As Pats soar, Dolphins hit imperfect 10
WASHINGTON — During a season in which the unexpected seems to happen every week — the Pittsburgh Steelers really lost to the New York Jets? — two things have remained constant in the NFL:
The New England Patriots won’t lose. And the Miami Dolphins just can’t win.
While Tom Brady and his unstoppable offense have gotten the headlines as they chug along on records-setting pace and challenge the 1972 Dolphins’ perfect season, the 2007 Dolphins’ ineptitude is no less remarkable.
On Sunday in Philadelphia, the Dolphins intercepted three passes to end potential Eagles scoring drives and knocked QB Donovan McNabb out of the game — and still lost by 10 points.
The defeat followed two straight three-point losses and was the team’s 13th in a row, dating to last year.
They have lost five games by a field goal this season, including in overtime to the Washington Redskins in the opener. They’ve lost three by more than 16 points.
They have lost star RB Ronnie Brown to injury and top WRs Chris Chambers and Wes Welker to ill-conceived trades. They’re starting a rookie QB. And the coaching staff seems ready to welcome back Ricky Williams, who doesn’t exactly have a reputation for fixing team’s problems.
Their 0-10 record leaves them two games behind the next worst teams in the league, and a full 10 games behind those division-rival Patriots.
The 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still the standard for NFL imperfection. In their inaugural season, they were shut out five times, threw only seven TD passes and posted a spotless 0-14 record.
Led by young QB Steve Spurrier, they went on to lose 12 more games in 1977 before getting their first victory, setting the NFL record for consecutive regular-season losses.
In recent years the NFL has seen plenty of bad teams, but not potentially historically bad like these Dolphins. Their season so far is the worst since the 2001 Lions were 0-12, and is only the fourth since 2000 in which a team has lost at least 10 in a row.
Next week they travel to Pittsburgh to face the division-leading Steelers, angry from that upset loss Sunday, and the following week Miami hosts those upset-happy Jets.
If those games leave the Dolphins 0-12, the next three opponents would be the playoff hopeful Buffalo Bills, the fading Baltimore Ravens and the hopeless Cincinnati Bengals — any of which could produce Miami’s first victory in this season of surprises, but hardly should be considered winnable games.
And if the Dolphins somehow stumble to 0-15, just to add salt to the wound, the Patriots could become the first team ever to go 15-0 in a regular season — setting up the Dolphins’ visit to Foxborough on Dec. 23.
Members from the ’72 Dolphins are sure to be on the sideline encouraging this year’s team to help keep them alone in the perfect column.
Maybe they’ll get in for a few plays in the second half. Those alumni can’t do worse than the current players.