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INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Season Review

Posted Jan 3, 2014

This season marked the sixth time in franchise history the Dolphins finished with an 8-8 record, but the first time since 1996.

The first thing that jumps out when we look back at the just-completed Dolphins season is their ability to beat quality teams in 2013.

The Dolphins finished the season with a 4-3 record against teams that made the playoffs, with victories against Indianapolis, Cincinnati, San Diego and New England and losses against New Orleans, New England and Carolina.

The four victories were the most of any team that didn’t make the playoffs and tied for second-most in the league overall with Denver and Cincinnati. The only team with more victories this season against playoff teams was San Diego, which went 5-2 on the strength of its two victories against the Kansas City Chiefs.

THE DOLPHINS VS. 2013 PLAYOFF TEAMS

At Indianapolis, won 24-20
At New Orleans, lost 38-17
At New England, lost 27-17
Vs. Cincinnati, won 22-20 (OT)
Vs. San Diego, won 20-16
Vs. Carolina, lost 20-16
Vs. New England, won 24-20

This season marked the sixth time in franchise history the Dolphins finished with an 8-8 record, but the first time since 1996. The other four such seasons occurred in 1980, 1986, 1989 and 1991.

Ironically, four of the Dolphins’ six 8-8 seasons ended with a game against the New York Jets. Besides this year, it happened in 1996, 1991 and 1980.

This was a streaky season for the Dolphins, who won their first three games and had another three-game winning streak late in the season. This was only the fourth time in their history the Dolphins failed to make the playoffs in a season where they had two winning streaks of three games or more.

In a strange twist, it also happened in 2003 and 1993, as well as in 1989.

The Dolphins ended up with a 6-4 record in games decided by seven points or less, an improvement from their 3-5 mark in such games in 2012. It was the most close games in a Dolphins season since 2009 when they also went 6-4 in games decided by seven points or less.

The Dolphins in games decided by seven points or less

2013, 6-4, final record 8-8
2012, 3-5, final record 7-9
2011, 2-5, final record 6-10
2010, 4-3, final record 7-9
2009, 6-4, final record 7-9
2008, 7-2, final record 11-5
2007, 1-6, final record 1-15
2006, 3-4, final record 6-10
2005, 5-3, final record 9-7
2004, 3-6, final record 4-12

As is often the case, the turnover margin was a large factor in the team’s success in 2013. In games where they won the turnover battle, the Dolphins were 3-1 this season, but their record was 0-5 when they had a negative turnover ratio.

The Dolphins made some team history with three players (Brian Hartline, Mike Wallace, Charles Clay) finishing with 65 catches of more. It was the most productive passing season for the Dolphins with someone other than Dan Marino at quarterback. Ryan Tannehill had five 300-yard passing games, the most for a Dolphins QB other than Marino and his 355 completions and 588 attempts ranked fourth in team history behind three totals achieved by the legendary number 13.

In terms of NFL rankings, the Dolphins player with the best showing was punter Brandon Fields, who was second in both gross (behind Oakland’s Marquette King) and net average (behind St. Louis’ Johnny Hekker). Defensively, Olivier Vernon finished tied for seventh with his 11.5 sacks, as he ended Cameron Wake’s three-year reign as Dolphins sack champion.

Thanks largely to Fields, the Dolphins finished first in the NFL in team gross punting average and second in net punting. They also were second in red zone defense (allowing a touchdown only 46.4 percent of the time) and second in fewest penalty yards with 598.

The Dolphins allowed opponents a combined 77.3 passer rating, the fifth-best showing in the NFL behind those of Seattle, San Francisco, Buffalo and Cincinnati.

One of the best stats for the Dolphins was the team’s 18 interceptions, which tied for highest total (with 2008) over the past 10 seasons.
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