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Lynne Sladky, Associated Press
Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano reacts after the Denver Broncos tied the NFL football game in the fourth quarter Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, in Miami. The Broncos won 18-15 in overtime.

DAVIE, Fla. — Tony Sparano jokingly says he's talking to himself a lot these days, and relieved when no one answers.

The embattled Miami Dolphins coach is trying to maintain a sense of humor, which was particularly challenging Monday in the wake of an epic collapse against Denver.

Miami became the first team since at least 1983 to blow a lead of at least 15 points with three minutes left. An 18-15 overtime loss left the Dolphins 0-6, and their nine-game losing streak has transformed Sparano into a virtual lame duck who seems certain to be fired at season's end, if not before.

Owner Stephen Ross courted Jim Harbaugh last January before sticking with Sparano, and there's speculation the owner will now pursue another big name, such as Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden.