The Miami Dolphins are 3-0.
Read that again.
YOUR MIAMI DOLPHINS ARE 3-0!
After an improbable 21-19 victory against arguably the best team in the NFL in the Buffalo Bills, Miami remains unbeaten on the year and atop the AFC standings with the conference’s only unblemished record.
What makes Miami’s record even more impressive is the fact that they’re not doing it against the bottom-feeders of the league. They defeated Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots in week one. They outscored and outlasted the Baltimore Ravens, a perennial playoff team, in week two. And they took down Super Bowl contenders, the Buffalo Bills, in week three.
So, is it too early to start talking about the Miami Dolphins as Super Bowl contenders? Sure, it’s only been three wins so far, but they’ve been three monumental victories. If the Dolphins continue to play like they have, we could be talking Super Bowl soon enough.
Dolphins play complementary football en route to the victory
In week one against the New England Patriots, it was Miami’s defense that dominated the contest, allowing the Dolphins to win the game 20-7.
In week two, the Dolphins’ offense turned on the gas - especially in the second half - and led a furious comeback while putting up 42 points in the come-from-behind victory against the Baltimore Ravens.
In week three against the Buffalo Bills, each side of the ball did their part and the Dolphins were able to tough out a win against their division rivals.
The offense wasn’t as electric as they were last week, yet they did what they needed to do when the team needed them most. Tua’s 45-yard completion on 3rd & 22 in the fourth quarter while trailing by 3 points set up the go-ahead touchdown that ultimately was the difference maker against Buffalo.
Conversely, Miami’s defense played a bend-but-don’t-break style of ball all day long, holding one of the most dominating offenses in the league to just 19 total points - and two of those were gifted by Thomas Morestead’s butt-punt late in the game. On the Bills’ final two drives, the Dolphins’ defense played stout, suffocating ball, keeping Josh Allen out of the endzone and points off of the board, sealing Miami’s win.
Miami’s tackling needs to improve if their defense is going to remain dominant
I’ll be the first to admit that it feels like nit-picking to chastise Miami’s defense for something like their tackling after holding the NFL’s best offense to just 19 points (really 17 points without the butt-punt) in a victory, however there were too many times where Buffalo’s ball carrier made Miami’s first defender in a position to make the tackle miss.
Josh Allen was juking defenders out of their cleats all game long. Devin Singletary flashed some fancy footwork a time or two, as did his backfield mate, Zack Moss.
If Miami hopes to continue their winning ways, they can’t let the fundamentals of their game slip. Missed tackles are frustrating to watch, so let’s all keep our fingers crossed that Miami’s defense can clean that up going forward.
Late hit from Matt Milano nearly knocks Tua Tagovailoa from the game
It was late in the 2nd quarter when Bills’ linebacker, Matt Milano, illegally shoved Tua Tagovailoa to the ground long after the quarterback had let his pass fly. The back of Tagovailoa’s head slammed into the grass and as he tried to get to his feet, QB1 was visibly wobbly.
It was initially thought that Tua had suffered a concussion, but the team later said that it was actually a back issue that was causing Tagovailoa’s balance to be unstable.
Regardless of what the injury ended up being, it was Milano’s unnecessary late hit that exacerbated the issue. It will be interesting to see if the linebacker will be subject to a fine once the league reviews the play that did indeed draw a flag, but I think we can all agree that dirty plays like that are unwarranted and should not happen.
Miami has started the year 3-0. How far do you think this Miami team can take their season? Can they win again on a short week on the road to improve their record to 4-0? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @MBrave13. Fins up!