Before the season started, few people gave the Dolphins any chance to make the playoffs. They proved people wrong when they where 3-3 before going into the bye week. They were owners of one of the wild card spots and were playing their best football of the season.
They came off the bye week and overwhelmed the New York Jets in New York, improving to 4-3 and generating plenty of buzz around the league. The Dolphins looked like a playoff team, and they had everyone's hopes up.
Their following matchup against the Indianapolis Colts had playoff implications. It was a matchup between two rookie quarterbacks that have responded admirably to the high expectations. It was a matchup of two surprise teams that had little expectations of having a successful season. It was a matchup of two head coaches with little head coaching experience.
The Dolphins found themselves in a shootout and fell just short of grabbing a vital win on the road against another AFC team fighting for a wild card spot. After the loss, Miami fell to 4-4 but still had high hopes of making a late push into the postseason.
Miami would have to bounce back against a Tennessee Titans team that had been blown out by the Chicago Bears at home just a week earlier. This had all the makings of a trap game for the Dolphins, and it didn't disappoint.
Only a few Miami players showed up, and as a result, they were embarrassed at home. Miami looked stagnant on offense, slow and lost on defense, and the coaches didn't help the cause. Miami had to win this game if it wanted to keep its playoff hopes alive, but it failed to do so. The Dolphins looked uninterested and overwhelmed against a team lacking talent.
After the loss, Miami fell to 4-5 and lost another step in the wild card race. With a team that is still in the rebuilding process, if Miami wants to reach the postseason, it has to win games against weaker opponents.
Now, the Dolphins will have to beat the New England Patriots at least once, the San Francisco 49ers on the road and the the Seattle Seahawks. If they can't win any of these games, the Dolphins will be out of the playoff race. They also still have to play the Buffalo Bills twice as well as the Jacksonville Jaguars.
As of now, the Dolphins' hopes of reaching the postseason don't look to bright. If they can overcome Sunday's performance and have a winning record during the last seven games, Miami may still have a chance to sneak in.
It is still a long shot, but anything is possible. Miami's future was looking bright going into the bye week, but some mistakes and poor performances now have them on the outside looking in.