Turning points, every season has it. It’s that pivotal moment where there’s a defining game that either propels a team to success or dooms their season.
Turing in the Right Direction
In 2008, it was the Week 3 Dolphins at Patriots game. After an 0-2 start, Miami unleashed the Wildcat and shocked New England with a 38 to 13 victory. The Dolphins went on to finish that season 11-5, and capturing an AFC East title.
In 2018, one would think the Week 14, “Miami Miracle,” once again against the Patriots was the turning point. In actuality, it was the game after. The Dolphins famously beat the Patriots on the final play in one of the most memorable games in Miami’s history.
That win had put the Dolphins (7-6) in control of their own destiny to make the playoffs. If they won their remaining three games, Miami was guaranteed a playoff spot. Looking back, even if they even went 2-1 in the remaining three games, they still would’ve made it to the postseason.
A Turn for the Worst
There were rumors that coach Adam Gase had lost the locker room before the New England game and we now know that to be true. This became evident when the Dolphins traveled to Minnesota to take on the Vikings to start their late-season playoff push. After the emotional “Miami Miracle,” the Dolphins failed to show up against the Vikings, losing 42-17. Miami went on to lose their remaining two games ending their playoff chances and the Adam Gase era.
Fast forward to this season, and the Dolphins are 1-3 and have played some really good teams. Miami lost to the Patriots, Bills and Seattle Seahawks, all teams that are playoff contenders. Miami has shown the growing pains of a young team lead by a journeyman quarterback, yet have been one play or one less mistake from winning each of these games.
2020 Season Turning Point
Miami’s next eight opponents have a combined record of 10-21. And now, top free-agent acquisition Byron Jones returns after having been out being injured on the first series of Week 2. He returns against the 49ers, which is dealing with their own injury woes and might be the league’s most injured team.
This game feels like the turning point of the season.
The 49ers are currently ranked top 10 on offense and defense. However, San Francisco’s two wins and most impressive performances came against the Jets (0-4) and Giants (0-4). The 49ers doesn’t look like the team that competed against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV and injuries could be the blame. Nevertheless, the Niners are a team that is still capable of being dominant.
This Week 5 Dolphins at 49ers matchup is the turning point. If Miami loses this game and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has another poor showing, the pressure to start Tua Tagovailoa rises. Also, the Dolphins would be grouped into the same category as the bad teams coming up on their schedule rather than being feared by them. This would ultimately mean that all eyes would be on next season by Halloween.
If the Dolphins win this game and win decisively, then that’s a whole different story. Miami would then have momentum going into a game against the one win Denver Broncos. And Denver’s only win also came against the NFL’s worst team (Jets). A win in Week 5 could set the Dolphins up to go on a run and have Miami fans watching meaningful games in November and December.