WHAT. A. WIN.
The Miami Dolphins clawed back from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat the Baltimore Ravens 42-38 in Week 2, and are now 2-0 on the season. It’s the first time in 12 years a team has managed such a comeback, and it points to the culture that the Dolphins are building under Mike McDaniel.
The game was completely gone, dead and buried, and fully out of Miami’s reach. Yet somehow, someway, the Dolphins head back home with a win. I don’t think anyone really understands what exactly happened yesterday, but regardless, here’s three reasons why the Dolphins beat the Ravens.
Reason 1: Tua’s Resiliency
Mark my words, September 18th, 2022 will go down as the day Tua Tagovailoa announced himself to the world.
6 touchdowns (tied for most in Dolphins history), 469 yards (4th-most in Dolphins history), 36/50 (72%), and a passer rating of 124.08. A career day by all accounts, capped off by a 68-yard game winning-drive.
However, it’s easy to forget that he threw two pretty ugly interceptions in the first half, both of which came at key moments in the game. But, in typical Tua fashion, he bounced back.
Tua on his first drive after the interception:— Sumeet (@flameosumeet) September 18, 2022
- 97 yards
- 1 TD
- 158.33 passer rating#FinsUp
In the 2nd-half, down 21 points, Tua came out swinging. He threw for 349 yards, 5 touchdowns, and completed 80% of his passes in the final 2 quarters, sealing Miami’s comeback.
Sunday’s game highlighted the resiliency that Tua continues to show every week, and only strengthened his case in becoming Miami’s franchise quarterback. The fight, the moxie, and hunger from Tua was special to watch. Oh, and Tua is now the 2nd-youngest player since 1950 to throw for over 450 yards and 6 touchdowns in a single game, behind only Patrick Mahomes. Decent company, if I do say so myself.
Reason 2: Mike McDaniel
Time and time again, we’ve seen this franchise completely fall apart in the second half of games. Down 28-7, it wouldn’t have been a shock to see the same thing on Sunday. But there’s something different about this team, and there’s something different about Mike McDaniel.
McDaniel did a tremendous job of tweaking a few things here and there at halftime, and getting this offense to play at such a high level in the second half. He called shots down the field, didn’t remove the offense on 4th-down, and most of all, he kept his confidence in QB Tua Tagovailoa. One play, one drive, and one score at a time.
Most of the credit for yesterday’s victory has gone to Miami’s “Big Three” in Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill, and Jalen Waddle. However, McDaniel deserves his plaudits as well. He’s the one putting the pieces together, and directing the play from behind the curtains.
Reason 3: The Cheetah And The Penguin
Tyreek Hill: 11 receptions, 190 yards, and 2 touchdowns.
Jaylen Waddle: 11 receptions, 171 yards, and 2 touchdowns.
On their way to breaking a NFL record on Sunday, Hill and Waddle showed just how special they both are. Only a few receivers in the NFL are have the ability to singlehandedly flip a game on its head, and Miami is blessed with two of them.
In a single moment, both players are capable of tilting the entire field in their favor, and we saw that yesterday. Waddle contributed to 33 and 59-yard catches, while Hill added a pair of 48 and 60-yard touchdowns. It’s a joy to watch Hill and Waddle at their best, and long may it continue.
The Miami Dolphins host the Buffalo Bills in Week 3, in a matchup that very well may decide the fate of the AFC East, even this early into the season.
It’s a contest that’s been extremely one-sided over the past few years, as Miami hasn’t gotten one over Buffalo since 2018. The Bills have dominated the AFC East in recent memory, and a win would almost certainly turn heads around league. If the Dolphins want their respect, next week is the time to earn it.