The Jay Cutler experience is defined by creating an illusion of hope, and then shattering that hope into thousands of pieces.
Cutler started Sunday’s Miami–New Orleans game in London on a 12-play, 81-yard drive where he went six-of-seven passing and Miami picked up six first downs. As the Dolphins stood at the Saints’ 4-yard line on a first-and-goal, Cutler looked every bit the season savior he was billed to be when Miami signed him to replace Ryan Tannehill after Tannehill injured his knee in early August. But the mirage didn’t last long, as Cutler’s first-down pass was intercepted in the end zone.
The Dolphins offense resembled a soccer team more than a football team the rest of the day. Following the interception, they managed just over 100 yards the rest of the game. After recording six first downs on that opening drive, the team had just five the rest of the game and lost to New Orleans by a final of 20-0. They became the first NFL team shut out in London. Cutler finished the game 20-of-28 for 164 yards with the one interception and no touchdowns. Even in the first quarter, Cutler had a hard time pretending to give a shit.
Cutler really selling his role in the Wildcat at the bottom of the screen pic.twitter.com/WgHxXvxlHL— Mike Tunison (@xmasape) October 1, 2017
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The Dolphins signed Cutler to a one-year, $10 million deal in part because Cutler was familiar with head coach Adam Gase’s offensive system. Cutler had the best season of his career with Gase in Chicago in 2015, but it hasn’t worked out that way in Miami. Last week the Dolphins managed just six points against the lowly Jets, who appeared to be tanking before the meddling Dolphins got in the way. This week, Miami failed to put up a single point against New Orleans, whose defense is so bad it doesn’t keep you from reaching the end zone so much as it guides you there like a sweet, accommodating Walmart greeter.
And somehow, it seems like things will only get worse. Next week the Dolphins have their first real home game of the season against Tennessee before heading to Atlanta in Week 6. After that, the Dolphins play the Jets again, and that’s now not even a gimme. And the Dolphins won’t get a bye week to get themselves together because their Week 1 game was postponed due to Hurricane Irma and moved to their open week.
After the game, Gase said, “It’s not time to panic. We’ve been way worse than this,” which is like looking at a dumpster fire and saying, “Don’t call the fire department—I’ve seen way bigger fires than this.” He is right though, it’s not time to panic—panic time was two months ago, when Tannehill was ruled out for the season. Now is the time for acceptance.