The Dolphins (5-8) have had an up-and-down season, to say the least. Heartbreaking overtime losses. Strong defensive battles that have just escaped them. And sometimes, like against the Tennessee Titans, an incredibly inconsistent performance that leaves fans fuming.
But 5-8 does not really tell the whole story.
The Dolphins are tied with the Buffalo Bills (5-8) at the bottom of the AFC East, as far as standings are concerned. I mean, they're behind the New York Jets (6-7), but it is safe to say that the Dolphins are in a much more salvageable situation than Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez.
Going through the Dolphins' season at least makes the situation seem a bit more hopeful. For the most part, Miami has held their own this season against all their opponents. This past weekend, they gave the San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1) a run for its money in a defensive showdown. Tom Brady even had a hard time attacking the Miami secondary, which has slowly started to find an identity of its own as the season progresses.
Overtime defeats at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals (4-9) and the New York Jets (6-7) highlight the list of close games. If either of those two battles had gone the other way, the Dolphins could be sitting at 7-6 with their eyes still set on making a post-season push. Even the contested battle against the Indianapolis Colts (9-4) could have gone the other way, or maybe even a more fitting ending to the 'Fins absolutely atrocious fall to the Bills on Thursday Night Football in Week 11.
But this is simply not the case. Miami is now, unfortunately, sitting at the bottom end of the AFC while the conference heavyweights battle it out for those six contested playoff spots.
The draft and the off-season will be key for Miami to start to figure out the future of the up-and-coming organization. And while the future may look bright for Miami, the present certainly is not as dismal as their record reflects.