OTD in Dolphins History: The High Point of Gase's Tenure
Adam Gase remains hopeful that his New York Jets can turn things around in the 2020 season after their painful start, and as an example he points to his first year as head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
The 2016 Dolphins began the season with a 1-4 record before they embarked on a run of nine victories in 11 games that helped them earn a playoff spot for only the second time since the 2001 season.
And it was on this day four years ago — Oct. 16, 2016, to be precise — when the turnaround began.
The Dolphins were 7.5-point home underdogs that day at Hard Rock Stadium when they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, who came in with a 4-1 record, by a score of 30-15.
This way the day when Jay Ajayi capped his 204-yard rushing performance with a 62-yard touchdown with 1:01 remaining in the fourth quarter.
That shocking victory just might have been the high point of Gase's three-year stint as Dolphins head coach.
Gase referenced that 2016 season when he conducted a conference call with South Florida reporters this week and spoke about his mind-set in the midst of his team's 0-5 start.
“It’s interesting because that 2016 year, starting out 1-4 and just finding a way to just win one, and short-term focus about getting better every day and really not look too far ahead, I felt that was a big reason for us to be able to turn things around,” Gase said. “Guys weren’t focused two, three weeks ahead of time. They were just focused on the task at hand. And that’s something that applies to what we’re going through right now. It’s not easy. That’s what the NFL is. It’s a day-in and day-out test of can you handle adversity and how to stick together and how you prepare for the next game.”
The truth is that while it was encouraging for the Dolphins to pull out that victory against Pittsburgh on that day exactly four years ago, it's not likely that many envisioned that game serving as a springboard to what was to come.
But we all know what happened: Ajayi had two other 200-yard games, the Dolphins won close game after close game and, boom, they were in the playoffs.
It stretches the imagination to think the 2020 Jets can produce the kind of turnaround that would put them in the playoffs, but at least Gase has something to fall back on to give himself hope.
And the catalyst for that 2016 turnaround is celebrating its four-year anniversary.