After Tua Tagovailoa’s ill-advised throw which led to a game-tying pick six touchdown for the New York Jets in the 4th quarter on Sunday, many of us in Dolfan land began to feel a bit queasy about Miami’s chances to get to 7-7 on the year. But what goes down must come up, right? Something like that.
Due to some hard running by Duke Johnson and Myles Gaskin, plus a timely 3rd and goal touchdown throw from Tagovailoa to DeVante Parker, Miami was able to sneak past the lowly Jets by a score of 31-24 in order to get to .500 on the season with just three games left to play.
As you can tell by the tone of this column so far, it wasn’t the most inspiring win on Sunday, yet Miami did come away the victors, so it wasn’t all bad.
With that being said, let’s take a look at what went right and what went wrong in today’s edition of Good, Bad, Ugly!
Duke Johnson’s 107 yard effort ignites Miami’s run game for the first time all season
Just a couple of weeks after Phillip Lindsay’s addition sparked Miami’s running game, it was Duke Johnson’s turn to show the Miami faithful what they’ve been missing all year long. Johnson, a Miami native, ran for a Dolphins 2021 season best 107 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, while adding a reception for 20 yards through the air.
All day long, Johnson looked decisive – hitting the holes created by this young offensive line. He showed quickness on outside runs, easily getting to the edge, while flashing some power with his stiff arm on multiple occasions once he got there.
While Gaskin had a good day on the ground as well, the difference between his patient – sometimes too patient – run style and Johnson’s penchant for the north/south ground game was very apparent. Hopefully when Lindsay comes back, his addition to the running back by committee of Johnson and Gaskin helps Miami to balance out their offensive gameplan moving forward, unlocking more layers of the RPO offense.
HONORABLE MENTION: Christian Wilkins’ touchdown celebration
After Christian Wilkins hauled in a Tua Tagovailoa pass for a touchdown against the Jets, the man went wild in the celebration department. First he did his own variation of the Lambeau Leap, nearly decapitating a poor woman in the process. He then found himself on his belly doing a very impressive worm surrounded by his teammates in the endzone before finishing with a breakdancing twirl and posing like he was about to be in the next edition of Playgirl Magazine.
Go on with your bad self, young man!
Miami’s defense displayed poor tackling all game long
The New York Jets are a bad football team, and outside of Michael Carter, their skill position players on Sunday left a lot to be desired for Jets fans. Rookie wide-receiver, Elijah Moore, missed this contest, as did top wideout Corey Davis. Yet, despite those missing pieces, the Jets still put up 24 points against Miami’s stout defense.
A lot of those long drives could be attributed to Miami’s poor tackling on the afternoon. Time and time again, a Jets player would snag a short pass from Zach Wilson and turn to see a Dolphins defender closing in for a tackle short of the first down marker, just for that defender to miss the tackle and let the ball carrier past the sticks, earning New York a new set of downs.
Maybe it was BYE week rust, but against players like Taysom Hill, Alvin Kamara, and Mark Ingram, ugly tackling efforts like that just won’t cut it next week. Miami will need to put an emphasis on bringing the ball carrier down with the first defender if they hope to add to their win streak against the Saints next Monday.
Tua Tagovailoa has poor game despite throwing game-winning 4th quarter touchdown
Despite showing great progress throughout the course of the 2021 season, Tua Tagovailoa is still a young quarterback and is still prone to mistakes on gameday. Well, yesterday, he made quite a few of them. On the day, Tua completed just 16 of 27 passes for 196 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. His QB rating was just 75.5. His trademark accuracy was nowhere to be found for most of the afternoon.
He did lead Miami on their game-winning drive late in the 4th quarter, but his pick six interception that tied the game at 24 just a few minutes before necessitated that.
It was an up and down performance for the second-year QB all day yesterday, and I do appreciate his ability to move past the poor plays and still lead his team to victory, but he will need to correct his boneheaded mistakes against better teams like the Saints, Titans and Patriots in order for Miami to have a shot at the postseason.
How are you feeling after Miami’s sixth consecutive victory? Are you thinking playoffs at this current moment, or just like Coach Flores, are you taking it day by day? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @MBrave13. Fins up!