First off, WOW!!! What a game. That’s why sports are the ultimate in terms of entertainment. You can’t get that type of emotional roller coaster at a concert, museum or all the things I’m blanking on. Just non-stop action, melded with twists and turns that made me want to destroy my TV while also making me want me to sabre some bubbly. Awesome stuff indeed.
The Dolphins entered the game against the Arizona Cardinals as a rightful underdog. But like I said, there wasn’t much love from any of the talking heads out there saying that the Dolphins could actually beat a team with only one more win than them.
Here’s how the NFL Network predicted the Dolphins-Cardinals game to play out.
I get that the Dolphins shouldn’t have been favored but jeez, nobody at the NFL Network thought they could win?
But the Dolphins winning this game has solidified them as the team that everyone will be talking about this coming week. All you folks out there that want, desperately, for the Dolphins to be talked about in a positive light on all the sports’ shows—you will get your wish this week. Enjoy it. As for the game, here’s everything I saw. I apologize in advance if I forget anything.
The Dolphins start the game on offense and on 3rd down, run an outside run play to
Zach Crockett Jordan Howard. Not sure about you, but if I have to run the ball with Howard, I’m not going outside with him.
The running game for the Dolphins is not good. I realize that not having Gaskin or Breida didn’t help, but man they can’t run the ball. I’m, officially, ready to call the
Zach Crockett Jordan Howard experience a swing and a miss for the administration. Howard had 19 yards on 10 carries and of course he had the one TD. I don’t know if his visor completely blacks out all light in the known universe but he has zero vision out there.
Fortunately, the guy I said would be the best of the running backs, Salvon Ahmed did alright.
Salvon Ahmed poppin' off in the desert for Miami pic.twitter.com/uWGJ7Mks4X— Lars Hanson (@LarsHanson) November 9, 2020
Salvon Ahmed ran with quickness, showed a little bit of vision and also pass-blocked. Will we ever really see him play meaningful minutes? Hard to say. Because he played alrightish, Flores might just put him back to the practice squad because he feels like it.
The Dolphins offensive line had a so-so game. They didn’t open a ton of holes for the running game, which has been their MO this year. This, as you would expect, lead to an up and down game protecting Tua.
Tua had to improvise a few times, sometimes spectacularly, to get out of trouble. Austin Jackson made his return and had a rough outing. I don’t care if the PFF numbers come out tomorrow and say he actually had a fine day. He was getting pushed around, had a penalty and just didn’t play like he did before the injury. It’s a work in progress for the young offensive line and progress I hope they do. They need to figure out their best five guys and stick with it. Kindley was the one that the Dolphins sat when Jackson went into the lineup. Maybe he’ll get the message.
One thing I saw was that stunting by the Cardinal’s d-line gave Miami’s o-line issues. Hopefully, they adjust to that for next week because the Chargers have a very good defensive line.
I can get used to this...
The Dolphins should look to score a defensive TD every week. The reasons are that they help the team win, they take some pressure off the offense and it’s just flat out fun.
I wishfully thought that the Dolphins would be bottling up Kyler Murray all game after this play. But I was wrong. I was way wrong. Murray ran for a career high 106 yards. Miami’s dreadful play against running quarterbacks continued, unfortunately. There were so many times the Dolphins were right there and were going to get a sack only for Murray to squeeze out and gas the defense. Whether it was Wilkins, KVN, AVG, Brandon Jones or whoever, they all missed. And it was extremely hard to watch especially because we all knew it was going to happen.
Jerome Baker got hurt and went to the sideline. I don’t know why but anytime a Dolphin’s player leaves the field with an injury I automatically think they’re done for the game. Same thing with Bobby McCain. It was great seeing both of those guys return to the game.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Preston Williams. The guy was in a grove.
Which led to this...
Which led to this...
Preston Williams injured on the celebration? pic.twitter.com/lLfzxRmv1k— Mike Cugno (@MikeCugnoCBS4) November 8, 2020
At the moment, we’re not sure if Williams was hurt on the celebration when Christian Wilkins came in and jumped on him. Either way, someone needs to tell Wilkins to cut the garbage. It’s not cute anymore. The initial diagnosis is that it’s just a sprain. I hope that’s all it is because Tua has a solid rapport with him.
James Lofton is fascinated that the Cardinals have two corners with the last name of Peterson. He’s marveled by it like when Neil DeGrasse Tyson discovers a new planet.
The Dolphin’s wide receivers are looking like the fighting 4077 Mash unit. Williams is now hurt, Lynn Bowden is on the COVID-19 list, and they traded Isiah Ford. It’s too bad the trade deadline is already past because they need some help. Due to Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant making it back to the league, I wouldn’t be shocked if Miami checks to see what’s up with Josh Gordon. Who knows, maybe they’ll give TO a call. I’m joking of course(I’m not joking).
Not sure where Mike Gesicki has been. He had three catches for 42 yards. It wasn’t the worst ever. It was just sort of there. I want more Mike Gesicki drawn up plays because he’s good and the Dolphins are running out of bodies.
I mentioned that the Dolphin’s defense couldn’t handle Murray running the ball. Well, they couldn’t handle him passing the ball either. Murray was 21/26 for 283 yards and three TDs. Basically, Murray could do whatever he wanted when he wanted to.
The Dolphins did what they do and that was bring pressure making them play 0 coverage. 0 coverage just means they are playing man-to-man. So if you want to flex your football brain tomorrow, say that and you’ll sound good.
Man to man defense is great when it’s working but lousy when you get burned. Byron Jones was a guy that got got a few times today especially that bomb to Christian Kirk. He also had that INT go right through his hands only to be called a TD. It was a TD. The guy’s knee was down but Jones should be able to catch that. It wasn’t nice being reminded that Jones hasn’t had a pick since 2017. That’s weird guys.
I equate Miami’s defensive approach to the Houston Rockets. They live and die by three pointers while the Dolphins live and die by blitzing coupled with man to man. When it works all day against the Rams, it’s awesome. When you don’t get home(another savvy football term) you have a propensity to getting beat deep.
Even when the Dolphins threw in zone, the secondary got torched. I think this is just something you can sort of pencil in when Miami or nearly any team play a realy good quarterback.
A guy that had a frustrating night was Xavien Howard. I don’t feel like showing any of his pass interference calls on DeAndre Hopkins because most of them were hot garbage. They were plays where both guys were going for the ball or the ball was uncatchable. Whenever Arizona needed a play all they had to do was throw to Hopkins because a flag was going to get thrown.
The worst was the 4th and 1 where Murray got forced back and just threw it up to Hopkins and Howard back peddled to get to the ball and they called a flag. Nonsense, pure nonsense. Howard played well while, strictly, guarding Hopkins all day. That guy is playing at possibly peak Howard level. That bodes well for the defense going forward.
One more thing about pass interferences; can we just admit that the idea that a ball could be uncatchable is a thing of the past? I don’t think I’ve seen it called since the early 2000s.
The Dolphin’s run defense, besides Kyler killing them, did okay against Chase Edmonds although it always seemed like he was getting 4 yards every carry. He only averaged 2.8 yards a carry but it just felt like he was grinding yards every time he touched the ball. The run defense has been an issue all year for Miami and I imagine when they’re in a close game it will be an issue going forward. They’re simply not built for stout run defense. They’re a bend don’t break team in that department.
Emmanuel Ogbah is playing like a man possessed. It’s nice for a change that the Dolphins hit on a guy who was essentially a cast away from another team.
Emmanuel Ogbah has 7 sacks in 8 Miami Dolphins games— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) November 9, 2020
Alright, time to talk about Tua. Before I get to the highlights let me just say that he played a very good game. Were there mistakes? Sure there were. Like not being able to throw the ball away, twice. But man alive that kid played his ass off and it was so much fun to watch. When the Cardinals went up 7 in the 4th quarter, and the defense looked whooped, I didn’t think the Dolphins had it in them to tie it up. I thought that because they never have it in them in that spot.
What stood out the most to me about Tua’s play was his pin point accuracy. There was one throw I think to Parker on a 3rd down on the 93 yard drive where he put it on the proper shoulder. If he puts it 4 inches the other way, the ball gets knocked down and Miami punts thus, probably, leading to a loss. We knew he was accurate but God damn it was better than I thought.
Fitzpatrick has had moments where he looked great, but I don’t think he leads Miami on that 93 yard drive to score when all the momentum was against them. Tua did and it was spectacular.
The one area where the Tua affect was in full display was in the redzone. Remember in the Seattle game where the Dolphins were 0-5 in the redzone. Yesterday, the Dolphins were 3/3. That’s a huge difference between Tua and Fitzpatrick.
Tua Tagovailoa. Worth the price of admission pic.twitter.com/IQpoCSk4IY— Touchdown Alabama (@TDAlabamaMag) November 9, 2020
And there’s more but you get the point. Tua played at a special level for a guy playing in only his second ever game. The Cardinals brought pressure pretty often from the secondary and it didn’t phase him. It was like he wanted them to blitz because he was getting the ball out of his hands fast and to the correct receiver. And if he had to run, he ran. To all the losers out there who think he’s made of glass, well I guess you’re still a loser but now you’re a loser who’s wrong. That’s no way to go through life.
Have the Dolphins, finally, after 20+ years found their quarterback? Perhaps and I hope so. Lets play more football before rubber stamping that. I will say that Miami, probably, found their quarterback. Damn, imagine if Tua had more help at the skills position. That be something.
James Lofton and Andrew Catalon couldn’t be pulling for the Cardinals more if they were wearing David Boston jerseys. They said all of Howards’s PIs were good calls and the one where DeVante Parker got face masked and interfered with was something that shouldn’t of been called. Then, and this was the cherry on top, Christiam Wilkins got called for a face mask. They showed the replay and he, clearly, didn’t put his hand on a face mask instead he grabbed Kyler’s shoulder and Lofton said Wilkins grabbed the facemask. Excuse me, but are taking crazy pills and calling games. I get he used to play for Buffalo but dammit he was terrible.
The end of the game was a heart attack in a blender(I have no idea if that makes any sense. I think it might). With the Cardinals taking the lead to the amount of 4th downs they went for to all the defensive pass interferences called on Howard. It had everything.
This play won’t get discussed a bunch but it may have led to a dumb decision by Kliff Kingsbury.
Murray gets smacked by Byron Jones and then on 4th and inches, they straight up handoff to Chase Edmonds for nothing. I have no idea how Kingsbury takes the ball out of Murray’s hands but that’s exactly what he did.
Miami gets the ball back and Tua does a little wizardry setting up the, real, hero of the game. I’m talking about Mr. Perfect.
I would have went for it on 4th and inches. I realize
Zach Crockett Jordan Howard is far from a sure thing but I really didn’t want to rely on a kick to take the lead. Missing it was a reality I didn’t want to do deal with. But Mr. Perfect, who banged in a clutch 56 yarder to end the first half, drilled that kick breaking Olindo Mare’s consecutive FGs made record of 19.
Cardinals get the ball and this happens...
First play of the #AZCardinals most important drive of the game goes for 35 yards to Christian Kirk.— Mason Kern (@MasonKernMedia) November 9, 2020
Kirk is up to 123 yards and touchdown on five catches. Has been targeted a team-high seven times. pic.twitter.com/drF9VM20Zc
Honestly, I thought it was over after that. The high I was on after the Sanders FG was gone and I slunk back in my couch. Somehow the Dolphins force another 4th down so out comes their kicker. It’s a 49 yarder so it’s, probably going in.
Which led to me and me and Dolphin’s fans everywhere...
How in the world in a climate controlled building is an NFL kicker in 2020 short on a 49 yard kick? If you’re Zane Gonzalez, I don’t know how you come back from this.
Miami gets the ball back and gets the longest run of the season from
Zach Crockett Jordan Howard, 8 yards, and then there’s only one more thing to do. Seal it.
This was easily the greatest game between two quarterbacks wearing #1.
And just like that, the Miami Dolphins are 5-3. I wrote after the Seahawk game that it was possible for the Dolphins to go on a run and reclaim this season. That’s exactly what they did.
Miami is currently in the 7th seed, which is a playoff seed this year and are 1.5 games back of the Bills. Buffalo played, surprisingly, very well today against Seattle but there’s a bunch of time left to overthrow them. Safe to say that the Dolphins are firmly “in the hunt” and they’re looking for big game(you like that?).
Miami plays the Chargers, Broncos, Bengals and Jets in their next four games. They’ll be favored in all of those games. It’s not impossible that the Dolphins could be 9-3 when they play the Chiefs on December 13. I know anything could happen between now and then, but you have no choice but to love where this team could be heading.
Flores is doing some of the best coaching in the league, even though he had some time management along with timeout issues. He’s got this young team believing and that’s an amazing thing.
Like I said, be ready to hear about the Dolphins and Tua all week on all the shows. That’ll be fun for a minute but it will get old when the few dumbasses out there drown out all the rational thoughts by saying stuff they don’t believe just to go the other way. Deal with that and you’ll be fine.
Have a wonderful start to your week. I know I will.
Follow me @2ndSatSports