Four weeks are left in this strangest of football seasons, and the Dolphins are fighting the temptation to talk about next season, at least publicly. Yes, their 35-9 spanking of the Broncos felt good, but it changed little. They still have just a 1 percent chance to make the postseason, according to FiveThirtyEight. So let’s assume that Miami does not own the winning lotto ticket and its season ends before the New Year. Dolphins players, coaches and staff will look back at the bad Buccaneers and Raiders losses and would understandably argue that is where their season came undone. But by then, they had already wasted a number of winning performances by Miami’s defense. The Jets and Saints games were lopsided on the scoreboard, but the Dolphins probably would have won both if their offense was even slightly competent at the time. Never miss a local story. Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access. SUBSCRIBE NOW Coach Adam Gase knows all of this. He knows that the offense was terrible to start 2016, and by his own admission, “garbage” to start 2017. In each of his first two seasons with Miami, there has been some sort of breakthrough that has spurred the offense to play much better in the season’s second half than first. And he is all too aware that if the Dolphins are ever to compete at the highest level, that problem must be fixed this offseason. “I’m so far away from 2018,” Gase said, when asked about the phenomenon Monday, “but I understand what you’re saying. You’re confirming something that I do know.” The stats are sobering. In Games 1-8 of Gase’s two seasons in Miami, the Dolphins have averaged just 18.1 points per game. But in the second half of those two seasons, that number jumps to 23.6. The problem in each of those seasons: By the time the offense figures it out, the defense has worn down. Sunday was the first time the Dolphins played complementary football all year. Another similarity between the seasons: A dramatic roster move catalyzed a comatose offense. Last season, the Dolphins responded after Gase cut three offensive linemen. And in the five games since shipping Jay Ajayi to Philadelphia, Miami’s offense has been