Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase originally planned to spend the weekend with his family. Those rare Saturdays and Sundays where there are no games, no team meetings, no practices are hard to come by during the season.
The Dolphins’ 42-23 loss to the Houston Texans on Thursday night put a wrinkle in that plan.
“When we let up the amount of points that we let up and played as bad as we did on defense and we have a lot of things to clean up on offense, I’ll probably spend most of my time working through all this stuff,” Gase said.
There’s a lot to work through after Thursday’s loss that has a Miami team that was once upon a time 3-0 now sitting at 4-4 midway through the season.
The numbers from the loss are bad.
The Dolphins defense gave up 427 yards and a season-high six touchdowns. Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson threw more touchdown passes (five) than incompletions (four). Three of Watson’s passes went for longer than 30 yards, including touchdowns of 73 and 49 yards. Five Texans rushes went for double-digit yardage.
The defense failed to record a sack and had just two tackles for loss.
For the second consecutive outing, the Dolphins did not force a turnover.
“Anybody with the naked eye could see things weren’t quite right,” Gase said.
But they’re also consistent with the struggles that have now festered over the past few weeks that had been masked by timely turnovers or third-down stops earlier in the season. Missed tackles. Blown coverages. Inability to get penetration at the line of scrimmage.
“There is no magic pill,” defensive lineman Cameron Wake said. “There is no secret. It’s defense. … Every man, for 60 minutes, four quarters, 80 plays, whatever it takes, has to be there.”
With 10 days between the loss and Miami’s next game — a home contest against the New York Jets on Nov. 3 — Gase and the coaching staff has time to analyze what exactly has gone wrong, who is at fault and identify what changes need to be made to get out of this two-game losing streak.
Despite that, Gase doesn’t want to pass blame to any individual person but also said he would not put all the blame on defensive coordinator Matt Burke.
“First, I always look at players because to me at the end of the day, they have the final say on a lot of stuff,” Gase said. “And I’m not going to blame anyone for anything. It’s not like we’ve been ripping it up on offense over the last three years. I just think the entire group — players coaches on that side of the ball — needs to do a great job of working together and making sure that everybody’s on the same page, everybody’s trying to do the same thing on the call.
“I mean, you can say all you want about scheme, but all that [expletive] don’t matter. Play what we’re all supposed to play.”
Another issue Gase now has on, other than figuring out how to fix this defense: Stop the losing streak from manifesting. The Dolphins were in a similar spot last year, sitting at 4-3 after seven games before dropping five straight by a combined 177-82.
Gase is hoping the extra time off between now and practice on Wednesday will be the first step.
“Go back to work. Basically, we’ve got a chance to kind of regroup, refresh, get our minds right,” Gase said. “… And then when we get to Sunday, we’ve got to turn it loose and we have to execute what we’re asking them to do. It’s going to take the coaching staff and the players to basically just put their head down and grind through next week and get to Sunday and have to come out with some kind of edge on Sunday to say ‘What’s happened the last three of the last four weeks is not going to happen anymore.’”