This Dolphins offense stinks.

It proved that in Sunday’s 23-21 loss at New England, a time when the team really needed a boost from what’s supposed to be its strength, the offense.

The now 8-8 Dolphins are an offensive tragedy.

Stop blaming the defense. The defense, which doesn’t have nearly as much talent as the offense, only allowed 23 points Sunday (actually, 16 considering the interception returned for a touchdown) and gave the Dolphins a chance to win.

Stop blaming kicker Jason Sanders. Yeah, he missed a 51-yard field goal attempt, but the Dolphins should be racking up touchdowns, not field goals.

Stop blaming the absence of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. This five-game slide began with the San Francisco loss, a time when Tagovailoa was playing the best football of his career.

This is a criticism of the entire offense, not a singular person or aspect, not Tagovailoa, coach Mike McDaniel, adjustments, the run game, deep passes, the offensive line or anything else. It’s everything.

This offense doesn’t consistently score touchdowns against average to above-average teams — and it hasn’t all season.

If you can’t count on the offense when you’re facing a tough opponent in a tough situation, what good is it?

Let’s face it, the Dolphins offense is overrated and has rarely come up big when needed.

OK, it did once, against Baltimore. That’s it.

Ever since then, this hyped Dolphins offense hasn’t done anything special. Nothing.

It’s a normal offense. It’s nothing great.

Yeah, it may be “good”, but not good enough to be elite.

The Dolphins offense averages 24.1 points per game.

In 2020, under the guidance of former coach Brian Flores, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, and leading rusher Myles Gaskin (584 yards rushing), the Dolphins offense averaged 25.3 points per game.

In 2014, under the guidance of coach Joe Philbin and quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins averaged 24.3 points per game.

So, you still think this is a good offense?

This offense scored more than 20 points against a team that currently has a winning record just three times (Baltimore and both Buffalo games).

Think about that. Three times in seven attempts. And one of those attempts was aided by a 28-point fourth-quarter in September (Baltimore), another was the 21-point effort in a 21-19 September victory (against Buffalo), and the third was a 29-point effort in a loss (at Buffalo three games ago).

The offense hasn’t shown itself to be anything unique or fearsome against quality opponents.

Again, this isn’t intended to point a damning finger at McDaniel, the architect of the offense. It’s also not intended to say anyone deserves to lose their job.

This is intended to say the problems with the Dolphins run deep and wide, and they start with the vaunted offense, the unit that was supposed to make this team good.

But they’re not really that good.

In fact, the Dolphins must defeat the New York Jets in next week’s regular-season finale just to climb to the nine-win level Flores had them the previous two seasons.

Yes, this Dolphins defense has been shaky and special teams have been disappointing. Neither is absolved of responsibility.

However, neither is the strength of this team. The offense is the strength of the team.

This offense will rack up 30 or more points on a regular basis against sub-.500 teams.

But it hasn’t done anything against average or above-average teams.

The offense averages 22.4 points per game against teams currently .500 or better. That would rank a middling 13th in the NFL.

The high-scoring offense scored more than 30 points against a team with a winning record just once (Baltimore).

The offense has the best talent on the team. The offense has the mastermind coach (McDaniel), a quarterback who was a MVP candidate at midseason (Tagovailoa), a future Hall of Fame wide receiver (Tyreek Hill), a Pro Bowl left tackle (Terron Armstead) and another 1,000-yard wide receiver (Jaylen Waddle).

Comparatively, the defense has nothing.

This is a Dolphins passing game that evoked the names of quarterback Dan Marino and wide receivers Mark Clayton and Mark Duper. We thought this offense, and specifically this passing game, was in that category.

New England coach Bill Belichick saw the reality. Belichick knew if he could limit Hill (four receptions, 55 yards Sunday) and Waddle (three receptions, 52 yards) there was no way the Dolphins could score enough points to win whether or not Tagovailoa was playing. Absolutely no way.

Belichick was right.

This loss, despite the Dolphins’ 71 penalty yards, missed field goal, and having to use second- and third-team quarterbacks, belongs on the back of the offense.

The offense is the unit that must carry the Dolphins, not a defense that produced one Pro Bowl player (cornerback Xavien Howard) and has been missing one of its top players all season (cornerback Byron Jones).

The offense has one more opportunity to get the job done, next week against the Jets. The Dolphins need to outscore the Jets. Don’t leave it to the defense, don’t leave it to a 51-yard field goal.

The offense must score touchdowns, win the Jets game, and (if the Patriots lose to Buffalo) get the Dolphins to the playoffs.

In other words, the offense better not stink again.



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