There's a very difficult balance to strike when it comes to tanking in the National Football League. How do you make it appear like your team is still competitive and try to win games while simultaneously being awful and trying to lose as many games as possible? The Miami Dolphins did not appear to be holding up their end of the bargain in the competitive department over the first five weeks of the season, leading many to believe they weren't even attempting to hide the fact that they're basically trying to go 0-16. Over their first four games, the Dolphins were outscored 163-26. That is not a typo.
But On Sunday, following a bye week in which they literally should have just said "bye everyone, we're done for the year" and packed it in, the Dolphins could not hide. With the Washington Redskins and their 0-5 record coming to South Beach, Miami could not simply lay down and get its shit kicked in once again against an organization that stirs its Gatorade with a sleeve of plastic cups. They did not have to win, but they had to at least be competitive.
And compete they did! Trailing 17-3 heading into the fourth quarter, Miami came storming back, scoring a touchdown on a nine-play, 55-yard drive to begin the game's final frame to make it 17-10. After trading punts the next five straight drives, the Dolphins struck again, this time going 75 yards in nine plays and scoring with six seconds remaining in the game to make it 17-16. Instead of going to OT, head coach Brian Flores said screw it, let's beat 'em now and go for two. It's not like the Dolphins have anything to lose, right?
HOLD UP. Of course they had something to lose! The only thing Miami has going for it right now is getting the No. 1 pick, which it will almost certainly use on Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Have you seen the kid slinging it around this year? It's been incredible to watch. To go for two and try to win would put their chances of getting Tagovailoa in jeopardy, as the Redskins would then be in the driver's seat for the No. 1 pick. They may have a QB already in Dwayne Haskins, but who is to say they don't get rid of him and take Tua instead, or trade the pick to another team that wants Tua? Simply put, winning this game was NOT in Miami's best interest.
Fortunately, the Dolphins are so bad that winning was never really realistic:
Good job, good effort guys! Even if Kenyan Drake caught that he would have been eaten up by about four Redskins defenders. What a horrifically designed play. When the New England Patriots run that exact same play, it scores effortlessly. When the Dolphins try it, it look's like your local peewee squad whose coach saw the Patriots run it over the weekend and thought he could get a bunch of 11-year-olds to execute it in a similar fashion.
With that garbage attempt the Phins all but locked up Tua, as their path to 0-16 is very clear. The only real winnable game left was the New York Jets, but that no longer seems to be the case with Sam Darnold back under center. The only another winless team is the Cincinnati Bengals, who have been competitive and will pick off one or two games at some point. The Bengals and the Dolphins will meet for what could be Tank Bowl part 2 in late December, but for now, Miami fans can celebrate part 1, which Twitter very much enjoyed.