way to win in third and fourth quarter. This team just seems to, you know?” We're down by 14 points, and no one's batting an eye. It's crazy … you go out there and score a score, and they get me in field goal range. Even when we had to punt with a minute left. It's just crazy … we just keep going out there and just keep fighting.”
And fight they do, as wide receiver Jarvis Landry adds, "We just keep finding ways to fight for each other. We've been saying it all week, for the last three weeks … it's going to come down to all four quarters. We know who we are. When there's an opportunity, and there's a chance, we just always try to grab it. And the last two weeks we've been doing it.”
And it’s not just about the opportunities with this team. They truly believe that they are never out of the game, as emphasized by one of the heros of Sunday’s game, cornerback Bobby McCain, who picked off New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown in the closing minutes of the game.
“You're never out of the game regardless if you're down two (touchdowns), three [touchdowns), three points,” said McCain. “Just keep fighting, and that's what we pride ourselves on here at the Miami Dolphins. You just keep fighting. Defensively, special teams, offense – we're all going to stick together. We're a band of brothers. Just keep fighting and good things will come.”
And finally, the man who will lead this team for the interim, quarterback Matt Moore, says, "I don't know if I can explain it, but these guys just keep going. They keep fighting. Coach Gase has an unbelievable message about what's done is done, we can't do anything about it so let's move forward. I think if you look at us late in games, you see that. Guys are just making plays, the next play mentality.
“That's really it. You can't change the past, you can't change what's happened; but if we move forward, good things will happen."
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball
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