Dolphins: Playing spoiler holds little appeal

The Miami Dolphins know their next opponent needs a "W" to have a chance to make the postseason. Already eliminated, Dolphins players aren't in it for the role of spoiler, although that would be a good way to start the new year.

   --The Dolphins are aware the Jets (8-7) still have a faint chance of making it into the playoffs as a wild-card team, but Sunday's game isn't about playing spoiler. It's about finishing the season strong. Even so, there's no denying the stakes have intensified.
   "To be able to affect the outcome of a rival is obviously a motivation, but we're playing for us," defensive end Jared Odrick said. "We're going out there to accomplish what we want to do. We're not worried about the other team."

   --Quarterback Matt Moore is now ranked 36th in fourth-quarter passing. He has a 61.6 rating during that critical quarter. Only five starters -- Oakland's Carson Palmer, Chicago's Jay Cutler, Cincinnati's Andy Dalton, Miami's Chad Henne and Indianapolis' Curtis Painter -- have been worse this season.
   "I wish I could put a finger on it for you," interim coach Todd Bowles said of the team's fourth-quarter struggles. "If I knew the answer to that, we sure wouldn't have lost the fourth-quarter games we had. They made some plays in the end. It's a different guy each play. Each game it's a different guy here or there that can swing it one or the other.
   "I don't think it's lost in the fourth quarter. You lose some of those games in the first and second quarter off of different plays. This week, I think we lost it in the third quarter."

   --"It just speaks to the character of the men in this room. We don't quit. We just fight and keep swinging. That's been out mentality all year long," guard Richie Incognito said of the team's respectable second half of the season, which features Miami winning five of its past eight games.
   --Receiver Brandon Marshall has caught 77 passes for 1,177 yards and six touchdowns this season. However, he's also second in the NFL in dropped passes, and many of those costly mistakes have come in the end zone.
   "I've left a lot of opportunities out there, and it all comes down to focus. I've got to get better at focusing on the task at hand," Marshall said.

   --With his 113 rushing yards against the Patriots, Reggie Bush became the 12th player in team history to eclipse the 1,000-yard plateau. He has 1,086 yards, the eighth-best, single-season total in team history, and he's got a pretty solid shot of getting into the top five during Sunday's season finale against the Jets. Bush is 54 yards away from passing Lamar Smith's 1,139 rushing yards for fourth place.

   --The Dolphins were blown out by the Patriots in last year's season finale when nothing was at stake. Interim coach Todd Bowles doesn't foresee a similar season-ending result this year.
   "I think last year (the Patriots) just beat the pants off of us. This week, like it's been every week, we're a tough team. These guys have stuck together all year. There's no reason why we're not going to stick together for one more game," Bowles said.

NFL News
Dolphin Digest

Patriots Insider Top Stories