- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Slumping Fins: The Dolphins lost their fourth game in a row and second straight to an AFC East opponent. All the good vibes from Miami’s 3-0 start has been completely erased, and now you must question this team’s confidence. The Dolphins continue to show good effort. But do they have enough talent and focus to overcome this slump? Or will this team go in the tank after such a bad losing streak? Miami hasn't won a game since Sept. 22.
Revisiting McKinnie decision: Miami made a risky decision to start new left tackle Bryant McKinnie after just three practices with the team. The Dolphins acquired McKinnie on Oct. 21 in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens. He got his first start Sunday and played relatively well. McKinnie held New England’s best pass-rusher in Chandler Jones to six tackles and zero sacks. Miami also had its best running day of the season. The Dolphins gained 156 rushing yards and averaged 5.0 yards per carry. McKinnie should improve with more practice time. He was already an upgrade over former starting offensive tackle Tyson Clabo.
Replacing Gibson: The Dolphins are expected to lose slot receiver Brandon Gibson for the season with a significant knee injury. Miami will have further tests on Gibson’s knee this week. But the receiver was on crutches in the locker room and didn’t sound like a player who was coming back anytime soon. Gibson was a favorite of Tannehill and will be hard to replace in the slot. Backup Rishard Matthews will take Gibson’s place. But Miami only has three healthy receivers on its 53-man roster.
Trick or treat: Things do not get easier for Miami. The Dolphins will face a first-place team for the second straight game when they host the Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) on Thursday, which is Halloween night. The Bengals are very talented and thrashed the New York Jets, 49-9, on Sunday. The Dolphins beat the Bengals last year in Cincinnati, which surely hasn’t been forgotten. This will be a tough matchup to for the Dolphins to try to save their season.