Dolphins’ long-shot status to reach playoffs a matter of their own doing
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has never won a playoff game.
Ditto five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake. And 39-year-old long snapper John Denney, who has been with the Miami Dolphins since 2005.
They’re probably not going to win a playoff game this season, either.
Or even play in one.
Miami (6-8) heads into the final two weeks of the regular season with a 3 percent chance to make the postseason, according to fivethirtyeight.com.
Coach Adam Gase is striving mightily to redirect questions about the offseason to Sunday’s game at Kansas City (8-6).
“This thing is not quite over yet,” Gase said Wednesday.
The Dolphins are two games out in the AFC wild-card race. They can be eliminated Sunday with a loss — they’re 10-point underdogs — or an unfavorable result in any of four other games.
“It’s tough,” said quarterback Jay Cutler, whose only playoff appearance was in 2010. “The situation we’re in, you look back at some games — you should have won this, you should have won that. That’s not the case. We made our bed.”
Cutler, 34, might be heading into the final two games of his career. He said he hasn’t made any decision regarding next season, but acknowledged pursuit of the playoffs is what keeps him going — and make this season so disappointing.
“Early in your career, you think you’re going to play forever. If you miss one here or there, you can come back strong the next year,” he said. “As you get older, you realize how quickly the years start ticking off, and how valuable and precious each November and December is.”
The Dolphins hold out hope for a miracle, with Gase telling his players a long shot isn’t the same as no shot.
“They’re aware,” Gase said. “We keep telling them, `Play until somebody tells you not to.'”
But once again, they’re unlikely to be a factor in January. The Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game since 2000, and they’ve made the postseason just once — last year — in the past nine seasons.
Injuries have been part of the problem in 2017, and the Dolphins added to that list Wednesday, when they placed tight end Julius Thomas and guard Jermon Bushrod on injured reserve. Thomas was a bust in his first and perhaps only year with Miami, catching just three touchdown passes.
But then the list of players with disappointing production is also long.
“You’re always going to wish you had more production from every position, especially with where we’re at,” Gase said. “We wish everybody would maybe have done a little more to this point.”
The Dolphins’ losing record didn’t help their strongest Pro Bowl candidates, with only safety Reshad Jones chosen for the AFC team.
“I’d rather win than be in the Pro Bowl,” Jones said.
Suh wasn’t picked despite being double-teamed all season. He declined to complain about any Pro Bowl snubbing of the Dolphins.
“We haven’t played to our best abilities,” Suh said. “Until we do that and put it in the forefront of people’s minds that we are an elite team, they’re going to have their right to have their own opinion. We have our opportunities to make our own noise, and we failed to do that in a lot of cases.”