There’s so much excitement over any season opener, and such an oversized letdown when it goes the wrong way.
Wallow in the disappointment of Miami’s 12-10 loss to Seattle and you miss the larger point. Half of the teams in the league lost last weekend. Half of the teams in the league got off to a bad start.
If there weren’t 15 regular-season games to go, this would be a major problem. Instead it is a challenge, and judging by this first look at Adam Gase’s team, the Dolphins are up to a challenge.
Maybe this helps. Total up the opening-day records of all the teams left on Miami’s 2016 schedule. The answer is 5-7.
The NFL is set up for everybody to be in a scrap every week, in other words, and the Dolphins are hardly alone in really needing a win in Week 2.
Suppose they get one at New England on Sunday. That would be enormous, if only because there is so little margin for error in keeping the Patriots close in the AFC East. There is no point, however, in rifling through playoff scenarios in September, good or bad.
Miami’s most recent trip to the playoffs, Tony Sparano’s debut season of 2008, started out with a couple of losses.
Seven times in franchise history the Dolphins have made the playoffs after splitting their first two games.
Four of those opening splits on the way to the postseason began with a loss. I remember covering a particularly disheartening flop on opening day in 1985.
The Dolphins lost 26-23 at Houston that day, with Don Shula pulling Dan Marino from the lineup in the fourth quarter because the future Hall of Famer was not sharp coming off a long training-camp contract holdout. To make matters worse, the Oilers were 6-35 in the previous three seasons and were considered a soft touch, even in the Astrodome. Instead, they beat Miami on a Mike Rozier touchdown run with 25 seconds to play.
By season’s end, however, the Dolphins were the host team for the AFC title game and gunning for a second-straight trip to the Super Bowl.
Not trying to make a comparison between the roster on that Miami team and this one, but the word on opening-game losses is the same: Settle down and look to build on the positives.
There were plenty of those in Sunday’s battle to the end with the talented Seahawks.