Was it ever in doubt?
Reason 1: The Penguin and The Cheetah
Tyreek Hill: 8 receptions, 112 yards, and one touchdown.
Jaylen Waddle: 7 receptions, 121 yards, and one touchdown.
Only a few receivers in the NFL are have the ability to singlehandedly flip a game on its head, and the Dolphins boast two of them. On their way to helping Miami secure a victory, the pair combined for 15 catches for 233 yards and two touchdowns against the Patriots, marking the 5th time that both players have managed to eclipse 100 yards in the same game.
Even against a defensive mastermind like Bill Belichick, there’s just no answer for Hill and Waddle. Dropping extra players into coverage leaves too much space underneath, and doubling one leaves the other open. I wish I could tell you that there’s an obvious way to stop them, but if I knew that, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here writing about it, now would I?
Reason 2: Offense Wins Games, Defense Wins...Games?
We’ve all heard the saying, but as explosive as their offense is, Miami’s defense is helping them win games too.
Granted, New England’s offense has been abysmal this season, coming into the game ranked 21st in total offense (2,278 yards) and 29th in scoring (118 points). Nevertheless, this is the same offense that put up 29 points against a strong Buffalo defense last week. Miami’s defense had to show up on Sunday, and show up they did, holding the Patriots to just 17 points.
Defense coordinator Vic Fangio called a great game, as his men allowed just 218 yards of total offense, forced an interception at a key point in the game, and sacked Patriots quarterback Mac Jones three times. The return of All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey was also fun to watch, and look for him to be a key player on defense moving forward. Even after just one game, it’s clear that this defense is night-and-day with and without Ramsey.
Reason 3: MVP, MVP, MVP...
30/45, 324 yards, 3 touchdowns, and a passer rating of 100.1. And yet, I’m somehow left wanting more from Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Make no mistake about it, this is not slander. I, much like many of you, have gotten so accustomed to Tua Tagovailoa’s elite performances every week, that a 300+ yard, three touchdown performance feels rather incomplete. And yet, at the same time, it’s so clearly not. I have to remind myself that Tua’s production actually isn’t normal, and that he’s just playing at that high of a level, week-in, week-out.
Against the Patriots, Tua did what Tua does, and led his team to victory. Case closed.
Next Sunday, the Dolphins will travel to Germany to take on the 6-2 Kansas City Chiefs, who are coming off a shocking 9-24 loss to the Denver Broncos. This will only be the second NFL game ever to be held in Germany, with the first game taking place in 2022 between the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Chiefs and Dolphins are currently tied for 1st-place in the AFC, and the winner of next week’s game will hold all the cards heading into the second half of the season.