The Miami Dolphins scored a touchdown to make it a 17-16 deficit against Washington with just six seconds left in the fourth quarter. With both teams looking for their first victory Sunday, the Dolphins went for the two-point conversion and missed, putting them at 0-5 on the year.
The Dolphins made the right choice in going for two. And that decision was going to be the right one, win or lose. However, it was certainly better that they lost, at least for what their front office is trying to accomplish.
The Dolphins are very clearly tanking. They’ve been disposing of talent, stacking cap space and draft picks, and losing. Other teams in the past have been better about hiding their tank jobs, especially since it’s harder to lean into it in the NFL. If you tank in the NBA, you really need to just get one or two stars and a supporting cast of anywhere between 6-8 players. On an NFL roster, you’re playing 11 players on each side of the ball. So if you’re trying to revamp, it could look ugly (like the 2019 Dolphins).
But back to the final play at hand — I don’t think you could fairly say that the 11 players on the field tried to fail on this attempt:
The Dolphins two point conversion to win, did not succeed pic.twitter.com/gXSIgdd0p0— Vikings Blogger (@firstandskol) October 13, 2019
That play looked like an obvious case of Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake trying to either run before he caught it, or him feeling the defense breathing down his neck.
The other part of this is I have extreme doubt that anybody talented enough to make one of the very limited spots on an NFL roster would intentionally fail. NFL contracts aren’t guaranteed, and careers are typically shorter than other sports because of the abuse that the game puts on the body. Simply put, NFL players who are fortunate enough to play on Sundays want to win.
That same line of thinking is why after Week 1, a lot of Dolphins players reportedly asked to be traded after the team got torched by the Ravens 59-10. Anybody who made the roster, in their right mind, wouldn’t want to be a part of the pot that the Dolphins front office is stirring.
Of course, everybody has varying circumstances. Getting a check is also better than no cash flow at all.
Now, let’s pretend there’s an alternate ending here where Drake ends up catching that ball and bullies past Washington’s defense for a touchdown. That’s the Dolphins’ first win of the season, which is more than most people thought they’d have, particularly after how the first few weeks of the season went.
There are three winnable games left on their schedule, two against the Jets, and one against the Bengals. If you want to include their two games against the Bills — because, well, they are the Bills — then you could say there are five.
However, the way the Dolphins are built, I wouldn’t bet on them to win any of those games. That said, the Dolphins would have won the game that they most likely had a shot at on Sunday.
The most obvious and important con to the Dolphins converting that two points is that they would hurt their case at drafting Tua Tagovailoa No. 1 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. If beating Washington, who is their own sort of mess, stops the Dolphins from getting their quarterback of the future, everything they’ve done to ensure a tank becomes worthless.
Plus, Washington looks pretty damn bad themselves this year, too. If the Dolphins were to beat a team, it needs to be the Patriots, or some other team we know is making the playoffs and not hurting their chances at the top pick. The win would also be more fun that way, too.
The worst possible thing the Dolphins could have done would be to kick the extra point. It would have sent the game to overtime, where it would end in a tie after these two poor teams couldn’t get into each other’s territory. And I don’t mean that in a What Makes The Most Sense kind of way.
Ties in sports just stink.