The Miami Dolphins are, to put it mildly, struggling. It’s been a long time since an NFL team that once ruled the league has performed this poorly and the upper office has to be pulling its hair out as it tries to figure out where it’s gone wrong.
The team is on a road trip to Pennsylvania as it takes on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Monday Night Football tonight, and its season is only just barely worse than the numbers Pittsburgh has put on the board. As news of Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake heading out the door surfaces, things will be interesting tonight and maybe – just maybe – the Miami crew will be able to find its first victory of the season.
Miami is 0-6 as it heads into Heinz Field tonight and the NFL has featured the team 84 times on MNF – the most out of any pro team. It’s do-or-die time for the Dolphins, even though their playoff chances are shot, as the team looks to figure out its mistakes and put one in the W column. It’s also a chance for the Dolphins to try to keep the Steelers from making it to the playoffs.
It won’t be easy, as Pittsburgh has managed to find a little momentum. Mason Rudolph is back after having suffered a concussion and is hoping it can move up in the AFC North standings as it threatens the first-place Baltimore Ravens. In the North, the Steelers are saved by the poor performances given by the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Pittsburgh has a record of performing well on Monday Night. Since October 1991, they have won every single home game – 17 straight – and have the best overall win percentage of any team in home MNF games at 26-5. Add this to the fact that the Dolphins are 30th in the league for passing and 31st for rushing, and a dismal picture begins to emerge.
However, there is something that should be kept in mind. The Dolphins may appear to be swimming with the fish, but they’ve been able to pull off some surprising stats in their past couple of games. They started the season at an embarrassing 6.5 points per game, only to improve that to a total of 37 points in the last two contests. This means that, somewhere, they managed to find a little bit of the juice they used to have and could pull it out tonight against the Steelers.
The Steelers have only been averaging about 20 points a game. That’s on par, roughly, with what the Dolphins have seen as their average for the past two matchups. This could mean that the Dolphins offense is going to shine tonight.
If the Dolphins are going to do it, it will be without Drake. He didn’t travel with the team as he prepares to make a move out west to Arizona. Drake was given up in exchange for a conditional sixth-round draft pick at next year’s draft. He was the leading rusher for the Dolphins this year, picking up 174 yards with 47 carries.
Despite his power, the Dolphins are looking at the bigger picture. As a result of several trades already having taken place this year, and the latest with Drake, Miami now has 13 draft picks in 2020 – including two in the second round and three in the first.
Giving up Drake before today’s game is going to cost the Dolphins. As close as it was to scoring its first victory of the season, too much power has been lost and the team is going to find itself coming up just short. The Steelers are going to win and should do so with a comfortable margin.