2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Inconsistent Dolphins still in playoff race

By STEVEN WINE - AP Sports Writer
    2013-12-02 15:26

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) - The Miami Dolphins had a record of 3-3, and then 4-4, and then 5-5. Each time they lost the next game.

Now they're 6-6, although defensive end Olivier Vernon sees it another way.

''It's like the season has started over,'' Vernon said. ''It's 0-0, and we are going to try to grind out.''

With enough grinding, maybe the Dolphins can climb above .500. They have a chance Sunday at Pittsburgh (5-7).

The Dolphins will try to build on their best performance of the year, a 23-3 road victory Sunday against the New York Jets. The win brought the Dolphins' season back from the brink, and now they're tied with Baltimore for the sixth-best record in the race for the AFC's six playoff berths.

To end a franchise-record streak of four consecutive losing seasons, Miami can't continue its recent pattern of lose-win-lose-win-lose-win.

''We've talked about how the performance level on the field has to be better in December, and part of that now is consistency,'' coach Joe Philbin said Monday. ''We're not going to reinvent ourselves from a schematic standpoint. We should have an identity by now of things we do well. We've got to be more consistent.''

With four games left, the margin for error is small - perhaps nonexistent.

''We are in the playoff hunt, and we have to win every game,'' said linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who knows the routine because he played on Baltimore's Super Bowl championship team a year ago. ''But it's very important to not look too far down the road.''

Players probably shouldn't, but fans can. Three of the Dolphins' final four opponents are under .500, and the toughest remaining game - against AFC East leader New England - is in Miami.

Despite an early-season four-game losing streak, followed by a bullying scandal that threatened to sabotage the season, the Dolphins still have a shot at their first playoff berth since 2008.

''We are fighters,'' Vernon said. ''We love having everyone against us.''

A loss to New York likely would have doomed the Dolphins' postseason chances, but instead they dominated, outgaining the Jets 453-177. Both totals were the best of the season for the Miami.

The offense showed uncharacteristic balance to control the ball for nearly 39 minutes, Miami's highest total in three years.

''It starts with the run game - the offensive line doing a great job, the backs hitting the holes when they're there, getting the tough yardage,'' quarterback Ryan Tannehill said.

A season-high 36 rushing plays kept the Jets' No. 1-ranked run defense off balance. Tannehill also threw for 331 yards, the second-highest total in his 28 career starts, and he was sacked only once - a season low - even though Miami again played with a patchwork offensive line.

Tannehill is finally starting to mesh with Mike Wallace, who in the past two games has 12 catches for 209 yards and two scores, tripling his touchdown total for the season. Third-year tight end Charles Clay had a career-high seven catches for 80 yards against New York, and Brian Hartline added a season-high 127 yards receiving on nine catches.

The defense also hit several high-water marks, led by second-year pro Vernon with a career-best 2 1/2 sacks. He has 5 1/2 in the past three games.

The victory was the most lopsided this year for Miami, which has had eight games decided by four points or less. Philbin even allowed himself a smile as the final minutes ticked off.

''A unique situation,'' he said. ''It was a different feeling.''

The question now for the up-and-down Dolphins is how long they can make that feeling last.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve-Wine

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Julius ThomasNov 27 07:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Anthony DavisNov 27 07:23p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared OT Anthony Davis, WR Bruce Ellington, DL Glenn Dorsey, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Quinton Patton, CB Tramaine Brock, TE Vance McDonald inactive for Week 13.

Arian FosterNov 27 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Allen BradfordNov 27 07:12p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared LB Allen Bradford, TE Cooper Helfet, CB Jeremy Lane, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, C Max Unger, TE Rashaun Allen, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 13.

Jordan CameronNov 27 06:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Latavius MurrayNov 27 04:52p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 27 04:02p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Tony HillsNov 27 03:22p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared LB Dekoda Watson, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, FS Jeff Heath, DL Joshua Brent, OT Tony Hills, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 13.

Taylor HartNov 27 03:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 13.

Jordan ReedNov 27 03:02p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Dwayne AllenNov 27 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Kyle FullerNov 27 11:32a

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (knee) will play in the team's Week 13 game against the Detroit Lions. Fuller had been questionable during the week.

Lance BriggsNov 27 11:22a

The Chicago Bears have declared WR Chris X. Williams, LB Darryl Sharpton, OT Eben Britton, DL Jeremiah Ratliff, LB Lance Briggs, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott inactive for Week Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

The Detroit Lions have declared QB Kellen Moore, OG Larry Warford, DE Larry Webster, DL Nick Fairley, RB Reggie Bush, OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles inactive for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is inactive Thursday, Nov. 27, for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 10:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is out for Week 13 Thursday, Nov. 27. His ankle isn't responding well enough, but the hope is to return for Week 14.

R. Griffin IIINov 27 09:53a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is highly unlikely to return to the team next season, sources within the organization said. Head coach Jay Gruden convinced owner Daniel Snyder [ More ]

Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent DT Jimmy Staten (Seahawks) to their practice squad Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also released OT Andrew McDonald from their practice squad.

Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

The Buffalo Bills claimed WR Marcus Thigpen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also waived DE Bryan Johnson.

Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

The Tennessee Titans waived TE Richard Gordon Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

C. PattersonNov 26 06:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jerick McKinnonNov 26 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Brandon LaFellNov 26 06:03p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jace AmaroNov 26 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) was limited in practice for the third straight day Wednesday, Nov. 26, and is questionable for Week 13 against the Chicago Bears.

Jordan CameronNov 26 04:43p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) remains day-to-day, but the team is looking for him to practice symptom-free this week, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Jordan ReedNov 26 04:13p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

R. Griffin IIINov 26 02:53p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III needs more seasoning, and he'll likely do it from the bench for the rest of this season, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 26 02:33p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) has an excellent chance to return in Week 13 against the Tennessee Titans after missing the last two games.

Mark SanchezNov 26 02:23p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez has thrown six interceptions this year, but all of them haven't been game-changing turnovers. In Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, Sanchez thrived on [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group