The Miami Dolphins' season continues to slip away after a fifth straight loss, falling 23-14 to the New England Patriots on Sunday.
After looking like one of the NFL's best teams earlier in the season with an 8-3 record, the squad is now just 8-8 and in danger of missing the playoffs. Fans lamented the sudden decline during Sunday's game:
Anthony DiMoro @AnthonyDiMoro
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Dolphins?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Dolphins</a> are simply pathetic. Lack discipline. Lack toughness. Lack coaching. Lack consistency<br><br>McDaniel has been a horrible hire. Would rather be a friend than a leader. Would rather crack jokes while being made to look like one each week.<br><br>Grier needs to go.
Brandon Liguori @BrandonRLiguori
To avoid the most stunning collapse in franchise history and clinch a playoff spot for the first time since the 2016-17 season, the 8-8 Miami <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Dolphins?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Dolphins</a>, in Week 18, must defeat the N.Y. Jets at Hard Rock Stadium and hope for a New England Patriots road loss against Buffalo, too.
Chad Holloway @ChadAHolloway
It's embarrassing to be a <a href="https://twitter.com/MiamiDolphins?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MiamiDolphins</a> fan. Started 8-3 and now have one of worst collapses in NFL history. Looks like they'll come up one game short of Playoffs for 3rd year in a row. Shameful given the talent they have. Where's the accountability? Same old Dolphins indeed.
It was an uphill battle for the Dolphins on Sunday without starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who was ruled out while in the concussion protocol.
Backup Teddy Bridgewater was up-and-down while in the game before suffering a finger injury. Third-stringer Skylar Thompson showed flashes of quality play, but it wasn't enough to come from behind.
The quarterback play made fans miss Tagovailoa despite facing significant criticism this year.
Bridgewater did have one touchdown pass on an improvised play to Raheem Mostert, while Thompson found Mike Gesicki for a score in the closing minutes. They also combined for two interceptions, including a pick-six to Kyle Duggar.
It leaves the Dolphins in desperation mode heading into Week 18, trying to do whatever possible to avoid a sixth straight season without a playoff appearance. They will host the New York Jets in what could be the biggest game in the final week of the regular season.