It’s that time of year. Byes became part of the NFL schedule starting with the 1990 season, and this is the weekend this year when the Dolphins are off.
Depending on the point of view, the bye is helpful because it allows a team to regroup or get healthy or it can be detrimental because it can slow the momentum of a team on a roll.
For the Dolphins, it’s the former that applies after losses against New Orleans and Baltimore and with injuries to some key players on defense, such as
The bye week generally has been good to the Dolphins, who have a 15-10 record in games following an off week — that includes the thrilling 18-15 victory against the Oakland Raiders in 2001 after all NFL action was postponed the weekend following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The Dolphins also wound up with a bye on the opening weekend of the 1992 season after their game against the Patriots was postponed in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew — Miami and New England had their original byes on the same weekend.
The Dolphins were especially successful after the bye after it first was instituted, as they won their first seven games, including a 27-23 Monday night victory at Cleveland in their new season opener in 1992.
In an odd twist, the Dolphins have alternated wins and losses after the bye for the past eight years, starting with a 20-14 loss at Buffalo in 2005.
That strange eight-year streak:
2005, at Buffalo, lost 20-14
2006, at Chicago, won 30-13
2007, vs. Buffalo, lost 13-10
2008, vs. San Diego, won 17-10
2009, vs. New Orleans, lost 46-34
2010, at Green Bay, won 23-20 in overtime
2011, at N.Y. Jets, lost 24-6
2012, at N.Y. Jets, won 30-9
This year marks only the eighth time the Dolphins have headed into their bye on a losing streak, and they’ve done a good job in the past of using the bye to rebound.
They have a 4-3 record in such games, with victories in 1991, 1997, 2006 and 2010.
The 2006 post-bye game was particularly impressive. The Dolphins had lost four in a row before their bye and were heading to Chicago with a 1-6 record to face a Bears team that had started 7-0 and was on its way to a Super Bowl appearance. Miami completely dominated the Bears that day, winning 31-13 thanks in large part to Jason Taylor’s interception return for a touchdown and a 157-yard rushing performance by Ronnie Brown.
Interestingly, this year marks the first time the Dolphins headed into their bye with a winning record but having lost at least their last two games.
Here’s the breakdown of the seasons when the Dolphins headed into their bye on a losing streak (along with their record at the break and how they did in their first post-bye game):
1991, two straight losses, 3-5 record, won at Indianapolis 10-6
1997, two straight losses, 2-2 record, won vs. Kansas City 17-14
2004, two straight losses, 1-8 record, lost at Seattle 24-17
2006, four straight losses, 1-6 record, won at Chicago 31-13
2007, eight straight losses, 0-8 record, lost vs. Buffalo 13-10
2010, two straight losses, 2-2 record, won at Green Bay 23-20 in overtime
2011, four straight losses, 0-4 record, lost at N.Y. Jets 24-6
Since the byes started in 1990, this is the fifth time the Dolphins are having their week off after their fifth game. It’s the fourth time in those five occasions that the Dolphins head into their bye with a winning record. They were 4-1 in both 1990 and 1993, 3-2 in 2001 and 2-3 in 2009.
It should be considered a good omen that the Dolphins are a perfect 3-0 when they had their bye after five games and had a winning record at the time. They beat New England 17-10 in 1990, beat Indianapolis 41-27 in 1993, and beat Seattle 24-20 in 2001.