Everything broke right for the Miami Dolphins last year to help them pull off the greatest single-season turnaround in NFL history. Chad Pennington fell into their laps. They capitalized on a favorable schedule. They tied the NFL record for fewest turnovers.
Perhaps most importantly, they avoided serious injuries.
This year has been an uphill battle from the start. Miami admirably has ground its way to a 5-5 record to stoke playoff hopes and could have a winning record with a victory Sunday over the Buffalo Bills.
But mounting injuries keep dousing the mood.
The Dolphins have placed another captain on injured reserve, losing nose tackle Jason Ferguson with a torn quadriceps. They previously lost Pennington to a shoulder injury, star running back Ronnie Brown to a broken foot and top cornerback Will Allen to a knee injury.
"Nobody is going to feel sorry for you, and if you start feeling sorry for yourself you are going to be on the wrong end of a real good butt kicking," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said. "We are not going to do that."
"We are in a situation right now where we fought our tails off to put ourselves in the best situation that we can be in at this time," Sparano said. "We got some pretty important games coming up. So we are getting ready for Buffalo."