After having a 0.9 percent chance of making the playoff through week five the Miami Dolphins avoided a usual disappointing season by finishing off 9-2 to come out with a wild card spot. Although only posting a 1-5 record against winning teams, the Dolphins managed to win crucial games against the Jets and Bills in weeks 15 and 16 to secure their first postseason berth since 2008.
The team was sparked by second year running back Jay Ajayi, who won the Dan Marino Team MVP Award, had three different games with more than 200 rushing yards and led the NFL in rushing yards in the last ten games of the season. Totaling 1,272 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the season, Ajayi provides a bright spot and optimism going forward for the Dolphins.
Wide receivers Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker and Jarvis Landry also provided key plays on offense. It will be pivotal for the Dolphins to resign Stills and Landry this offseason, as the soon to be free agents combined for 136 receptions for 1,862 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season.
Many wonder what these Dolphins would have accomplished if fully healthy. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill sprained his ACL in week 14 against the Cardinals, and sat out the remainder of the season. Mike Pouncey and Brenden Albert, two stalwart offensive linemen, missed games at different points this season. On defense, cornerback Byron Maxwell along with safety’s Reshad Jones and Isa Abdul-Quddus suffered from injuries.
An obvious injury-plagued team this season, the Dolphins look to bounce back fully healthy in 2017.
In an interview with several news outlets following his team’s playoff defeat, team owner Stephen Ross showed signs of optimism.
“Today, it’s a loss,” Ross said. “But I feel good [about] the direction the team is going. I’ll only be satisfied with winning a Super Bowl.”