DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Adam Gase wore his cap with the bill tugged even lower than usual Monday, as if trying to avoid looking at the big picture.
It’s not pretty. His Miami Dolphins (5-6) have lost six of their past eight games, including two in a row, to fall below .500 for the first time in 2018.
And now they’ve earned a reputation for blowing double-digit fourth-quarter leads. They did it for the second time this season Sunday, when Indianapolis erased a 10-point deficit in the final 8½ minutes to win 27-24.
In Week 5, Cincinnati rallied from a 17-point deficit and scored four times in the fourth period to beat Miami 27-17.
“You’re disappointed because you’ve got two games where you’re going, 5-6 (could be) 7-4,” Gase said.
“It’s a lousy feeling,” he added, although he used a locker-room synonym for “lousy.”
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill played Sunday for the first time since the Cincinnati debacle, when he hurt his throwing shoulder. He went 2 for 4 for minus 3 yards in the fourth quarter against the Colts but still finished with a passer rating of 119.4 and emerged from the game in good shape physically.
“The shoulder wasn’t an issue,” Tannehill said. “It felt really good. I really didn’t even think about it throughout the game.”
Miami’s meltdown was a whopper, however. Indy outgained the Dolphins 200 yards to minus 1 yard in the final 13½ minutes.
“The way it went down, obviously, really hurts,” Tannehill said.
The collapse triggered a frenzy on social media, with Gase’s play-calling criticized like never before in his three seasons as head coach.
He acknowledged second-guessing himself regarding one call, saying the Colts’ scheme surprised him on a second-and-10 pass into the flat to DeVante Parker that went for no gain during a three-and-out before the Colts’ winning drive.
“If I could have that one back, that probably could have made a difference,” Gase muttered. “You hate when you’re up and you lose the lead, and you know what you left on the field, and you know some of the situational stuff that didn’t get done right.”
As a result, the Dolphins had three takeaways, deflected a punt, scored on a 74-yard pass and still managed to lose.
“It was right there,” defensive end Cameron Wake said. “I mean, everything. It was scripted the way we wanted.”
With the defeat, the Dolphins fell behind seven teams in the AFC standings. They’ll likely be favored in only two of their final five games, including Sunday at home against Buffalo, and appear destined to miss the playoffs for the 15th time in the past 17 years.
It can be argued that the Dolphins are worse than their record, and below .500 is where they belong. They rank 28th in the NFL in offense and 29th in defense. They’ve been outgained by 928 yards, third-worst in the league.
But Gase predicted his team will bounce back from the latest loss.
“The good thing about NFL players is once we hit Wednesday, they really don’t care about last week,” he said. “It’s probably better they’re like that, compared with the coaches. We’ll dwell.”