Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Sunday, December 29, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Miami Dolphins

By James Walker


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Thoughts on the Miami Dolphins' 20-7 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday.

What it means: This can be classified only as a choke job for Miami. The Dolphins controlled their own playoff destiny two weeks ago. But ugly back-to-back losses to the Buffalo Bills and Jets on Sunday knocked Miami out of playoff contention and led to an 8-8 finish. The Dolphins' roller-coaster season ends with some highs and plenty of lows. But losing two straight to miss the playoffs is definitely a disappointing finish for this group.

Stock watch: In terms of stock down, Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman put together another poor game plan that failed to put points on the board. The Dolphins have scored just seven points in the past eight quarters. Miami cornerback Nolan Carroll also struggled. New York rookie quarterback Geno Smith went after Carroll on several plays. Carroll allowed a pair of big catches to David Nelson for 31 and 24 yards in the first half alone that led to points.

There weren't many Dolphins candidates for stock up. Miami running back Lamar Miller had some decent runs and finished with 73 yards on 17 carries.

Hartline injured: The Dolphins suffered a key injury in the first quarter. Leading receiver Brian Hartline reinjured his knee in the first quarter and didn't return to the game. Hartline had two receptions for 38 yards and became the fifth receiver in Dolphins history to post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

What's next: It's time for the offseason in Miami. There will be plenty of questions with personnel, assistants on the coaching staff and perhaps the front office after a poor finish and another nonwinning season. The Dolphins also will await Ted Wells and the NFL's investigation on the bullying scandal involving Dolphins teammates Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin.