What an incongruous situation the NFL has between the 2-8 Dolphins and the 4-6 Browns.
The historic laughing stock of the NFL is said to finally flip the organization on its head and leave its losing ways behind with young, new talent. It hasn’t happened for Cleveland.
Miami, an esteemed franchise for a record it broke almost 50 years ago, has been nothing close to that stage in the last two decades, currently having one of its worst seasons in franchise history.
These two teams enter Sunday’s battle against one another in Cleveland as turbulent, malfunctioning franchises with eyes set on the future and not the present.
The Browns Won — But They Didn’t
Cleveland had arguably its biggest win of the season last week on national television against a streaking Pittsburgh Steelers team. The Browns entered Thursday Night Football having lost four of their last five and in need of a turnaround victory. They got it. Baker Mayfield and company outplayed the Steelers at home, earning them their fourth victory on the year.
But it didn’t feel that way.
With eight seconds left and the contest out of reach, defensive end Myles Garrett hit Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with a late hit. Rudolph didn’t take kindly to it and allegedly used some choice words. One thing led to another, and Garrett eventually used Rudolph’s own helmet to hit the QB in the head, resulting in massive national media attention and an indefinite suspension (which lasts for at least the rest of this season).
The negative media which came Garrett’s and Cleveland’s way took the air out of its win. Now, the Browns enter a situation Sunday without Garrett that seems to be in the ‘must-win’ category due to the game’s importance and the Dolphins’ inability to score.
Can the Dolphins Steal Another Win?
After starting the season with seven straight losses and seemingly trying to go winless, the Dolphins shocked the world. They won not one, but two, consecutive games against the Jets and Colts, before losing to Buffalo last week. Miami will try to make it three of its last four this week against the Browns, but it won’t be easy.
The Dolphins have scored 20 or more points this season just three times — against the Jets once and against the Bills twice. This lackluster offense, led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, sits 28th in the league with 202.7 passing yards per game and just 13.9 points a contest.
Miami’s defensive side doesn’t prove to be much, either. The Dolphins are allowing 148 rushing yards per game, which is good for second-worst in the NFL. Miami is also second-to-last in points against, allowing 30 points per game to opponents.
Mayfield, Nick Chubb and the rest of the Browns offense will have the chance to snag another important victory against the Dolphins. Will Miami’s “tank” steal another game from a playoff-hopeful?