Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
The Dolphins weren't supposed to be in this position.
With two weeks to go, Miami controls its own fate. With Baltimore and Cincinnati squaring off in Week 17, the Dolphins are assured a playoff spot with two wins.
How did a team mired in an ugly controversy just weeks ago pull itself out of a nosedive? Head coach Joe Philbin might have the answer to that. Heck, he probably is the answer. The even-keeled leader has steered his team through the turbulent waters tackle Jonathan Martin and guard Richie Incognito stirred up earlier this season.
The Dolphins handed the Buccaneers their first win of the season in the first game after the scandal broke, triggering speculation that Philbin and perhaps general manager Jeff Ireland would eventually be fired.
Miami is 4-1 since then, however, including a last-second loss to Carolina. The Dolphins allowed just 17.4 points per game in that span.
Perhaps the biggest reason for their recent surge has been the rise of Ryan Tannehill.
The second-year quarterback has thrown for 1,421 yards and 10 touchdowns over the past five games, most recently out-dueling Tom Brady and leading Miami to a late victory.
Things are looking up in South Florida with a healthy defensive end, Cameron Wake, spearheading an increasingly formidable pass rush on defense and Tannehill playing like a franchise quarterback on offense.