Week 10 of the NFL season is complete for AFC East teams. And what we have to report today is that the Dolphins middle-of-the-pack status is so engrained right now, it's tough to escape.
The Dolphins are three games behind the division leaders with six games to play. The Dolphins are three games ahead of the division cellar-dweller with three games to play.
We're mediocre so far!
The troubling thing about that is I see few signs the Dolphins can rise from their current status. In fact, there are just as many signs the Bills might catch the Dolphins as their are signs the Dolphins might catch the Patriots and Jets.
Seriously, it was depressing on Sunday watching New York quarterback Mark Sanchez engineer a fourth-quarter rally -- his third late-game rally of the season -- and not believe he's getting progressively better. Sanchez has shown the improvement in his second year as a starter (15 TDs, 7 INTs) that Miami hopeful Chad Henne was not able to show before he was benched. Henne currently has 9 TDs and 11 INTs.
It was also a little eye-opening to see a young, rebuilding New England defense that scares no one continue to improve week-to-week to the point they gave up a bunch of yards (396) and four touchdowns to Peyton Manning, but also snatched three interceptions, including the one that sealed Sunday's victory.
The Pats are rebuiling. And they are 8-2.
So how do the Dolphins make up three games on these teams in the season's final six weeks? It's like asking a baseball team to erase a 10-game deficit in the season's final month. It is a difficult assignment, don't you agree?
It will also be difficult for the Dolphins to get caught from behind by the Bills. The Bills, you see, are a seriously flawed team.
But they are playing better than the Dolphins right now.
The Bills have won two consecutive games.
The Bills are showing signs of a running game. Fred Jackson gained 116 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry against Cincinnati.
Miami starting RB Ronnie Brown hasn't gained 116 yards in the last three games combined and hasn't gained over 100 yards in a game since October 4, 2009. Ricky Williams hasn't had 116 yards in the last four games combined and also hasn't had a 100-yard game this season.
The last time the Dolphins did not have any 100-yard rusher in an entire season was 2004, the year Williams skipped out just prior to the season.
Most troubling, perhaps, when you weigh whether the Bills can catch Miami is that they are getting better QB play than Miami. Let me repeat. The team that benched and then cut its opening day starting QB is now getting decent play from backup Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick has thrown 18 TDs to 9 INTs in 8 starts this season. The folks in Buffalo insist Fitzpatrick is not a keeper, that he's not a starting-caliber player. Maybe not.
But if the Dolphins had a QB that threw twice as many TDs as interceptions and was averaging more than two TD passes per game, we'd have a name for that.