With Thursday’s 40-0 loss in Baltimore, the Dolphins have firmly established themselves as the NFL’s most nonsensical team. Take stock of what Miami has accomplished through seven games:
- Shut out twice
- Only a garbage-time touchdown on the game’s final play kept them from being blanked a third time
- A minus-60 point differential, which trails every team save the Browns (minus-66) and the Colts (minus-103)
- A three-game winning streak
- An offense that entered Week 8 ranked 29th in DVOA
- A defense that ranks in the middle of the pack across the board, except for being third in third-down efficiency (32.9 percent) and 31st in the red zone (75 percent)
The Dolphins are totally unpredictable. Until he had a few ribs broken, quarterback Jay Cutler performed with all the alacrity one might expect from a guy who spent the offseason preparing to shrug away the year as a broadcaster. He has seven touchdown passes, five interceptions, a sickly average of 5.5 yards per attempt, and a pedestrian passer rating of 78.8. His record as a starter is 4-2.
Last Sunday, Cutler was 12-for-16 with two touchdowns, one interception, a 114.1 passer rating, and an average of 8.63 yards per attempt—and the Dolphins were trailing when he was injured early in the third quarter. The week before, Cutler spotted the Falcons a 17-0 lead before leading Miami to 20 unanswered points. The week before that, against the Titans, he netted 78 passing yards and completed 46 percent of his passes—and won.
Cutler was replaced Sunday by Matt Moore, who promptly averaged 8.95 yards per attempt and brought the Dolphins back from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter to win. Last night, Moore threw a pair of pick-sixes and the Dolphins crossed midfield just three times. After the game, head coach Adam Gase said Cutler would start again as soon as he’s able, which could be as early as next week against the Raiders.
In a bizarre season in which seemingly every team stinks, the Dolphins have truly made an effort to make their level of effort a mystery. Gase looks like a genius one week and an incompetent the next. Regression and luck carry no weight in Miami. This team is simultaneously inspiring and a letdown.