The Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals have completed a back-and-forth Week 9 contest, with both Tua Tagovailoa and Kyler Murray shining during the game. The game became dominated by bad penalty calls in the second half, but it eventually settled back into the teams getting after it. The Dolphins came away with their fourth straight win and move to 5-3 on the season.
Dolphins 34 - Cardinals 31
First Half Recap
The Dolphins received the opening kick, immediately putting Tua Tagovailoa and the offense on the field. Tagovailoa threw a short pass to Mike Gesicki to start the drive, but after Jordan Howard, starting in place of inured running backs Myles Gaskin and Matt Breida, gained two yards, then lost two yards, Miami punted the ball away on their 21st three-and-out of the season.
The Cardinals started their first possession with quarterback Kyler Murray rushing for a nine-yard gain on a scramble, then a 14-yard designed run. After Chase Edmonds ran for three yards, then caught a pass for four yards, Miami’s defense once again took control. Emmanuel Ogbah came off the edge and stripped Murray for the sack, with Shaq Lawson then scooping up the loose ball and returning it 36 yards for the score. Dolphins 7-0.
The second possession for Arizona was more effective, starting with a 20-yard defensive pass interference penalty called on Xavien Howard who shoved DeAndre Hopkins out of bounds. After an incomplete pass from Murray, Edmonds added four yards on the ground, then Murray threw for eight yards to Christian Kirk. Murray looked to Kirk on the next two plays as well, gaining eight yards and 10 yards. Edmonds than picked up a yard, before Murray connected with Larry Fitzgerald for 17 yards. Following an incomplete pass and a run from Murray for 10 yards, the quarterback found Maxx Williams for a four-yard score. Tied 7-7.
Tagovailoa started the drive with a pass to Preston Williams for five yards. After back-to-back neutral zone infractions by the Cardinals, Howard picked up four yards on a run. After another Howard run for two yards, Tagovailoa just missed Williams on a long pass down the sideline. Tua then was flushed from the pocket and attempted to throw the ball out of bounds, only to have it caught by Jalen Thompson for an interception that was overturned in replay; the Dolphins escaped after what appeared to be a horrible rookie mistake. After a penalty on Jesse Davis for holding and what appeared to be a sack for a six-yard loss, Miami picked up a first down when a facemask penalty was called on the sack. Tagovailoa then found Williams for 11 yards, then the quarterback ran for five yards. Tagovailoa threw for 17 yards on a pass to Gesicki before Davis was called for a false start. Tagovailoa then ran threw his progressions to find Durham Smythe up the seam of the defense for a 19-yard gain, setting up 1st-and-Goal from the two-yard line. After an incomplete pass from Tagovailoa, Howard punched it in for the score. Dolphins 14-7.
Murray did not waste time on the next drive, starting with a 16-yard pass to Fitzgerald. After a false start penalty on Hopkins, Edmonds ran for five yards. The first play of the second quarter saw Murray scramble for three yards before Murray looked deep for a 56-yard touchdown strike to Kirk. Tied 14-14.
n the opening play of the next drive, Tagovailoa looked deep to Williams for 35 yards. The Dolphins went right back to the same play, this time with DeVante Parker as the target, with a pass interference penalty called, but offset by an illegal hands to the face. Rookie running back Salvon Ahmed made his NFL debut on the next play, picking up seven yards, then picking up 10 yards off a lateral from Malcolm Perry. Ahmed then carried again, this time for 19 yards. Howard picked up three yards on 1st-and-10 from the 12. After a incomplete pass, Tagovailoa targets Williams, who caught the ball and leapt into the endzone for the nine-yard score. Dolphins 21-14.
Murray and Edmonds traded work in the Cardinals’ drive, beginning with Edmonds running for three yards. Murray then threw to Fitzpatrick for 10 yards, before Edmonds picked up four yards, then three yards. Murray ran for 16 yards on a 3rd-and-3, setting up a 1st-and-10 at Miami’s 19-yard line. Edmonds picked up six yards on the first-down play, only to then have Eric Rowe blow up a run on the next play for a six-yard loss. After an incomplete pass, the Cardinals settled for a field goal. Dolphins 21-17.
Miami started with a pass from Tagovailoa to Jakeem Grant for four yards. Tagovailoa then threw a 16-yard pass to Parker before being called for intentional grounding on a screen pass that did not develop and Tagovailoa threw the ball straight into the foot of Robert Hunt. On the next play, Tagovailoa seemed to freeze instead of throwing the ball away and took a sack. Now facing 3rd-and-31, Miami ran a play with deep routes, but Tagovailoa was forced to run, picking up eight yards. The Dolphins punted.
Arizona’s drive started with a false start, setting up a 1st-and-15. After a four-yard run and a four-yard pass, Murray found Andy Isabella for six yards. Thinking the team had converted the first-down, Arizona called time out, saving Miami time as the Cardinals punted following the three-and-out.
Miami started the drive with 46 seconds on the clock. Tagovailoa threw to Grant for 16 yards to start the possession, then was sacked for a six-yard loss. Facing a blitz, Tagovailoa threw a short pass to the flat for Patrick Laird, who tip-toed down the sideline for a 17-yard gain and a first down. Laird then picked up one yard on a handoff that nearly was botched. Tagovailoa spiked the ball with three seconds remaining, leading to a 56-yard field goal from Jason Sanders. Dolphins 24-17.
First Half Reactions
The defense picks up where they left off in Week 8! Ogbah is a beast. I do not understand how the Miami pass rush has suddenly shown up.
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2020 NFL MVP! pic.twitter.com/jLSauc6kLX— The Phinsider (@thephinsider) November 8, 2020
What kind of throw away was that? Tagovailoa has to learn from that mistake. That was just ugly, and it looked like he was targeting the defender. He has to throw the ball clearly out of bounds, making sure no one can make a play on it.
Are these commentators watching the game? Seriously. They have said Tagovailoa threw a pass to Parker when it was Williams, and they apparently could not see the blatant facemask that was used to pull down Tagovailoa.
Ouch. Murray for 56 yards to Kirk. The Dolphins’ aggressive pass rush, man-to-man coverage with no safety help bit them there.
Eric Rowe is a beast on defense.
Tua is making some bad rookie decisions. He tried to throw the ball away on what was probably a screen play, but he threw it straight into Robert Hunt’s foot, leading to a grounding call. On the next play, he held the ball too long and waited for the pressure to get to him. He will learn, but he needs to do it quickly.
Jason Sanders stays perfect on the year with a career-long 56-yard kick. He also has tied Olindo Mare’s franchise record 19-straight field goals.
Second Half Recap
The Cardinals received the kick to start the second half, then nearly lost it as the return was fumbled. After recovering the loose ball, Edmonds picked up a yard before DeAndre Hopkins caught his first pass of the game, gaining 17 yards. Edmonds then ran for five yards. Murray was given all day to find a target on the next play, eventually having to check down to D.J. Foster for seven yards. Kirk caught the next pass for a 14-yard gain. Murray looked deep for Hopkins on the next play, with the referees talking themselves into calling Xavien Howard for interference, despite Howard not having his hands on Hopkins and Hopkins running into Howard. After a four-yard run from Edmonds, Murray looked deep to Darrell Daniels for a 21-yard score as the receiver ripped the ball out of Byron Jones’ hands. Tied 24-24.
Miami looked to respond, though it started with a two-yard loss from Ahmed. Tagovailoa then looked deep for Parker, who had his facemask grabbed to draw the pass interference flag. Tagovailoa then did connect with Parker for nine yards. Ahmed then ran for three yards, then another four yards, before Tagovailoa could not connect with Malcolm Perry. On 3rd-and-6, Tagovailoa was sacked for an 11-yard loss, leading to a Miami punt.
The Cardinals again took to the air, with the help of defensive pass interference “penalties” on the nex possession. Murray started the drive with an 11-yard pass to Fitzgerald, then Edmonds picked up four yards. Murray connected with Hopkins for six yards before throwing an incomplete pass. Edmonds then picked up five yards followed by a pass to Edmonds for four yards. On 4th-and-1, Murray looked deep to Hopkins, with Howard in position to make the interception, only to have Hopkins leap into the cornerback and the defensive pass interference penalty to be called, offsetting an ineligible player down field penalty on Arizona and giving the Cardinals another shot at the 4th-and-1. Murray converted the second attempt with a 28-yard run. Edmonds then was stuffed by Lawson for a three-yard loss. Murray again looked to Hopkins, with Howard breaking up the pass, only to have another pass interference penalty be called, giving Arizona a first down instead of a 3rd-and-13. Edmonds picked up three yards on a run, then 10-yards on a reception before Murray ran it in for 12 yards. Cardinals 31-24.
The Dolphins started their drive at their own seven after an illegal block about the waist penalty on the return. Howard lost two yards on the first play, then Ahmed picked up three yards. On 3rd-and-19, Tagovailoa found Parker for 14 yards and a first down. Howard then ran for one yard as the third quarter ended. Tagovailoa then found Parker again for five yards before scrambling for six yards. The phantom penalties then started hitting the Cardinals as well, with Tagovailoa finding Gesicki for no gain, only to have a 15-yard penalty called on Budda Baker for lowering his helmet to initiate contact. On the next play, Parker caught a pass for 17 yards, with Patrick Peterson called for pass interference when he was not even touching Parker; the penalty was declined. Tagovailoa threw to Grant for six yards on the next play, then somehow danced his way out of a sack to run for 17 yards. Tagovailoa then looked to the endzone, finding Mack Hollins for the 11-yard score. Tied 31-31.
Edmonds started the drive with a four-yard run. Murray appeared to have Edmonds for nine yards, but a facemask on Christian Wilkins and a holding penalty on the Cardinals offset and negated the play. Foster then picked up two yards before a Murray run lost a yard. Murray then spun away from a sack and picked up eight yards, leading to a 4th-and-1 attempt. Murray then ran for four yards before Edmonds picked up four yards, followed by a two yard gain. On 3rd-and-4, Murray again avoided the pressure and scrambled for three yards, setting up another 4th-and-1 attempt. Murray handed the ball to Edmonds, who was stuffed by Zach Sieler and Elandon Roberts for no gain and Miami took over on downs.
Miami started with the ball at their own 40-yard line. He threw for a 19-yard gain on a pass to Gesicki on first down. Then he threw two incomplete passes in a row, the first time in the game he had two consecutive incomplete passes. Tagovailoa then threw for nine yards to Grant, leaving a 4th-and-1 decision. After initially leaving the offense on the field, the Dolphins ran Sanders and the field goal unit onto the field, but had to call a timeout due as the play clock ran down. After the stoppage, Sanders came back for a 50-yard field goal, connecting on the kick. Dolphins 34-31.
The Dolphins blow the coverage on the first down play and Murray finds a wide open Kirk for 35 yards, moving the team to well within field goal range. Now at the Miami 40-yard line, Edmonds ran for six yards, then three yards, setting up a 3rd-and-1 play as the Cardinals bled the clock to the 2-minute warning. After the break, Murray threw a low pass for an incompletion and setting up a 4th-and-1. The Cardinals settled for the field goal attempt, but the kick came up short and Miami took over after the miss.
With 1:53 to play and a three-point lead, the Dolphins turned to Jordan Howard to kill the clock. He picked up eight yards on the first play, then added another on second down. On 3rd-and-1,
Second Half Reactions
That pass interference call on Howard was just crap. He literally had his hands out to the side, while Hopkins was shoving through his chest. Just a stupid call and it cost Miami the lead.
The referees are straight up screwing the Dolphins right now. Every pass that targets Hopkins is leading to a defensive pass interference penalty on Xavien Howard. Even when Howard is in position to make the interception and Hopkins leaps into him, it is somehow Howard’s fault. Two straight Arizona touchdowns are off stupid DPI calls.
The referees continue to be the story of the second half, but at least now it seems like they are just making bad call, not favoring against which team they are blowing calls.
Congratulations Jason Sanders! With the 50-yard kick in the fourth, he sets a new franchise record with his 20th straight field goal.