Even Dolphins coach Nick Saban seemed resigned to spending a second consecutive season out of the playoffs after his team's four-game winning streak was snapped by Jacksonville on Sunday. For a shot at a wild-card berth, the Dolphins would have to win their remaining four games and hope five other AFC contenders that have at least seven victories stumble.
"It hurts," strong safety Yeremiah Bell said after his team's secondary was brutalized in career-best performances by Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones (six catches for 128 yards and one touchdown) and quarterback David Garrard (136.4 rating).
"At the same time, we can only control what we can control and that's getting ready for New England and trying to win that game and just seeing what happens after that."
Saban still sees the rest of the regular season as being very important because he wants the Dolphins to establish an "attitude.
"Every player needs to know they're all going to be evaluated on that and that's going to be important to us," he said. "We're going to do the best job that we can."
The Dolphins didn't do a good job against the Jaguars, with Jacksonville starting to pull away after converting two Joey Harrington interceptions into 14 points. Harrington also was sacked a season-high four times, with left tackle Damion McIntosh having a particularly difficult outing.
"I think we're frustrated because we made mistakes that we haven't been making over the past four or five weeks," said Harrington, who completed 27 of 42 passes for 267 yards with one touchdown. "If I know what I think I know about this team, it's not going to take our legs out."
:inebacker Zach Thomas agreed.
"We have a lot of pride in this locker room," said Thomas, who finished with a team-high 11 tackles. "Hopefully, guys will watch the tape and clear everything up."
Said defensive end Kevin Carter: "The playoffs weren't really our motivation to begin with anyway. It was in the back of everyone's mind, but I think everyone here now wants to win and just play one game at a time."