If there is one constant in this so-far unimpressive season for the Miami Dolphins, it’s the fact that in each game, the team has started slowly. The last game was no exception as, in spite of taking the ball first to open the game, the Dolphins went three-and-out on their first series. Then to make matters worse, the defense allowed the Buffalo Bills to stride right into the endzone in five quick plays, including three catches and the touchdown by former Dolphins tight end Charles Clay.
Another common theme? Well, listen to the players and see if you notice a pattern.
"I'm not sure what it is, man,” said running back Lamar Miller. “We've got to find a way, someway, somehow. We just have to go out there and play good football."
"I don't know what is right now,” added safety Reshad Jones. “We've got to watch the film to see what we didn't do well and bounce back from it."
"I don't know what it is,” repeated tight end Jordan Cameron. “We started the second half pretty good. We have to find that energy in the first half. I think it's a mindset - I think during the week we have to be (conscientious) of it.”
As frustrated as the fans have been the past three games, the Dolphins players are equally baffled as to why the slow starts keep happening. Especially alarming is the disturbing trend of falling behind by double-digit deficits in each game, then spending the rest of the game battling back.
The Bills came into the game determined to avenge a disappointing loss to the New England Patriots the week before, and played hard from start to finish. The Dolphins, coming off their own disheartening loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, seemed to flounder from beginning to end, looked disinterested, and by the time they found any semblance of rhythm, it was too little, too late.
“I don’t think any of us feel good about what happened,” said coach Joe Philbin, refusing to lay the blame on any one person. “A lot of people make sacrifices, they work extremely hard. We’ve got great, loyal fans. We got a tremendous venue to play in. And we didn’t play well. There (are) no excuses, and we’ve got to get this thing fixed.”
The loss left fans and players in a state of shock. "Most definitely,” said Jones. “You lose at home in front of your home crowd, a loss like that. But now it's over with and we've got to focus on the Jets. We have another tough opponent coming, a tough division game … we need to be ready for that one."
Michael Thomas said that the players are definitely upset “Just because we know what we are capable of. We've got a lot of playmakers. We know we can play better than this. So, we just have to get back to work. That's it."
Added wide receiver Jarvis Landry, “We've just got to find a way … find a way to get in a rhythm, find a way to play with a little bit more of a flow. And I think that this coaching staff can do that. Hopefully we'll see.”
As for Philbin, “It’s real simple, we’re either going to stick together or not. We’ll see what kind of a team we have … We’ve got good players, we’ve got a good staff, but we haven’t demonstrated that, certainly (not) well enough in these first three football games for anyone’s satisfaction.”
Will the team rebound this week in London against the Jets? Philbin left that one alone.
"We’re going to find out.”
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball
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