The Miami Dolphins were demolished by the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, with nothing seeming to go right - other than a Minkah Fitzpatrick pick-six - for Miami. The loss cripples Miami’s chances at the playoffs this year.
Dolphins 17 - Vikings 41
What went wrong for the Dolphins on Sunday?
Whatever you thought when you read that sentence, that is the correct answer, no matter what it was. Injuries. Poor offensive line play. Poor defensive start. Play calling. Decision making. Penalties. You name it, and it went wrong.
Nine sacks were allowed. Most of those came before Ryan Tannehill could even reach the end of his drop, but there were some where Tannehill tried to escape and simply ran into the rush. There was just nothing that worked once the Vikings got a decent lead in the second half.
This is a hell of a way to come back to Earth after the high of the Miami Miracle. The Vikings simply stepped up, punched Miami in the mouth, then, as the Dolphins responded and pulled to within four points, uppercut them and knocked them out. And, with that knockout, may have killed any hopes for the Dolphins to make the playoffs.
The Dolphins tallied 193 yards on offense, while the Vikings had 418 yards. Miami recorded 156 of those yards on the ground, with 75 of those coming on one Kalen Ballage carry. Ryan Tannehill threw for just 108 yards, then that team passing yardage number tumbled to just 37 yards when the nine sacks for 71 yards were added into the cumulative total.
That was embarrassing all around.
The Dolphins won the toss and elected to defer to the second half.
Vikings first possession. The Dolphins defense did not show up for the first season, with Minnesota going 81 yards in six plays for a touchdown. The run defense gave up six yards to Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray on either side of a 27-yard pass from Kirk Cousins to Cook. After a five yard penalty for ineligible player downfield, Cook picked up another 26 yards, followed by Murray for three. Then Cousins found Stefon Diggs for a 13-yard touchdown.
Dolphins first possession. Miami’s first offensive possession picked up a first down on a 14-yard pass from Ryan Tannehill to Mike Gesicki, getting the rookie tight end who has yet to be a factor this season involved in the game early. Frank Gore then picked up three yards before losing two. On 3rd-and-9, Tannehill looked to fit the pass in to Danny Amendola, but it fell incomplete and Miami punted.
Vikings second possession. Miami’s defense continued to not show up, with the Vikings again taking six plays, this time for 56 yards, to score a touchdown. The Vikings again took to the ground to attack Miami’s defense, with Cook picking up five yards, then three from Cousins, then 11 from Cook. Cousins then found Aldrick Robinson four yards, followed by Cousins to Tyler Conklin for 20 yards when Minkah Fitzpatrick got caught with two players in his zone. Cook then ran it in from 13 yards out for a score.
Dolphins second possession. The Dolphins did nothing again. An incomplete pass from Tannehill toward Kenny Stills was then backed up by a one-yard gain from Gore. Tannehill looked deep to Brice Butler, who caught the pass for an apparent first down, but the receiver had stepped out of bounds and the penalty forced Miami into a three-and-out.
Vikings second possession. The Dolphins successfully made the Vikings run more plays on this drive, holding on for a seventh play, before the touchdown. Cousins found Diggs for 17, then Murray ran for no gain before a six yard gain. Cousins then found Diggs for six, then Adam Thielen for 14 yards, before Murray picked up four more. Minkah Fitzpatrick was then called for holding, giving the Vikings a free five yards and a first down. Murray then broke free for an 18-yard touchdown run.
Dolphins third possession. Gore picked up two yards to start the drive, then picked up another 10 yards, but was injured on the play, appearing to have his left ankle rolled up during the tackle. Brandon Bolden then picked up 12 yards before the end of the quarter,
End first quarter. Vikings 21-0.
Dolphins third possession (continued). Kalen Ballage then picked up three yards before Tannehill was sacked for a six yard loss, leading to 3rd-and-13. Tannehill dropped back, but was immediately under pressure and had to dump it to Kenyan Drake, who picked up 10 yards, but Miami had to punt again.
Vikings fourth possession. The Dolphins defense continued to be gashed by the Vikings, with the drive started with a five-yard pass Cousins to Thielen. Cousins then had to throw away the pass as Cameron Wake came in clean and nearly had the sack. An illegal contact penalty on Cornell Armstrong then continued the drive after what appeared to be a Miami stop, then Cook ran for six yards, followed by three yards, then Murray picked up four yards. Cousins found Diggs for 12 yards on 3rd-and-1, then a 15-yard run from Cook was negated by a Vikings holding penalty. On 1st-and-20, Cousins missed Diggs. Cook then picked up 10 yards, setting up 3rd-and-10. After a false start on the Vikings turned it into 3rd-and-15, with Fitzpatrick jumping the screen pass and taking it 50 yards for the touchdown.
Minkah Fitzpatrick does his best ❌ impersonation!— Kevin Nogle (@thephinsider) December 16, 2018
Vikings fifth possession. Cook ran for no gain, then Cousins found Kyle Rudolph for five yards before an incomplete pass led to a three-and-out - and the first Vikings possession to not end in a touchdown (for one team or the other).
Dolphins fourth possession. Ballage started the next drive for Miami, picking up five yards, then four yards, then a Wildcat run for three yards and a first down, then a 13-yard run. Tannehill then threw a swing pass to Ballage, but it lost two yards. Ballage carried again on 2nd-and-12, picking up two. On 3rd-and-10, the clock hit the two-minute warning just as the team tried to snap the ball. Tannehill then found Butler for 12 yards, followed by a Drake run for six yards on a Wildcat play where he probably ran for about 20. Then Tannehill found Drake for five yards after a timeout. He found Drake again for 13 yards, using their second timeout. Tannehill looked for Nick O’Leary across the middle, with the tight end hit as he tried to make the catch and the ball hitting the ground just before it could be intercepted. Tannehill then appeared to find Danny Amendola at the one-yard line, but replay determined the ball hit the ground before the receiver could gain control. Tannehill had to throw the ball as he was under pressure, with Parker playing defensive back to keep it from being intercepted. Miami kicked the field goal.
Vikings sixth possession. With 14 seconds on the clock, Minnesota ran Cook for two yards to kill the clock.
End 2nd quarter. Vikings 21-10.
The Dolphins start the second half with the ball.
Dolphins fifth possession. Well that works. 75-yard touchdown run from Ballage to start the half.
Dolphins need to score to start the half.— Kevin Nogle (@thephinsider) December 16, 2018
Kalen Ballage takes the hand off.
✅ Dolphins need to score to start the half.
Vikings seventh possession. Miami’s defense showed up on the next possession, with Cook running for no gain, then Cousins incomplete on second down, then finding Rudolph for six yards. Three-and-out punt.
Dolphins sixth possession. Tannehill found Gesicki for nine yards to start the drive, then Ballage out of the Wildcat picked up four yards. Tannehill was sacked for a nine-yard loss on first down, then was sacked again on second down for eight more yards. Amendola took the screen pass eight yards, with the Dolphins then punting.
Vikings eighth possession. Matt Haack’s 63-yard punt was returned 71-yards, setting up the Vikings at the Dolphins’ 21-yard line. Cook picked up no yards, then he picked up three-yards. Fitzpatrick then broke up the third-down pass intended for Diggs, and the Vikings kicked a field goal.
Dolphins seventh possession. Ballage was stopped in the backfield on first down, losing three yards. Tannehill shorted the next pass. Tannehill scrambled up in the pocket and threw behind Amendola on third down, nearly converting the pass as it hit Amendola’s hand but his momentum was carrying him away from the ball. Miami punted on the three-and-out.
Vikings ninth possession. Cousins found Cook for 4 yards, then Charles Harris was called offsides for Miami, giving the Vikings free yards. Cousins was then sacked by Robert Quinn, the first time the defense got to Cousins in the game. Cook then picked up 10 yards, setting up 3rd-and-9. After a long pass to Diggs was called back for illegal use of hands to the face, the Vikings would punt after an incomplete pass.
Dolphins eighth possession. Short possession for the Dolphins, who picked up two yards with a Ballage run, then an incomplete pass set up 3rd-and-8, where an all-out blitz sacked Tannehill. Three-and-out punt.
Vikings tenth possession. Murray ran for no yards, then Diggs picked up nine yards on an end-around. Cousins then found Conklin for 33 yards, followed by a Murray run for five yards. Cousins then found Rudolphin to the Dolphins 12, with a Reshad Jones holding penalty declined. Miami defensive tackle Ziggy Hood was injured on the play, with the clock hitting the end of the third quarter.
End third quarter. Vikings 24-17.
Vikings tenth possession (continued). Murray picked up four yards on first down from the Miami 10. Then he added two more yards. Davon Godchaux came up with the sack on third down, leading to a Vikings field goal.
Dolphins ninth possession. After two incomplete passes with the offensive line letting pressure get to Tannehill immediately, Tannehill was sacked on third down before he even got to the end of his drop. The offensive line has regressed badly in this game. Miami punted.
Vikings eleventh possession. After the punt went out of bounds at the Vikings 41-yard line, Cook took the first carry for 14 yards, then no gain. A Cook one-yard run set up 3rd-and-9, with Cousins finding Robinson for 40-yards and the touchdown.
Dolphins tenth possession. Ballage started with a one-yard run, then Tannehill was sacked for a three-yard loss. On 3rd-and-12, Tannehill was able to avoid the rush for once and scramble for a one-yard gain. On 4th-and-11, Miami lined up to go for it, with the Vikings calling timeout. After the stoppage, Miami again lined up to go for it, and Tannehill was sacked. Turnover on downs.
Vikings twelfth possession. The drive started with a false start on the Vikings, then Cook took the handoff and ran for the 21-yard touchdown.
Dolphins eleventh possession. Miami actually found a positive play on first down, picking up 18 yards. Then an incomplete pass was followed by a 17-yard pass from Tannehill to Stills. Another incomplete pass was followed by the eighth sack of the day on Tannehill. Then Tannehill found Stills on 3rd-and-16, but a holding penalty on Stills set up 3rd-and-23. Then a false start on Stills backed up Miami again to 3rd-and-28. Ballage picked up 14 yards on the play, leading to a 4th-and-13 attempt. After a timeout, Tannehill was sacked for the ninth time on the day, and Miami again turned over the ball on downs.
Vikings thirteenth possession. A three yard run from Murray started the drive, then he picked up five on second down. On third-down, Murray ran for exactly two yards, picking up the first down and leading to the two-minute warning. Murray picked up another seven yards before two kneels from Cousins ended the game.
Final. Vikings 41-17.