Dolphins doomed by mistakes in 41-24 loss to Browns
CLEVELAND - Ryan Fitzpatrick got to the postgame interview room doorway and realized he was locked out.
It was that kind of day for the Miami Dolphins, and some kind of 37th birthday for Fitzpatrick.
Their offense unable to move the ball early, the Dolphins helped dig a four-touchdown hole with mistakes, made a brief rally and lost 41-24 on Sunday to the Cleveland Browns, who ended a week of distractions with a lopsided win.
“In the second quarter I think it was 21-0 or 28-0, so there’s a lot to be upset about,” said Dolphins first-year coach Brian Flores. “Offense, defense, special teams - pick one.”
The Dolphins (2-9) had been playing much better of late, having won two of their previous three. But they were missing several injured starters from their secondary and reverted to some poor habits against the Browns. They were also victimized by Cleveland wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who torched his former team for 10 catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
After one catch in the fourth quarter, Landry jawed at Miami’s players on their sideline.
By then, the Dolphins had done enough damage to themselves.
They were called for four pass interference penalties and came up short on a questionable fake punt in the first half.
“We were trying to get a spark,” Flores said. “I felt like we needed one, so we went with it. We didn’t get it. It felt like we needed a spark. I don’t think anyone could argue that. It didn’t work out though.”
Not much did. Miami has given up 78 points in the last two weeks. It hasn’t helped that the club’s roster has grown thinner on both sides of the ball.
The Dolphins were missing their top two rushers after Mark Walton was cut last week following his arrest on charges he punched his pregnant girlfriend. Running back Kenyon Drake had previously been traded to Arizona.
They placed two starting safeties on injured reserve during the week and cornerback Ken Webster didn’t make the trip because of an ankle injury.
Flores refused to blame injuries on his team’s shoddy performance.
“We have the guys we have,” he said. “We coach the guys we have. Those guys work hard. We go through the week and we try to put them in positions to play well. We need to do a better job. We’re not going to sit here and talk about who we could have or who’s not here. We have the guys we have and we’re going to play with them. We’ve got to do a better job.”
Fitzpatrick did all he could.
The veteran QB threw two touchdown passes, including the 200th of his career, and scored on an 8-yard run in the third quarter that pulled the Dolphins within 28-17.
Fitzpatrick was Miami’s leading rusher with 45 yards on five carries, not bad for an “old” guy.
"I got a lot of comments and jabs about being 37 today, but I just asked most of them, ‘Where do you think you're going to be when you're 37," Fitzpatrick said. "I don't know if many of them will be in an NFL locker room. I feel great. I still love playing. It’s cool for me to experience this with all these young guys."
Despite the loss, Fitzpatrick said he’ll savor his milestone touchdown. He’s the 44th player in history to reach the plateau.
“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “I remember when I was in Tennessee and I threw my 100th touchdown pass to Chris Johnson. I remember just how crazy that was for me to think about, the accomplishment, everything that I had been through and the teams I had been on. We lost the game today and all of that, but it’s still a cool moment for me.
“It’s a cool moment for me to share with my parents, kids and wife. It’s a neat thing. When I’m done playing, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it even more.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.