Miami Dolphins limp out of Baltimore into an unwanted AFC East title game.
The Dolphins might win a home game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night, but a season that looked so promising a few weeks ago could finish disappointingly.
After beating the Washington Commanders on Dec. 3, the Dolphins led the division by three games over the Bills at 9-3. Dolphins were near to No. 1 AFC seed rather than losing division. The Bills were closer to missing the playoffs than winning a division.
The Dolphins collapsed in the dying minutes of a Monday night game the following week. They fell to the Tennessee Titans after leading 14 points with five minutes left.
They were humiliated 56-19 by the Ravens in Week 17. So they must win Week 18 to earn one home playoff game. Sunday night's Bills-Dolphins game will determine the AFC East title and No. 2 seed.
This wasn't intended. In a low-scoring season, the Dolphins' offense appeared invincible in the first two months of the NFL season. Miami appeared Super Bowl-bound. Tua Tagovailoa was an MVP contender and Tyreek Hill would win NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
The Dolphins' narrative exposes NFL fragility. Injury piled up. In Sunday's defeat, the Dolphins lost Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb for the season. Running back Raheem Mostert and receiver Jaylen Waddle were out Sunday, but Miami hopes they return for Week 18.
Cornerback Xavien Howard was taken off with a foot injury. Hill plays with a sprained ankle. The offensive line hurts.