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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Heavy boos rained down from the Miami Dolphins fans still around in a half-empty Hard Rock Stadium late in the fourth quarter Sunday. Coach Adam Gase waved the proverbial white flag — punting on fourth-and-20 with a double-digit deficit — as his offense couldn’t get anything going. The Dolphins never touched the ball again.

In what was could be the last home game for several key Dolphins, it was an ugly way to go out — a 17-7 loss to an underachieving Jacksonville Jaguars team that was playing out the string.

The boos rang throughout the game — an obvious sign of displeasure with an offense that was flat-out hard to watch in every drive except for the first one — and they were loud again when the Dolphins walked off the field with the loss.

The Dolphins (7-8) failed to reach 200 total yards for the third time in four games and the fifth time this season. Injuries have mounted this season, but Sunday’s performance was certainly an indictment on everyone involved — especially on the offensive side of the ball.

After the first drive of the game, the Dolphins were completely ineffective on Sunday against the Jaguars. Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports
“It’s terrible. The offense was awful,” coach Adam Gase said. “It was brutal to watch. To be a part of.”

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who will have many decisions to make regarding change in the coming weeks, couldn’t have been happy with anything he saw on Sunday. Ross walked through the Dolphins’ side locker room door with his head down and exited directly out the adjacent door after the game.

In what has been a roller-coaster season for the Dolphins, Sunday’s loss was revealing. Miami isn’t close to being a legitimate contender, and changes could be coming.

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For much of the game, it felt like a matchup between two of the worst teams in football. Neither team could muster much of anything on offense. The Jaguars (5-10) flip-flopped between Cody Kessler and Blake Bortles, neither of whom are likely in the team’s long-term plans. The Dolphins defense notched a season-high six sacks, yet it didn’t matter.

The biggest story of the day was in a game that still had playoff implications, the Dolphins offense came out and laid an egg. They would have been eliminated anyway because of wins by the Patriots and Colts, but that didn’t make Sunday’s lackluster showing any better.

“They dominated us up front. We got sacked. We couldn’t run the ball. There were no holes. We were getting pushed back,” Gase said. “We just didn’t do a good job. We were bad.”

Hope simmered for weeks in Miami that there was still a playoff chance, but the air left that sail as Ryan Tannehill’s fourth-quarter pick-six essentially ended the game. Tannehill didn’t play well, either. Gase, long a Tannehill supporter, admitted that Sunday.

“Today was a rough day for him. I wish he would have played a little better. I wish he would have made a few more decisions that were different,” Gase said. “I think there’s been games that he’s played really well — and there’s been some games where we haven’t played well. And it’s as much on me as it is on him.”

Tannehill added: “We have to be cleaner, every position, starting with me.”

There will be many questions to answer, many decisions to make, and the next week certainly won’t be pleasant at Dolphins headquarters.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Cooper Kupp once again showed his uncanny resolve on Sunday, in a win that clinched his franchise’s first division title since 2003.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Los Angeles Rams rookie slot receiver dropped an easy third-down catch that would’ve extended a drive and instead paved the way for the Tennessee Titans’ go-ahead field goal. It was a major momentum swing, a letdown in a game with very little margin for error.

But Kupp bounced back.
Cooper Kupp’s game-winning touchdown reception on Sunday was just the latest bounce-back play for the rookie receiver. Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
When the Rams drove up the field again, he ran a fade route, dove in the corner of the end zone and got his knee down before going out of bounds to haul in a third-down catch that resulted in the game-winning touchdown of a 27-23 victory.

“I’m not shocked by it — just his demeanor, the way he is,” quarterback Jared Goff said of Kupp’s ability to bounce back.

“Football is a game where you’ve got to be able to respond to adversity whenever you face it, and he’s continued to demonstrate the ability to do that throughout the course of the season,” coach Sean McVay added. “You really see the maturity for a rookie. That’s pretty rare.”

Kupp, 24, leads NFL rookies with 869 receiving yards. But he has also had to respond to adversity. He failed to come up with the game-winning touchdown — granted, on a diving attempt — in the final seconds of a Week 5 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, but he compiled 15 catches for 187 yards in an ensuing four-game winning streak. He fumbled near the end zone in a Week 11 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, but he compiled 116 receiving yards in a win against the New Orleans Saints the following week.

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He made a key drop against the Titans, then scored a key touchdown.
“That’s kind of how the season has gone,” Kupp said. “I’ve had moments when I’ve had to bounce back. It’s unfortunate, but you just don’t have time to kind of sit there and stew on things. You have to flush them out, move on. I thought that game was almost a reflection of what this year has kind of been for me. Just plays I feel like I should make. Simple things.”

Kupp had five drops this season, three shy of the NFL lead, according to ESPN Stats & Information. His drop rate of 5.3 percent is appreciably higher than the NFL average of 3.5 percent. But the third-round pick out of Eastern Washington also has been highly productive, making 62 catches, scoring five touchdowns and hauling in 66 percent of his targets, third among rookie receivers. Kupp’s 23 third-down receptions are tied for the 11th most in the NFL, even though he’s on a team with Todd Gurley and a plethora of other receiving options.

Kupp has exceeded any reasonable expectations, but there are elements of his rookie season that he is clearly dissatisfied with. “My expectations for myself are higher,” Kupp said. “I want to be making those plays. That’s never going to change, regardless of what kind of season I’m having. I’m a competitor, and there’s always some plays I’m going to look back on and want to have back.”