DAVIE, Fla. Thursday night games now have a foothold in the NFL. How about Tuesday night football?
Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Tony McDaniel is all for it. At least this week.
Im definitely happy we got a Thursday night game, so we can get right back out there and get a bad taste out of our mouth rather than waiting for Sunday, McDaniel said about Miami trying to rebound from Sundays embarrassing 37-3 home loss to the Tennessee Titans. But Im ready to play (Tuesday). Lets go.
More than 24 hours after the loss to the Titans, McDaniel was still ticked off Monday at how badly the Dolphins played. So pardon McDaniel if hes snarling all the way up to Thursdays 8:20 p.m. kickoff at Buffalo
I went to bed mad (Sunday) night, McDaniel said. I woke up (Monday) morning mad, and Im still mad.
McDaniel and his Miami teammates should be. It was the worst home loss for the Dolphins since a 48-3 defeat to Kansas City on Sept. 28, 1968, when gas cost 34 cents a gallon and minimum wage was 1.60 an hour.
Now, the Dolphins (4-5) have given themselves little margin for error if they hope to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and just the second time since the start of the 2002 season. After showing up with stage fright for a very winnable game against Tennessee, theyre two games behind New England (6-3) in the AFC East and 1 games out of a wild-card spot.
Lose to the Bills (3-6), and it just might be sayonara to the season. The Dolphins would be 4-6 and still have two games left with the Patriots and one at San Francisco.
Yeah, tackle Jonathan Martin said about the importance of Thursdays game. Getting back out there against a divisional opponent. If you cant get up for this game, you have no business being in the business.
Plenty of Dolphins didnt look to have gotten up for Sundays game. They were thoroughly dominated en route to suffering the teams worst regular-season loss in 15 years.
The talk by some Miami players late last month about Ryan Tannehill being a better rookie quarterback than Indianapolis Andrew Luck now looks foolish. While there will be better days ahead for Tannehill, he took a step back in throwing three interceptions against the Titans.
Running back Reggie Bush has been taking steps back for several weeks. He hasnt been the same player since being knocked out of the game with a knee injury late in the first half in Week 3 against the New York Jets.
In the seasons first 2 games (same as the first three), Bush ran 50 times for 302 yards and a 6.0 average. But in the past six games, Bush has carried 76 times for just 253 yards, a meager 3.3 average.
I think people started playing us a little bit differently and we have to be able to counteract that, Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said when asked about Bushs drop-off. We should still be able to run the ball better than were running it right now. ... In order for us to be successful, particularly here in the second half of the season, I believe that were going to have to be able to re-establish (the running game).
After losing a fumble late in the first quarter against the Titans, Bush was benched for six straight series. After his return, he didnt get another carry, finishing the day with four for 21 yards.
Another starter made to go sit in the corner by Dolphins coach Joe Philbin was tackle Richie Incognito, who didnt play the rest of the first half after a foolish unsportsmanlike conduct penalty early in the second quarter. But Incognito has been on his best behavior since earning the wrath of Philbin, and hes convinced Sundays loss wont send the season into a downward spiral.
You always face adversity throughout the season, and this is our most adverse situation, Incognito said. Well see how the team responds. I have full confidence were not going into the tank. I think we have enough high-character guys and enough leadership on this team to prevent something like that from going down.
Miami has dropped its past two games after winning its previous two. McDaniel also doesnt the see his team going into a Fish tank.
I think its like a wake-up call, McDaniel said of the loss to Tennessee. We hadnt ever gotten beaten like that. Now that we got beat like that, everybodys ticked off and everybody is ready to go.
McDaniel sure is. So are Martin and defensive end Olivier Vernon, who, after learning of McDaniels comment, said they also wouldnt mind putting the pads on Tuesday night.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson