Tony Sparano will likely have a tough time retaining his job, but he's not going down without a fight. Miami's on a three-game winning streak behind an offense that's come alive as the unit has jelled down the stretch.
Here are three contributing factors to the offensive resurgence:
Figuring out how to utilize Bush's talents
Reggie Bush is undoubtedly the most talented offensive player on the roster, but it has taken time for offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to understand the best way to take advantage of his skills.
With his speed and quickness, Bush is ideally suited to run on the perimeter. He blows past defenders on off-tackle runs, but also has the vision and cutback ability to identify creases on the backside. His elusiveness in traffic is remarkable and he's routinely shown he can make the first defender miss.
Daboll has incorporated more outside runs from various formations to get Bush on the edge. While most of those runs have come from traditional one-back and two-back sets with him at the "dot" back position, the Dolphins have also motioned him into the backfield from a slot receiver alignment to get him the ball on end-arounds. Giving Bush a running start with two lead blockers around the corner stretches the defense horizontally, which creates huge cutback lanes and, thus, big plays.
Bush's receiving skills make him a matchup nightmare. His combination of speed and quickness makes him a difficult cover for linebackers and safeties in space, and even polished cornerbacks have problems maintaining tight coverage on him down the field. This often forces opponents to use some form of bracket or double coverage on Bush, opening up the field for his teammates.
Daboll has exploited the added attention on Bush by varying his alignments to dictate matchups. This makes it easy for Matt Moore to identify the open receiver.
Moore to offer
While that statement might surprise some, his numbers over the last three weeks are hard to ignore. Moore completed 71 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and only one interception. That production helped the Dolphins to touchdowns on 11 of the team's past 16 red-zone possessions.
He has been a model of efficiency with his sound decisions and ball distribution. He's thrown passes to five or more different receivers in each of their three wins. More importantly, he has avoided the negative plays like sacks and turnovers.
In looking at how Moore has been so effective, it's apparent the game plan has featured more play-action and movement passes in recent weeks. The utilization of run fakes out of run-heavy formations draws linebackers to the line of scrimmage, which creates huge windows in the intermediate areas of coverage between the hashes.
The Dolphins have also taken more vertical shots. Some of these downfield throws have come off conventional play fakes while others have been the result of throwback routes complemented by bootleg action.
The Dolphins aren't an offensive juggernaut, but Moore's play has certainly helped the unit produce enough big plays and points to finally win games consistently.
Dolphins have learned how to finish
Miami's disappointing start led many to believe the team was awful, but closer examination reveals an offense that didn't know how to close out games.
Of their seven losses, three were by three points or fewer. Being able to finish is a byproduct of stringing together first downs in the fourth quarter and getting in the end zone when given the opportunity. This requires flawless execution on third down and in the red zone as well as avoiding negative plays late. Penalties, turnovers and sacks are often deciding factors in close games, and critical miscues cost the Dolphins in losses to the Browns, Broncos and Giants.
However, during the turnaround, the Dolphins have minimized their mistakes. Miami has only one fourth-quarter penalty, not allowed a fourth-quarter sack or turned the ball over in the last three games. As a result, they been able to salt away leads.
While the credit should certainly go to the coaching staff for emphasizing attention to detail in critical moments, the players' flawless execution has enabled the Dolphins to reverse their fortunes.