While the Miami Dolphins aren’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, their chances of making it are extremely slim and barring a huge miracle, they will miss the playoffs once again. With two meaningless games set to be played at Sun Life Stadium, how do the Dolphins react and go out and play? Joe Philbin and several players talked about it following the game.
“We got to win a game. We're not even going to talk about it,” Philbin said. Itold the team we got to come back to work on Tuesday and see if we can win a game. Play 60 minutes of football before we worry about anything else.”
Ryan Tannehill said that the team has to play for pride along with the name on the front and the back of their jerseys.
“You’re playing for pride. You’re playing for the name on the back of your jersey and the name on the front – the Dolphins. You represent yourself every time you step on that field –your name and everything about yourself. You have to go out and play even if it may not be for the playoffs. You have to play in a way that you want to see yourself represented and for your teammates too. I love the guys that are on this team. I love battling with them even in tough games. I see the guys out there on the offensive line battling. I love being out there with those guys. I don’t have any question that we’ll be able to come out and perform in the next two games.”
Brent Grimes echoed Tannehill and said that they aren’t going to give up and will fight until the very end of the season.
"Just having pride in your craft, you want to go out there and put this stuff on the field. This loss hurts; we were confident in what we had going on coming into this game. It didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but we’ve got two more games at home and we have to come in there and play football like we know we can, and try to win two in a row."
Cameron Wake, one of the best defensive ends that has played for the Miami Dolphins and who has never made the playoffs in his NFL career, was disappointed and dejected following the game. While some players said all the right things, Wake didn’t hold anything back when talking about what feelings were running through his mind.
"The dictionary isn’t big enough. There aren’t any words to describe it. Dumbfounded. To come out the way we did in the second half; it’s pretty bad. It is disappointing again; it’s the same as last year, we had the season in our hands, we could have done something about it, it was up to us and we dropped the ball again. There isn’t too much to say, we got dominated, we got outplayed totally in the second half. We went in there with a little momentum in the first half and in the second half it was no contest."
Some have said that it appeared the players had checked out but Wake said he didn’t see any of that going on.
“I have never felt that. At halftime, we were down by one point. There is no way I would be able to say that, but whatever happened, to go the second half the way we did, that’s never happened in my recent memory."
With such a big game against the Patriots and for the Dolphins to come out the way they did, especially in the second half, one can draw a lot of assumptions from their play. Philbin tried to explain what it meant for his team.
“I just told the team we got to play 60 minutes of football. And even though we were losing at halftime, I thought we were playing competitively and certainly we would have a good opportunity to win the game but you have to play 60 minutes, and you can't make the mistakes that we made… getting field goals blocked, they had an interception, I think they started possession on our eight... I think they started a possession on our 25 or 30. Yeah, this is an excellent football team. It's hard to do that stuff.”
We’ll see just how much fire the players come out with on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings but with two meaningless games, a possible rift in the locker room and players not wanting to get hurt for next season, don’t be surprised to see the Dolphins not play up to the standards that most expect them to.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs