DAVIE (CBSMiami) - When you lose three straight games in the National Football League, it can feel like the sky is falling.
But to Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase, this isn't time to raise the panic flag.
"We've got a lot of time left; a lot of ball left," said Gase. "I don't know if you guys pay attention to the rest of the league, but it's not like anybody's running away with anything. It's a total disaster everywhere. Unless you're one of about two teams where everyone is happy, everywhere else, it's misery."
His assessment is especially true in the AFC, where his 4-5 Dolphins are just a game off pace for the second wild card spot. Division rival Buffalo holds that final playoff position, and Miami still has two head to head meetings with the Bills to come.
Outside of the Patriots and Steelers, who both sit at 7-2, there's a log jam through the rest of the AFC.
So, the Dolphins are still in the hunt, but lately, they've given fans little reason to believe they can stay there. In their 45-21 loss in Carolina, Miami allowed the Panthers to gash them for 294 rushing yards and 548 total yards. Miami's defense, once the strength of the team, has struggled during their three game losing streak.
"We're flipping the script a little bit," noted Gase, speaking on how the offense has improved while the defense continues to sink. "It seems very similar to what we did last year, where our defense got worn down towards the end."
'Complimentary football' is the term used to describe a team in balance, where the defense helps the offense and vice versa. The Dolphins haven't had that balance yet, even in their four victories.
Gase was asked a simple question that probably doesn't have a simple answer: How do you turn this around?
"We've just kind of lost our way just for a minute here," said Gase. "We just have to really re-group and get things back on track. It's gonna be about guys just really focusing on doing everything they can to prepare right, practice right, and when we hit Sundays - execute right."
Gase says he feels good about the talent on the field. It's a matter of cleaning things up and "battling back" in games when things don't go as planned.
After Miami's 40-0 loss in Baltimore on Week 8, Gase criticized players for not studying and preparing hard enough. It's believed to be one of the reasons Jay Ajayi was traded to the Eagles just days later.
Gase says he's seeing improvement from his players in learning and retaining information.
"Especially on offense, we're seeing a big difference. I see guys that not only are doing a better job of knowing what to do, but they're doing a better job of executing it."
The Dolphins will look to get back to .500 this Sunday when they host the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kickoff for Dolphins-Bucs is set for 1:00 PM on Sunday, November 19th from Hard Rock Stadium.
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