This is the nightmare scenario for the Miami Dolphins, who have sunk to new depths with their 23-20 loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in England.
This was a good the Dolphins clearly couldn't afford to lose if they were to entertain realistic playoff aspirations despite their slow start. At 1-5 now, it's really hard to see a path to achieving that goal.
Let's be clear, this was a bad Jacksonville team the Dolphins failed to beat Sunday, but yet they found a way again.
-- It's not unfair to suggest the Dolphins caught a lot of breaks on their way to their 10-6 finish in 2020, but just the opposite is happening this year. Just look at the kicker who beat them Sunday, Andrew Wright. This is a guy who was elevated from the practice squad Saturday, had not attempt a field goal this season and hadn't made a kick longer than 46 yards on his four attempts in 2020. So, of course, Wright makes a 54-yarder to tie the game 20-20 and then hits from 53 yards out to win the game.
-- Wright never would have gotten the chance at the game-winner, of course, had Malcolm Brown not been stuffed on fourth-and-1 from the Dolphins 46. First off, no issue with the Dolphins going for it. It was time to play for the win at that time. We would take issue, however, with giving the ball to Brown because the Dolphins have gone that route before without success — he was stopped for 1 yard on a fourth-and-2 against Buffalo. It's not as though the Dolphins are a power running team. Also not crazy about a deep handoff after a shotgun snap. Thinking the better play here would have been a quick Tua throw.
-- Here's another thought: Why didn't the Dolphins bring out Jacoby Brissett like they did in the first half and either have him run a quarterback sneak or give the Jaguars something to consider? And while we're at it, why didn't the Dolphins bring out Brissett again to give the impression of a QB sneak when they just tried to draw the Jaguars offside on their next-to-last possession?
-- It's easy to complain about the Dolphins allowing a 9-yard completion on that fourth-and-8 with only four seconds going off the clock, but give credit to the Jaguars on that play. With five seconds left when the play started, head coach Brian Flores said his players were instructed to protect the outside, but Trevor Lawrence still had to make the quick throw to Laviska Shenault to gain the necessary yardage. What's most frustrating about that play, actually, is Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer saying after the game Lawrence was going to throw a Hail Mary until the Dolphins called a timeout and the Jaguars actually had a chance to discuss things. Again, this is the kind of season it's been.
-- Noah Igbinoghene started at cornerback because of the injuries to Xavien Howard and Byron Jones and actually did a pretty good job in coverage. The next step for him will be turning his head around to look for the ball and then making a play on the ball. But this absolutely was a step in the right direction for the 2020 first-round pick, who had been inactive four of the first five games and hadn't played a down on defense.
-- The offense showed a lot of positive signs in this game, including the performance of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in his return to the lineup and the play of the offensive line, though of course we have to wonder how much of that was due to the opponent being the woeful Jaguars. And for all the good work, scoring 20 points against the Jacksonville defense just wasn't good enough.
-- Mack Hollins got extended playing time on offense with DeVante Parker and Preston Williams out with injuries and showed yet again he deserves to get on the field on offense more often.