- James Walker, ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter
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Playoffs? To the surprise of many, the Dolphins are suddenly -- and firmly -- back in the playoff picture. Miami (5-5) is tied with the New York Jets (5-5) for the final wild-card spot in the AFC. The Dolphins can control their own destiny. They will play the Jets twice in December. This is stunning for a Miami team that entered Sunday losing five of its past six games. The Dolphins also were dealing with a lot of off-the-field issues that we will get to next.
The saga continues: The Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin situation is far from over. The NFL is expected to pay the Dolphins a visit this week and will have many questions. Martin met with NFL lead investigator Ted Wells for seven hours last week. That’s a lot of material for the Dolphins to respond to. Miami must cooperate with the investigation but also stay focused on preparation for its next opponent: the Carolina Panthers.
Shuffling up front: Perhaps one of the biggest surprises was the Dolphins held up against San Diego despite a makeshift offensive line. In addition to Martin and Incognito being out, Miami center Mike Pouncey also missed the game with an illness. Nate Garner moved from guard to center, and Sam Brenner came off the practice squad to make his first career start at guard. Still, the Dolphins were able to produce just enough offense (343 yards) and points (20) to pull out a close win. The Dolphins also rushed for 104 yards on 19 carries, which was significantly better than their franchise-low of 2 rushing yards in a Week 10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Grimes time: Perhaps no Dolphins player is having a better and more consistent season than cornerback Brent Grimes. He had a another stellar game against the Chargers with five tackles, an interception and a key pass defense in the end zone to seal the game in the fourth quarter. Grimes signed a one-year contract with the Dolphins this offseason and turned out to be one of the team’s top five players. Grimes was a nice find for Miami, which must make re-signing him a priority in free agency.
A review of four hot issues from the Miami Dolphins' 20-16 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday:Playoffs? To the surprise of many, the Dolphins are suddenly -- and firmly -- back in the playoff picture.