Available 7 Days/Week       MON - FRI  8am - 7pm       SAT - SUN  10am – 6pm
Call us (754) 701-3300
Apply Now

Chris Perkins: Success of Dolphins’ season now relies on their mentality more than their physicality

BALTIMORE — Miami Dolphins center Liam Eichenberg was perplexed. He was asked in the solemn postgame locker room whether Miami should stew in Sunday’s 56-19 drubbing by the Ravens in Baltimore, allowing the pain of that brutal beatdown to motivate them for next weekend’s dramatic regular-season finale against Buffalo, or just flush this loss completely and move on to the Bills game.

“What a great question,” he said, actually pausing to take time to ponder the inquiry.

The Dolphins have to flush this one and rely on their strong mentality to carry them through next weekend’s dramatic finale against Buffalo and the playoffs.

Trends and naysayers are going to say it can’t be done, that the Dolphins (11-5) are going down and they’re going down hard.

The Dolphins, who snapped out of three-game and five-game losing streaks last year to make the playoffs, can’t allow that to happen.

This season, this brief two-season era under coach Mike McDaniel, this dramatic (and expensive) rebuild under general manager Chris Grier and McDaniel all comes down to the Dolphins’ mentality.

“It’s everything,” McDaniel said of the role his team’s mentality will play in the season’s outcome.

If the Dolphins are tough enough mentally, they’ll beat Buffalo. 

After all, Miami has been almost unbeatable at Hard Rock Stadium.

It has that going in its favor.

The Dolphins are 7-1 at home this season, and 13-3 at home under McDaniel.

McDaniel loves to say “adversity is an opportunity.”

This situation, once again, tests that philosophy.

Baltimore physically whipped the Dolphins on Sunday, rushing for 160 yards, averaging 8.9 yards per play, and holding Miami’s vaunted offense to just two touchdowns.

Put aside the physical limitations on this team — the knee injury to edge rusher Bradley Chubb that required him leaving the field on a cart, the left foot injury to cornerback Xavien Howard that caused him to leave the field on a cart and hobble out of the locker room in a walking boot.

“Those are huge,” said safety Jevon Holland, who acknowledged he might have shown some signs of rust Sunday after sitting out the previous three games with knee injuries.

Forget about the losses to top teams (Miami is 1-4 in such games this season losing to Buffalo, Philadelphia, Kansas City and Baltimore while beating Dallas).

Forget about the losses to top teams on the road this season (Miami is 0-4 against Buffalo, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Baltimore).

The Dolphins, who have been incredibly mentally tough last year and this season, must set their minds to beating Buffalo and winning a playoff game.

Nothing else matters, and the latter matters way more than the former.

Beating Buffalo would help Miami win a playoff game because beating Buffalo means Miami wins the AFC East, gets the No. 2 seed in the AFC, and gets a first-round home playoff game.

Being at home for the playoffs matters greatly, as you can see from Miami’s road record against top teams.

The Dolphins are now 2-9 on the road against teams that made the 2022 playoffs.

Yes, Sunday’s game saw lots of blown assignments in the secondary.

“Ultimately, all it comes down to is communication, especially in the back end,” cornerback Eli Apple said. “You can’t have mishaps happen like we had today.”

Yes, Sunday’s game saw Miami’s defense and offense get bullied on both lines of scrimmage by Baltimore’s linemen.

“They have some big guns,” center Liam Eichenberg said.

Yes, Sunday’s game saw Miami’s defense get worn out for three 75-yard touchdown drives and an 89-yard touchdown drive.

“We’ve got to figure out a way when the game’s not going our way to stop the bleeding,” linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel said. “We didn’t do that today. We couldn’t get off the field.”

But the Buffalo game and playoffs are about Miami setting a tough mentality and letting everyone know they won’t be pushed around.

Buffalo and Baltimore are two of the teams that have bullied the Dolphins in recent years.

Baltimore continued that trend Sunday. Buffalo did its part to continue the trend earlier this season in its 48-20 victory over the Dolphins.

Miami has to break that trend next weekend.

This has little to do with Miami’s physicality. This is about Miami’s mentality.

“We have a lot of people that have chips on their shoulders, just in general, from people saying they can’t do X, Y or Z,” McDaniel said. “And this is the time to lean into that.” 

#fortlauderdale, #fortlauderdalemortgage, #fortlauderdalemortgagelender, #fortlauderdalemortgagerates #fortlauderdalemortgagebroker