The Dolphins nearly pulled it off. Nearly were able to take down the juggernaut Denver Broncos in their own stadium. Nearly put themselves in the thick of the AFC race. Nearly gave the fans the most meaningful win in several seasons.
And then they totally Dolphin'd and ended up dropping another heart-wrecker as Peyton Manning threw four touchdowns en route to a 39-36 win.
Now the Dolphins find themselves 6-5 with the playoff window narrowing and their postseason dreams fading fast. And while the offense put up 36 points, it wasn't enough, as the usual potent defense crumbled and faded.
Here are six things we learned from the loss:
1. The Team Is 6-5, and That Seems About Right For all the strides this Dolphins team has made this year -- and there have been some big ones -- the Fins are simply not quite there when it comes to teams ready to make a run. Losses to teams like the Packers and Broncos and, to some extent, the Lions, proves that while Miami has made some major improvements in getting out of the dank dark hole of suck, they're still not ready to be discussed in the same sentence as Teams That Are Super Bowl Contenders.
The Dolphins are what their record says -- a team on the brink of getting away from mediocrity. And not much else. Sure winning makes you feel like an invincible, unstoppable rebel force. But when it comes down to it, the Dolphins are ultimately flawed and very middle-of-the-pack. And all those tingly feelings we felt after beating the Bills and shutting out the Chargers was nothing but hope fucking with us.
It's like a drug, hope. It's addictive, and it makes us stupid.
Essentially being a Dolphins fan makes us, at first, all:
But in the end, we end up all:
Stupid hope. Go die in a fire, hope. LEAVE US BE.
2. Ryan Tannehill Has Balls Vanilla Thunder came to wreck some mile-high ass and played a nearly flawless game, throwing for 228 yards and three touchdowns against the Broncos' D. Tannehill ended the game with a 104.9 passer rating, as he led the offense to an explosion of points the likes of which made Dolphins fans everywhere ask, "We can score as many touchdowns as we want? THAT'S ALLOWED??"
Sure he still tends to rip a brain fart here and there -- such as holding on to the football too long or locking in on one receiver. But Tannehill continues to show he's not only resilient but knows how to take a hit. Week after week, we've seen Tannehill survive the kind of hits that would make normal men's assholes fall out. But Tannehill takes the hits, gets back up, and throws darts to receivers who catch the ball and then immediately fall down.
If the defense had just been able to hold the Broncos in check, we'd all be talking about Ryan Tannehill and his amazing ability to plow through defenses. Instead, his big day has been swallowed up by Dolphin incompetence. We had our doubts about Tannehill as the future franchise quarterback for this team. But he's making us believers.
3. The Pass Rush Was a Giant Wet Fart The strength of this team all season long has been the front seven's ability to freight-train through offensive lines, get to the opposing quarterback, walk inside his asshole, and spray paint THE MIAMI DOLPHINS WERE HERE. But on Sunday, the pass rush was all but invisible. Manning was sacked once all game, and that was basically because he decided to lie down on the floor rather than risk throwing an interception. Cameron Wake was impotent all game, while Jared Odrick suffered an injury and Olivier Vernon was swallowed up by the pass protection.
Manning had all the time in the world to throw, which is just not what you want when you're up against that magnificent, gargantuan-foreheaded, record-breaking bastard.
Of all the quarterbacks to rush and sack, Manning was the guy you wanted to rattle. Instead, he threw four touchdowns and no interceptions.