Sparano reportedly safe in wake of winless Dolphins' collapse

After his Miami Dolphins blew a 15-point, fourth-quarter lead in an 18-15 overtime loss to the Denver Broncos, it was only natural that coach Tony Sparano would hear questions about his job status.

Not that he was interested in answering any of them.

"You want to ask me a real question? ..." Sparano said. "If you don't want to ask me a real question, then go ask Steve."

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That would be Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who holds Sparano's fate in his hands. But according to The Miami Herald, which cited a team source, Ross will continue to show mercy on Sparano, whose job is safe for the near-term, barring a significant change in the owner's thinking.

What that thinking could be is unclear. One thing that is crystal clear, though, is the 0-6 Dolphins' struggles.

Miami was in good shape to earn its first victory of the season Sunday when it led 15-0 with 5:23 left in the fourth quarter as Denver (2-4) took over at its own 20-yard line. At that point, Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, making his first start of the season, was 4-of-14 passing for 40 yards. But the Dolphins' defense collapsed, allowing Tebow to lead touchdown drives of 80 and 56 yards, sandwiched around an onside kick recovery, and he scored a two-point conversion standing up with 17 seconds left to tie the score at 15.

In overtime, Denver linebacker D.J. Williams sacked Matt Moore to force a fumble and recovered the loose ball at the Miami 36. Three plays later, Matt Prater kicked the winning 52-yard field goal.

The Dolphins lost for the 12th time in their past 13 home games and extended the NFL's longest losing streak to nine, leaving Sparano's status even more tenuous.

"He's the head coach, and he's going to take a lot of heat," Miami wide receiver Brandon Marshall said. "But trust me, it's not him. Not just him. It's all of us."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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