I lack the precision to work for the Elias Sports Bureau statistical search team, and then there’s the personal flaw of occasionally getting up from my desk to eat or sleep.
You can trust me, however, when I say that Monday night’s defensive showing by the Miami Dolphins was historically bad.
Carolina rolled up a franchise-record 548 yards in total offense in a 45-21 victory that Cam Newton didn’t even bother to finish. By hunting through a half century of Dolphins stats, I could find only seven games in which Miami allowed more yards, and three of those were in overtime.
Here’s the list of deadliest defensive efforts in Dolphins history.
622 yards allowed, 38-24 loss to New England in 2011
597 yards allowed, 38-34 loss to New York Jets in 1988
593 yards allowed, 31-28 loss to L.A. Rams in 1976
589 yards allowed, 34-31 OT loss to Buffalo in 2016
582 yards allowed, 35-31 loss to Buffalo in 1991
581 yards allowed, 51-45 OT loss to New York Jets in 1986
564 yards allowed, 41-38 playoff OT loss to San Diego to end 1981 season
548 yards allowed, 45-21 loss to Charlotte in 2017
Every game but Monday’s was a shootout, a competitive game, an NFL happening.
This loss to Carolina, the 21st-ranked offense in the league, was a dud from the start. Poor tackling, including several total whiffs. Lousy coverage of receivers, who actually helped Miami quite a bit with some wide-open drops. Poor positioning and sluggish response to practically everything the Panthers presented, and it’s worth noting that Carolina was limited to a single field goal by Chicago a few weeks back.
I covered a couple of the games on the list above and they rank among the most compelling assignments of my career. The overtime playoff loss to the Chargers at the old Orange Bowl. The 51-45 video-game affair at the Meadowlands in which Dan Marino passed for a career-high six touchdowns and lost.
Today’s Dolphins have no one on offense to balance out big numbers like these, but I don’t want to hear about Jay Cutler being a turnover machine or Adam Gase trading Jay Ajayi away or anything else.
When the Miami defense is disintegrating like this, allowing the two highest yardage totals of the season in consecutive weeks, there is nothing to say except that the entire team is kaput, and the season with it.
Feels strange to say something like that about a 4-5 team, especially when the Dolphins turned the 2016 season around so rapidly and so well after a 1-4 start, but it is so.
You can’t win much of anything in the NFL playing Pac-12 defense. Things will get better against Tampa Bay this Sunday but then comes New England and Kansas City and all the rest.
Prepare to see more entries to the franchise’s list of Top-10 defensive demolitions. Prepare for the moment when things like these are no longer shocking.
Once the Miami defense lays down, and it appears to have happened, there’s just no getting up for this team.