Here comes your nightmare, Dolphins fans. Here comes your bleakest fear.
Here comes a Washington team with more losses, a fired coach, a hold-out star, an angry fan base and, perhaps, no matter what they say, a rookie quarterback in reserve to offer something the Dolphins really haven't had this year:
A chance to win.
Oh, god, not that, huh?
Just when it was getting comfy at the bottom, here comes the Dolphins' doppleganger to Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, a Washington franchise as inept in the NFC over the past 15 years as the Dolphins have been in the AFC.
Look at the stigma of stink overlapping these once-upon-a-time proud franchises: Ownership blunders, revolving coaches, draft follies, dumb signings and an endless mosaic of embarrassing losses right down to last Sunday, when the New England Patriots fans set up by the tens of thousands in Washington's home stadium.
"It was amazing," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
It was every Patriots game in Hard Rock Stadium over the last decade.
All this should scare you, tankers. There remain some purists out there thinking the Dolphins should get a win, any win, to salvage pride and history. But the reality is they've gone so far in dismantling this roster and too far down this road to ruin to turn back now and win a game that short-circuits their draft standing.
To this point, they've been even far worse than the blueprint of planned awfulness. That should make you wonder if they actually know what they're doing. But look where the Dolphins rank in the heavyweight statistics this season:
Points scored: Last.
Points allowed: Last.
Yards gained: Second-to-last.
Yards allowed: Last.
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Turnover margin: Last.
Point differential: Last.
They are, by any measure and every angle, terrible on a historical level. That's just the way most fans want it in the chase for the Holy Draft Grail, The Hope Diamond - the No. 1 draft pick, the franchise quarterback who can change the next 15 years assuming he's the right one (a subject for another day).
I have been trying to come up with a word that captures the Dolphins fans love/hate relationship with this masochistic season. Something like Schadenfreude, the German word for deriving happiness from another's misfortune. Dolphinfreude? SchadenDolphin?
Yet there's no time for that since Washington comes threatening this inside lane to the top pick. It ranks down near the Dolphins in all of those aforementioned stats. It is 0-5. It fired coach Jay Gruden on Monday. It has an elite left tackle, Trent Williams, still holding out.
It also has a team president-for-life, Bruce Allen, who is so lost he said upon firing Gruden, "The culture is actually damn good."
It's not all bad news, Dolphins fans. Washington has a distinctly better roster. It is a 3.5-point favorite in Las Vegas. And its old-school interim coach, Bill Callahan, wants to run the ball more.
This could fit right into the Dolphins' losing ways. The Dolphins, you see, rank last in the league in rushing defense.
"I envision us as a running team, I'd like to get our running game going," Callahan told Washington reporters. "If we can play two-down football that would be huge. To do that, the consistency of the running game has to take place.
"We have a good stable of running backs and that will be the focus. There's been flashes of positive runs in the game. If we commit a bit more, there is a chance to get it rolling."
You can't blame Callahan for wishing this was the 1970s or 1980s in the NFL. That's what every Redskins and Dolphins fan wishes, too. These franchises actually met in the Super Bowls in those decades, each team winning once.
Now they meet to decide which team stinks most. The ace in the hole for the Dolphins is Washington wants to win. The Dolphins front office and tanking fans have made it clear they don't want to win - until draft day.
Dolphins coaches and players, however, could go rogue and win this one. They have a chance. It's a nightmare scenario to keep tankers awake at night.
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