1) It is MONDAY, DECEMBER 15. Click on Random Evidence for the return of our Sunday notes-column package after a two-week hiatus. 2) Our blog-exclusive Hot Button Top 10 also returns today. Find it here right below the Dolphins-Patriots post. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Johnny Manziel poll, Dolphins/NFL Week 15 predix, Marlins' winning week, The U Part 2 & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.
Find Dolphins-Patriots gamepost and postgame thoughts immediately below new DSM poll.
DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G14: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 5.1 percent overall satisfaction -- the season's second-lowest approval rating -- in the wake of Sunday's 41-13 loss at New England putting Miami's season record at 7-7. The DSM, in its seventh season, is a continuous weekly gauge of how fans are feeling about the Dolphins and their direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are usually certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9 a.m. today/Tuesday.
2014 DSM results
G1: 96.4% (following 33-20 victory vs. New England)
G2: 12.2% (following 29-10 loss at Buffalo)
G3: 2.0% (following 34-15 loss vs. Kansas City)
G4: 62.3% (following 38-14 victory vs. Oakland in London)
G5: 14.2% (following 27-24 loss vs. Green Bay)
G6: 80.7% (following 27-14 victory at Chicago)
G7: 63.2% (following 27-13 victory at Jacksonville)
G8: 97.4% (following 37-0 victory vs. San Diego)
G9: 40.3% (following 20-16 loss at Detroit)
G10: 93.3% (following 22-9 victory vs. Buffalo)
G11: 38.9% (following 39-36 loss at Denver)
G12: 69.6% (following 16-13 victory at N.Y. Jets)
G13: 6.1% (following 28-13 loss vs. Baltimore)
G14: 5.1% (following 41-13 loss at New England)
Next poll: Dec. 21 (following game vs. Minnesota)
G14: NEW ENGLAND 41, DOLPHINS 13 (FINAL): GOODBYE PLAYOFF HOPES AFTER 27-0 SECOND HALF: Final: The game began with a 50-yard completion to Mike Wallace. The first half ended with momentum Miami's after a late TD. The second half was an unequivocal nightmare. What else can be said? Realistic playoffs hopes are now finished. So is the realistic chance that coach Joe Philbin will somehow save his job. Mediocrity, they record is 7-7. ..... Fourth quarter: Pats tack on FG for 41-13. ... If you're going for it on 4th and 18, why you wanna throw a way-short pass? Can this game end, please?. ... Dumb, dumb. Roughness penalty on Brandon Gibson, then Gibson gives the yards right back with an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty. ... All over but the wailing. ..... Third quarter: Suddenly, a rout. Pats up 31-13 on Brady-Gronkowski 27-yard TD pass immediately following Tannehill's second INT. This was off a deflection so not entirely on the QB. ... Pats tack on a 35-yard FG for a 24-13 lead. ... NE up 21-13 on 79-yard drive to open second half capped by LeGarrette Blount 3-yard scoring run. ..... Halftime: Though down by a point, a Dolfan might be reasonably if cautiously optimistic. The defense is looking great, with one Pats TD coming on a blocked FG return and the other set up by a long interception return. With a turnover-free second half Miami will have a chance. Meanwhile, the Dolphins offense has discovered the long ball, with seven deep passes in half. A welcome sight! ..... Second quarter: Tannehill-Wallace 32-yard TD pass -- Miami's longest scoring pass of season -- on an overturned call on review. Right decision. Jarvis Landry 32-yard punt return helped set it up. That kid's the real deal, man. ... Fins within 14-6 on 53-yard FG but it's more settling. Damien Williams dropped a shoulda-been TD pass. ... NE 14-3 on Shane Vereen 3-yard TD run, after Pats' Duron Harmon intercepts Tannehill overthrow and returns it 60 yards to inside Dolphins 10. ..... First quarter: MIA within 7-3 on 24-yard FG late in quarter but it's another red-zone disappointment. Fins had a 1st-and-10 but settled. ... Jason Trusnik intercepts Brady to abort Pats drive. ... Only the Dolphins, right? Miami begins game with 50-yard Tannehill-to-Wallace completion (a TD if not underthrown), settles for 41-yard FG try, sees FG blocked and returned 62 yards for Patriots TD by Kyle Arrington. Only the Dolphins. Geez. MIA's previous blcoked FG returned for a score was in 1991. Geez again. ..... Original post: Miami lost more than a game at home to Baltimore last week. It lost all margin of error in the playoff chase. Beat the Ravens and "at New England" becomes less than a must-win. Now? All but a must win. Beat Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in their chilly backyard today at 1 and postseason hopes are rescussitated. But lose and Miami is all but done, the season flatlining. Unfortunately for the Dolphins "at New England" is a tall task anytime and brutally so in wintertime. Miami has lost four in a row and seven of the past eight December-or-later games in Foxborough, and the exception was a 2005 game in which Pats had already clinched the dvision title and let Matt Cassel play three quarters. Pats are 6-0 at home this season, 52-9 in Foxborough in December under Bill Belichick and have much to play for today. A win here clinches yet another AFC East crown for NE, and Pats still gun for a first-round bye as well. Miami will get the A-game, in other words. Tom Brady averages 303.8 passing yards at home this year, with 17 TDs vs. only two INTs. I worry some about the Fins’ secondary as it welcomes back CB Cortland Finnegan but loses injured S Louis Delmas. I worry more about a run defense that has been pretty awful the past three games, making MIA stand for Missing In Action. Miami must both run better than it has lately and also stop the run to have a chance at an upset — a result that would make the playoffs hugely more likely. Dolphs beat Pats 33-20 in an exhilarating season opener. Don’t see a repeat in the chill, although I like Miami with the points. If only close counted for Joe Philbin. His job is slipping away from him, and Sunday won’t help. My pick: Patriots, 27-21.
HOT BUTTON DEC. 14: TOP 10 THINGS SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday feature, back after a two-week hiatus, is an expanded, updated version of what appears in the Sunday pulp editions. Hot Button means what's on our minds as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead:
1. Dolphins: Will Foxborough be the end of line for playoff hopes?: Miami must beat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in their backyard, something done only once in past eight late-season meetings (and only then because Brady sat out three quarters), to keep postseason hopes alive.
2. Marlins: Team acquires leadoff hitter, starting pitcher in big week: First they sign Giancarlo Stanton long-term. Now they acquire MLB base-stealing champ Dee Gordon and quality starter Mat Latos. Not fair. This is seriously infringing upon my ability to complain about Jeffrey Loria.
3. Heat: Still looking for answers at Chicago visits today: Miami hosts Bulls in marquee Eastern matchup today that will be a chance for Heat to get back to .500, but it'll take better defense than we've seen. Phrase you'd hear in a courtroom or among Heat fans: "The defense rests."
4. Hurricanes: UM accepts invitation to Quack Bowl: Choices for 6-6 teams are limited, so Canes are headed to Duck Commander Independence Bowl vs. South Carolina in Shreveport, La. Those are TV's "Duck Dynasty" folks. Please tell me there won't be ducks calls blaring across the PA system.
5. College football: First four-team playoff set amid controversy: No argument Alabama, Oregon and Florida State would be the top three, but much debate when Ohio State snuck in fourth ahead of TCU and Baylor. What, you thought a playoff would end the arguing? It didn't. (Ain't it great!?)
6. Heisman Trophy: Oregon's Mariota takes top prize: Ducks QB Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy last evening. That's no surprise, although, since he plays on the West Coast with its late starts, Mariota is pretty much a rumor to a lot of fans on the East Coast.
7. Panthers: Cats semi-surge to NHL playoff pace: Florida today has won five of its past nine games and stands tied for No. 8 (the final spot) in the NHL Eastern playoff chase. Granted that's not exactly red-hot, but with this team we grade on a curve.
8. Johnny Football: Manziel makes first career start today: Cleveland is swooning but be careful what you wish for as we find out how much of Johnny Manziel, pro version, is all hype. New defintion of temporary insanity: You signed Manziel to start your fantasy playoff opener.
9. Canes hoops: For UM men, great start but real challenges are ahead: Jim Larranaga's guys are 9-1 and ranked No. 20. You know it's a promising basketball season when fans already are looking forward to a Jan. 13 date at No. 2 Duke.
10. Film: 'The U Part 2' can't live up to original: The first one in 2009 covered Canes football glory teams with all the swagger. The sequel premiering last night focuses on more recent, less interesting times. Pray there's no Part 3. Might lead with a 6-6 team preparing for the Duck Commander Bowl.
Poll result: Disagreement but prevailing doubt about Johnny Football's future: We asked and a plurality of 42.3 percent predicted Johnny Manziel in his NFL career would be OK -- neither a star nor a bust. But more than twice as many thought he'd have a short, failed career (36.3%) than prolonged stardom (17.0%). The other 4.4% were undecided.
Check back often. We constantly update and add to our latest blogposts...