A mid-season turnaround
November 16, 2016
The Miami Dolphins have won four consecutive games. Yes, those Miami Dolphins. With a current record of 5-4, the Dolphins are in the thick of the American Football Conference wild-card race. Furthermore, this is the first time that starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill has won this many games in a row throughout the course of his five-year career.
With heavy criticism and the odds stacked against them, the Dolphins began to rely on an unlikely source. Running back Jay Ajayi earned the starting job from Arian Foster, who would retire soon after, and in the past four games, Ajayi has accumulated a total of 633 yards and four touchdowns.
Following the offense’s lead, the defense has also performed exceptionally recently. Despite the recent injury to All-Pro free safety Rashad Jones and the offense line being shuffled around, First year head coach Adam Gase took charge. Over 10 players were released after the 1-4, while others shuffled positions. With the defense now a team effort and Ajayi putting up unheralded numbers, the new Dolphins will face new, higher expectations.
This past game against Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers, the Dolphins racked up four, fourth quarter interceptions and the final one from Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso was returned for a touchdown to win the game.
The New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady continue to dominate the AFC East, as they have for the past fifteen years, and as a result, the Dolphins have not secured a playoff berth since 2008. Some may even argue that they have not been a championship-contending team since the days of the Orange Bowl and since the trio of Dan Marino, Mark Clayton and Mark Duper made the Super Bowl after a 15-1 1984 season.
Fans that have lost trust in the Dolphins, despite the recent turnaround, are reflected in recent television ratings, which are below the league average. Dolphins ratings have risen a small amount since the election has ended but ratings are nowhere near desired by management.