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Do you want the sugary candy or the protein about the current state of the Miami Dolphins?
Fine, candy first:
The Dolphins beat the New York Giants 20-9 on Sunday to claim their fifth consecutive victory. And the team is going into the bye with its playoff hopes, however slim, still intact because the Dolphins are only the fourth team in NFL history to start 1-7 and rally to 6-7.
That’s because the Dolphins have been getting great work from their defense.
But now that you’re sweet tooth is fully satisfied and it’s time to digest some truth let this be known: The Dolphins’ offense is still not playoff caliber at this stage.
Miami has recovered from a disappointing 1-7 start but if this team is really going to take another step after the bye this week, the offense has to return better than it has been.
Better than it was early in the year when it understandably struggled with backup QB Jacoby Brissett filling in for the injured Tua Tagovailoa.
Better than it has been during the win streak.
And, yes, better than they were in Sunday’s victory over the Giants.
That’s the only way the Dolphins are going to extend the good work they’re doing lately to victories over the New Orleans Saints, Tennessee Titans or New England Patriots the final three games of the season — the contests that will ultimately decide Miami’s postseason fate.
The Dolphins got a good game from Tua Tagovailoa this game. Actually, another good game because the quarterback is coming off a November in which he connected on an amazing 80.5 percent of his passes.
On Sunday Tagovailoa completed 30 of 41 passes for 244 yards, with 2 TDs and a quarterback rating of 104.1. It was the fourth consecutive game in which Tagovailoa’s efficiency rating was over 100.
But despite this good work the Miami offense remains a unit without a consistent or even legitimate running game. The team rushed for 68 yards against the Giants and averaged a completely unacceptable 2.7 yards per rush.
And the unit rarely authors chunk plays. The Dolphins managed only one play of 25 yards or more on Sunday — a completion from Tagovailoa to Waddle.
That’s obviously good enough to beat teams like the Jets, Texans, Giants and others that are not going to figure in the playoff chase. But it’s hard to rely on this kind of offense against legitimate playoff teams.
So there you are, a little desert but also some food for thought.
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero