Miami finishes the 2021 season with a 9-8 record, marking the first time since 2002 and 2003 that the Dolphins have had back-to-back winning seasons in the NFL.
Reason 1: Scored Points Consistently
As we’ve seen with Miami this year, starting off on the right foot hasn’t been a problem for Miami’s offensive. The majority of Miami’s best offensive plays have come in the 1st-quarter this year, and Sunday wasn’t any different.
However, unlike previous weeks, Miami was able to consistently score points on Sunday, as they held the lead for almost 55 minutes. In fact, Week 18 marked only the 2nd time all season (Week 12 against the Panthers) where the Dolphins scored a point in all 4 quarters of a game. Yeah, I know. Wild.
Once Miami grabbed the lead early in the 1st-quarter, they never looked back. As a result, New England ended up playing catch-up for the majority of the game, but never actually caught up.
Reason 2: Duke Johnson
The man can flat-out run the football, end of story. Johnson racked up 117 yards on 25 carries on Sunday, and also added a TD for good measure. It’s obvious that the Dolphins were crying out for a tough runner in their backfield, and Duke Johnson has proven to be that player this season.
Wait, what’s that? Our offensive line? They also deserve credit for Miami’s stellar performance on the ground on Sunday?
Trust me, I’d love to give the offensive line credit for helping out Duke Johnson, but I can’t give credit where it isn’t due. The way I saw it, Miami’s OL didn’t perform that much better than what we’ve seen in previous weeks. Bar 1-2 plays, the gaps weren’t large, and Johnson had to run north-and-south for a majority of his carries. Duke Johnson was turning water into wine on Sunday, and he deserves credit for carrying (literally) Miami to a victory on Sunday.
In my eyes, and I’m sure in many others, he’s thoroughly earned himself a spot on the 53-man roster for next year.
Reason 3: Won The Turnover Battle
Miami’s offense didn’t commit a single turnover on Sunday, while their defense forced 2 from the Patriots. Xavien Howard’s early pick-6 set the tone for the game, and Jaelen Phillips’ fumble recovery late in the 3rd-quarter was a real momentum-shifter.
If you don’t turn over the ball, you’ll win games. I know, it’s boring. But it’s boring because it’s true, and it really is the most surefire way to ensure success in the NFL. Your opponent can’t score points if they don’t have the ball, it’s really not rocket science.
Unfortunately, even with Miami’s win, they’ll be watching the NFL playoffs from home next week. No preview for next week, and no playoff football in Miami. Again.