MIAMI - Let the finger-pointing begin. The unified front presented by the winless Miami Dolphins is beginning to crack.
Through the first 3 months of the season, the players said effort wasn't the problem and blame for their failure was collective. The tone in the locker room changed after the latest defeat, yesterday's 40-13 meltdown against the woeful New York Jets.
Nose tackle Keith Traylor accused unspecified teammates of selfishness.
"It definitely feels that way from certain individuals," Traylor said. "It seems like we're doing this for some other reason than victories. There seems to be something else going on out there. It definitely doesn't seem like we're all after the same thing.
"If you have competitive spirit, you want a victory. You don't want to go down in history as the worst team ever."
Despite the Dolphins' woeful record, they were favored by 1 1/2 points. Miami extended a franchise-record losing streak to 15 games, and Cam Cameron remained winless as an NFL coach.
Five turnovers by rookie quarterback John Beck (23-for-39, 177 yards) doomed the Dolphins' latest bid for a win, and they were outscored, 30-0, over the final 33 minutes to fall to 0-12.
Defensive tackle Vonnie Holliday said the latest loss was different from the others.
"It's amazing. Until today, I felt like the will and the character of the team has been so strong in all situations," Holliday said. "Today it seems like we lost a little bit of that. It felt like the wheels fell off the wagon."
The loss was especially galling because the Jets are only 3-9, with two wins against Miami.
Cameron didn't question his team's effort, instead citing Beck's turnovers as the key culprit. Making his third NFL start, Beck threw three interceptions and lost two fumbles, and the Jets converted the takeaways into 16 points.
"They pressured us all day long, and we didn't handle it very well," Cameron said. "You turn the ball over five times, you really give yourself no chance."
Defense was a problem, too: The Jets mounted scoring drives of 84, 76, 57 and 56 yards. And for the third straight week, Miami's offense failed to score a touchdown.
"We talk about the same message every week after a loss, that we'll look at the tape and we'll fix it," receiver Marty Booker said. "It has been 12 weeks, and we ain't fixed it yet.
"We end up shooting ourselves in the foot. It happens every week, and it's getting old."
Four chances remain for the Dolphins to avoid the NFL's first 0-16 season. They play Sunday at Buffalo, which beat Miami last month, 13-10.
"We have to fight," Beck said. "As a boxer, you're going to get popped in the face, but that doesn't mean you're going to lose the fight because you get hit a few times. We've got fighters on this team, and that's what we have to be." *