It would have been easy to count out the Miami Dolphins. Weeks of negative press surrounding the Richie Incognito saga – combined with piss-poor play – really left a sour taste in everybody’s mouths when it came to the teal and orange. But here we are, Week 15, and the Dolphins are still playoff hopeful after defeating the New England Patriots, 24-20.
The victory saw Ryan Tannehill at his absolute best, producing the coveted 300 yard, three touchdown, zero interception kind of day that teams can generally count on victory. But former practice squad-er Michael Thomas – so unknown to his teammates that Jared Odrick was quoted as saying “I didn’t know what his first name was” – intercepted Tom Brady on a fourth-and-goal as the game wound down, sealing victory for Miami.
The Dolphins finish out the season at Buffalo and hosting the Jets, so 10 wins – and a coveted playoff spot – is actually kind of possible. We’ll see if karma allows it.
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Across conferences, the Dallas Cowboys… oh man, the Dallas freaking Cowboys. I ask myself all the time if it’d be worse to know that your team is out of contention by week 8 – a la my Cleveland Browns – or to constantly – constantly – get blue-balled in mid-December. I’m starting to think just always sucking might be better for your health than getting your dreams crushed, over and over again. Because, man. America’s team seems to reinvent the gut-punch loss each and every season.
Just read how the AP puts it: “Matt Flynn and the Green Bay Packers matched the biggest comeback in franchise history. Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys have a loss that might sting for a long time.”
A long time? Like until next season, when the wheels fall off again?
Does the AP have a style guide specifically made for mid-December Dallas losses? I feel like I’ve read that sentence before.
Coughing up a 24-point lead is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the House That Jerry Built. And you can’t just point fingers at Tony Romo – even though his two interceptions definitely aided Green Bay’s cause – in the Packers’ 37-36 victory. This was a team effort; poor pass defense and just general Dallas-like behavior doomed this squad. Just get this stat: The Cowboys have allowed 647 yards and 8 TDs to Jake McCown and Matt Flynn in two weeks. Let that sink in.
And, yeah, given that the Eagles lost, the NFC East is still up for grabs. But that dumpster fire of a division is not producing a wild card, so that week 17 game hosting Philadelphia is going to have some pretty big implications. Tins, we’ll be praying for ya.
Quick Hits — Words By TSSCrew
— Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles scored five touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders, while the Raiders scored four. Long story short, the Chiefs cruised to a 56-31 victory in Oakland.
— Marc Trestman dodged a Super Mario World-sized bullet against the Cleveland Browns. After Jay Cutler started the game with a redzone interception and a pick six, he settled down finished with three touchdowns and a 38-31 victory over the Browns in Cleveland. No QB controversy in Chicago, for now.
— The “Saints can’t win on the road” narrative is really taking a life of its own now. The team could have clinched a playoff spot and essentially clinched a first-round bye, but they sh*t the bed in St. Louis to the tune of a 27-16 loss that wasn’t nearly that close. Brees and company never really got anything going and were manhandled by a deceptively good Rams team. Now, they have to go on the road to Charlotte for the NFC South title.
— Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers handled their business, easily handling the struggling Jets at home. Ho-hum.
— Eli Manning should send Tony Romo a gift basket for the fact we’re talking about Romo’s two picks instead of Eli’s FIVE against Seattle. The Seahawks dominated in their dress rehearsal for the Super Bowl.
— With RG3 watching from the sidelines in street clothes, Redskins coach (for now) Mike Shanahan continued his “F*ck it, they’re going to fire me anyway” tour by going for two with 12 seconds left, instead of kicking what would have been a game tying extra point. Needless to say the conversion failed when Kirk Cousins’ pass was deflected and the Redskins lost to the equally depressing Falcons 27-26.
— The Jaguars and the Bills played. Hey, Bria Myles.
— The 49ers traveled across country to Tampa Bay and pulled away from a close game at the end to beat Schiano’s goons 33-16. Schiano is probably already cleaning out his closet.
— Arizona and Tennessee may have quietly had the game of the day. Tennessee scored twice in the last couple of minutes to mount an improbable comeback but Arizona came back to score a game-winning field goal in overtime, keeping their playoff hopes alive.
— The Colts don’t suck anymore. The Texans stills suck. The final score was 25-3.
Photos: Getty, @cjzero