Less than 24 hours after his team lost a tight game on the road to the Indianapolis Colts, 23-20, Philbin expects his players to keep an even keel. All one needs to do is look at the standings to realize just how much parity exists around the NFL, and Miami is just one of eight teams in the AFC sitting at .500 or better at the midway point. So they remain in a good position heading into the second half.
“We thought going into the game we had an excellent week of preparation,” Philbin said in his day-after press conference. “We believe in the guys we have. We have confidence in our players. We like the chemistry of our football team. That all hasn’t changed because of the outcome of one game, but we do have to do better.”
It’s easy to look at the final score of yesterday’s game and come away disappointed as a Dolphins player or fan, and the season-high 516 yards given up by the defense certainly was a concern. Of course, the quarterback pulling the trigger for Indianapolis was the first overall pick of the most recent NFL Draft for a reason and it became evident early on that he was going to have one of those days where everything happened to go right for him.
Miami’s defense came into the game as the league’s best on third downs, yet Luck managed to convert on 13 of 19 chances for a 68 percent success rate. More than half of those conversions (7) came on third-and-9 or longer and kept drives alive, but even with that efficiency the Dolphins still had the lead at the half and were in position to either tie or win the game with two minutes left.
“I have a lot of confidence in our defense. I like the way they play the game,” Philbin said. “Obviously, that wasn’t one of their finer performances. When you’re a really good football team, which we’re not yet, because our record states that, as much as our defensive guys are disappointed, they made a stop when they had to and we had the ball first-and-10 on the 50-yard line with two minutes to go.
“We didn’t play very well on defense, but you have to win those games. I’m not overly concerned about the yards. The points, entering the game I think we were fifth in the league in scoring defense? That’s not a bad collection of work for seven weeks. 23 points I don’t think is going to drop them down to 10th.”
On the other side of the ball, Miami did rack up 365 yards of total offense, with rookie quarterback
When it was all said and done, the Dolphins have eight games left with five of them coming at home at Sun Life Stadium, so their destiny is in their own hands. Tannehill clearly has gotten Philbin’s message and as the leader of the offense, he is delivering that message to his teammates.
“I think we’ve had some good games, some not so good games, and some bad games,” Tannehill said after the game. “You have to realize where you are at and push forward. We are at a critical point in the season, halfway through, and it can go either way from here. I’m confident in the guys we have in the locker room. I think our mindset is right, it’s just a matter of putting it into action right now.”
They’ll get their chance to right the ship Sunday at home against the Tennessee Titans on Veterans Day weekend.