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MIAMI GARDENS — With the clock winding down and another loss at hand, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross slumped in his skybox seat, right elbow resting heavily on the armrest, right hand pinching his forehead as if trying to intercept an oncoming headache.
Down below, a small crowd mustered big boos.
The Dolphins lost again and will sit out the playoffs – again. And so speculation about yet another possible organizational shake-up by Ross has begun.
Miami was beaten 17-7 Sunday by Jacksonville and could hardly have looked worse at home against an also-ran opponent. The Dolphins gained 83 yards on their first drive, and 100 the rest of the way.
“Terrible,” head coach and play-caller Adam Gase said. “I mean, the offense was awful.”
Ryan Tannehill, playing perhaps his final home game with Miami, threw a pick-six in the fourth quarter to seal the defeat. As a result, the Dolphins (7-8) will sit out the postseason for the 15th time in the past 17 years.
“That’s why you play this game — to get to the playoffs and try to win the last game of the year,” receiver Danny Amendola said. “Unfortunately we lost today. It really stinks.”
The loss mathematically eliminated the Dolphins, although because of subsequent results in other games, they would have been eliminated even if they had won. The dismal performance in the home finale is sure to sour Ross’ view of his latest talent-deficient team.
Miami has had 20 starting quarterbacks and nine coaches since 1999. Gase declined to discuss possible changes for 2019.
“I’m not there yet,” he said. “We just got done with this. I’ve got to figure out why we can’t get guys covered up, and why we can’t be more physical than what we were.”
Gase’s job could be in jeopardy and the 30-year-old Tannehill’s future is very much in doubt. His contract balloons to $18.7 million in base salary in 2019, when he would count $26.6 million against the salary cap, which could compel the Dolphins to seek a cheaper, younger alternative.
When Gase was asked if he’s getting winning play from Tannehill, he said, “Sometimes.”
“Today was a rough day for him,” Gase said. “I wish he would have played a little better. I wish he would have made a few more decisions that were different. I think there have been games that he has played really well, and there have been some games where we haven’t played well. It’s as much on me as it is on him. I have to do a better job of making sure that he’s doing the right things at the right time.”
Tannehill is 42-45 as a starter and has never taken a postseason snap. Gase is 23-25 in three seasons with the Dolphins, including a playoff loss in 2016.
They haven’t won a postseason game since 2000. That will remain the case for at least another year.
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