The Miami Dolphins fell to 6-3 on the season as they lost to the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in Frankfurt, Germany. The game became very defensive-focused, despite two of the top offenses in the league meeting in Week 9. The game featured a combined 13 punts.
Miami put themselves in a hole early in this game, giving up a score on the opening Chiefs possession. They appeared to tighten up for the rest of the half, but then gave up another score just before the halftime break - and had a fumble returned for a touchdown, giving Kansas City a 21-0 lead through the first 30 minutes.
The second half saw the Chiefs shutout, with Miami scoring two third-quarter touchdowns. Miami could do nothing after that, however. With the game on the line, Miami reached the Chiefs’ 31-yard line, but the ball slipped out of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s hands on a third-down play that could have been a touchdown pass and a bad snap on fourth down ending the Dolphins’ comeback chance.
Miami heads into the bye week, needing to get some things fixed. With a win this week, they would have moved into first place in the AFC and controlled the playoff picture. With the loss, they now could find themselves no only out of the second-seed position, but they opened the door to lose the lead in the AFC East as well. A Buffalo Bills win over the Cincinnati Bengals moves Buffalo into the top spot and makes Miami a wild-card contender.
The Dolphins did a good job all day in limiting Travis Kelce. The tight ended ended the game with three receptions on four targets for 14 yards.
This looked different from the 2023 Dolphins. They continue to lose to teams with winning records, and the storyline will continue to surround them until they snap the streak. The bye week allows them to watch the film and determine what is going wrong.
This game was disappointing for the Dolphins. They came out flat, looking like the team trying to deal with the jet lag despite being in Germany four days before the Chiefs. They started slowly then tried to fight their way back. The good is they believed they could do it. But they should never have put themselves in that position in the first place.
And they have to figure out the penalty issues. Holds and illegal shifts crushed any momentum the offense was able to find during the game. It just was not the performance of a top-tier team.
On to the bye week.
You can check out the final score for the game, as well as our in-game reactions below.
Dolphins 14 - 21 Chiefs
First Quarter Reactions
The Chiefs opened the game with the ball and immediately took it to the Dolphins defense. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes started the drive with a 21-yard pass to wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. After a couple of shorter gains, the Chiefs faced a 3rd-and-2, with wide receiver Skyy Moore coming out of the backfield for a 10-yard gain on a swing pass, giving the Chiefs a first down. Mahomes then looked deep to tight end Noah Gray for a 25 gain, moving the Chiefs to the Dolphins’ 11-yard line. Two plays later, the Chiefs scored on a screen pass to wide receiver Rashee Rice who powered through tackles to reach the endzone. Chiefs 7-0.
The defense looked like the jet-lagged team, despite Miami having been in the country since Tuesday, while the Chiefs only arrived on Friday. Just not at all what the defense was expected to do, especially with the tandem of Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard starting at cornerback for the first time this year. Mahomes was five-for-six on the drive to five different receivers, and the only incomplete pass came on a ball in the endzone that hit the ground as it was being caught.
Miami opened the drive with a 15-yard pass from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, but then slowed down. A rush from running back Raheem Mostert was stopped for no gain, then wide receiver Tyreek Hill gained a yard on a swing pass. After trading penalties with the Chiefs, the Dolphins offense faced 3rd-and-9, with Tagovailoa sacked on a cornerback blitz. Miami punted.
Miami better wake up quickly. This is not how you want to start against the reigning Super Bowl champions. Both sides of the ball look like they are just going through the motions. Someone better get them fired up or this will get ugly fast.
Kanas City started their second drive with two runs from running back Isaiah Pacheco, picking up 17 yards on the plays. An incomplete pass with pressure from linebacker Jaelan Phillips and a run for no gain by Pacheco led to a 3rd-and-10. Mahomes, avoiding more pressure, threw short to tight end Travis Kelce, but he was stopped after just three yards and the Chiefs had to punt.
Maybe the defense has awakened. The runs by Pacheco are concerning, but they are getting in Mahomes’s face now and look like they may be able to get some pressure on him. Linebacker Andre Van Ginkel made his presence felt on that drive, making a stop on a run and making the tackle on Kelce. If he can get going, it bodes well for the defense.
The Dolphins offense started with a six-yard run from Mostert, then a 12-yard reverse run from Waddle. After a defensive holding penalty, Miami picked up 17 yards on a pass to Hill, moving into Chiefs territory. The drive stalled there, however. An incomplete pass and a run for no gain appeared to be overcome by a 17-yard pass to Waddle, but an illegal shift penalty on Miami negated the gain and, after a three-yard screen pass to running back Salvon Ahmed, the Dolphins punted.
The good news was Waddle was back on the field after being listed as questionable with a knee injury sustained on the first possession. The bad news is Miami is still shooting themselves in the foot with penalties and cannot maintain any momentum.
The Chiefs started at their own nine-yard line after the punt, with Mahomes finding wide receiver Justin Watson for eight yards to start the possession. After a Pacheco run for five yards, Mahomes was flushed out of the pocket, with Phillips getting credit for a sack as the quarterback ran out of bounds at the line of scrimmage. Mahomes then had to get rid of the ball early as defenisve tackle Zach Sieler broke through and nearly made it back-to-back sacks. An incomplete pass set led to a Chiefs punt and the end of the first quarter.
The defense does seem like they have awakened. The pressure is getting to Mahomes now and throwing off the Kansas City rhythm. The deep pass that feel incomplete targeted Watson, but cornerback Xavien Howard was in his pocket the entire way. Howard being on top of his game will be a major piece of Miami’s success the rest of the year.
Second Quarter Reactions
Miami’s possession started with a pass to Hill for 10 yards. After that, however, a one-yard run from Salvon Ahmed, an incomplete pass targeting Hill but the receiver not being able to pull it in along the sideline, and an incomplete pass on a scree to running back Jeff Wilson, Jr., led to a Miami punt.
Not going to cut it. The deep pass to Hill looked like it should have been a completion, but the receiver could not get it secured. The Dolphins have to figure out how to move the ball against this defense.
Kansas City started with a pop-pass to wide receiver Mecole Hardman, Jr., but defensive tackle Christian Wilkins read it perfectly and pulled the receiver down for a seven-yard loss. After an incomplete pass toward Watkins but broken up by Howard, Mahomes threw to running back Jerick McKinnon for five yards. The Chiefs punted to end the three-and-out possession.
The defense is smacking the Chiefs right now. The offense needs to put up some points in what is surprisingly a defensive battle right now.
Nothing worked for Miami on their possession, beginning with an incomplete pass toward Waddle deep down the field. Tagovailoa was then called for intentional grounding on the second down play, leading to a 3rd-and-20. Tagvovailoa scrambled out of the pocket, trying to buy time, on the third-down play, but had to dump it down to Wilson, who turned it into a 10-yard gain. Miami punted after a three-and-out drive.
Seriously, where did this defensive battle come from? Will Miami’s offense wake up?
The Chiefs began the drive at their own five-yard line after a penalty on the punt. They opened with a couple of Pacheco runs, setting up a 3rd-and-5 from their own 10-yard line. Mahomes threw to Rice for six yards and a first down. A couple of plays later, Miami gave the Chiefs five free yards with a defensive holding penalty. A Mahomes scramble for five yards, followed by Pacheco runs for seven yards and two yards, and a Mahomes pass to wide receiver Kadarius Toney for 19 yards moved the ball into Miami territory. Two plays later, Mahomes found Moore for 23 yards. Mahomes scrambled for six yards on the first down play, then Pacheco ran for one yard. On 3rd-and-3, Mahomes found McKinnon on a short scrossing route, with the receiver turning up field for the touchdown. Chiefs 14-0.
I guess the defense went back to sleep. The Chiefs just went 13 plays, covering 95 yards, in 8:28. They just smacked Miami and the Dolphins do not do well when they are punched in the face. Can they figure this out?
Miami came out looking to get back into this game. Running back Salvon Ahmed picked up nine yards on a first down run, then Tagovailoa threw to Waddle for 14 yards. Tagovailoa then threw to Hill for 19 yards. Tight end Durham Smythe picked up three yards on a pass on the next play, then a screen pass to Hill was stopped and the receiver stripped, with the ball returned for a touchdown. Chiefs 21-0.
What is wrong with Miami’s offense? They cannot do anything. Just nothing.
Miami went three-and-out after giving up the score, gaining five yards on a pass to Ahmed before two incomplete passes killed the possession.
Just unbelievable how ordinary Miami’s defense looks.
The Chiefs knelt to kill the clock.
There really is not a lot to say for the halftime reactions. The Dolphins have not shown up in this game. The defense has had moments, but overall, the team has not shown up. The number one offense in the league has no points at halftime. The league’s leading passer has 89 yards. The league’s leading receiver has 39 yards.
This was an ugly half. Miami’s offense has the ability to get out of this hole, but they have to do it starting with the opening drive of the half and they have to have the defense shut down Kansas City. Right now, both of those seem unlikely.
Third Quarter Reactions
Miami opened with the ball after deferring to the second half, but their offensive production of the first half continued after the halftime break. Mostert picked up three yards on first down, then an 11-yard run from Mostert was negated by a holding penalty, backing Miami into a 2ndf-and-17. An incomplete pass and a seven-yard scramble by Tagovailoa led to a three-and-out punt.
The Dolphins cannot get out of their own way this week. Penalties kill any momentum they may be starting to find.
Pacheco picked up five yards to start the drive for the Cheifs, then Mahomes threw to Gray for six yards. The Chiefs then picked up two yards on a Pacheco run before an incomplete pass and a holding penalty brought up a 3rd-and-18. Mahomes scramble for 16 yards on the next play, leading to a Chiefs punt.
At least the defense stopped the Chiefs relatively quickly. Now the offense has to show up.
Miami began their second possession of the half with a 12-yard pass from Tagovailoa to Jeff Wilson. Tagovailoa then threw to Smythe for eight yards before Jeff Wilson picked up six yards on a run. Tagovailoa threw to Hill for seven yards before a Jeff Wilson run for no gain and a pass to Smythe for six yards set up a 1st-and-10 from the Chiefs’ 41-yard line. A defensive holding penalty gave Miami an additional five yards, with Mostert picking up five more on the next play. On 2nd-and-5 from the Chiefs’ 31, Tagovailoa threw to wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, Jr., in the endzone for the score. Chiefs 21-7.
Okay, that looked a little more like the Miami offense. They need to pick up the tempo a little, but at least they are starting to show up now. The defense needs to make a stop here.
Mahomes picked up six yards on a pass to Watson, then another 11 yards on a pass to Hardman to start the drive. Mahomes threw to Valdes-Scantling on the first down play, picking up one yard before an incomplete pass and a holding penalty backed the Chiefs into a 3rd-and-20. As Mahomes dropped back, the Dolphins pass rush collapsed on him, with linebacker Bradley Chubb recording the strip sack and defensive tackle Zach Sieler recovering the loose ball.
Okay, the defense did their part. The offense has the ball at the Chiefs’ 27-yard line. They have to punch this into the endzone.
Mostert started the Dolphins’ possession with a four-yard gain, but it was negated with a holding penalty on Miami. Facing 1st-and-20, Tagovailoa was sacked for no loss, then Tagovailoa threw a deep pass to Hill, but the ball fell incomplete. On 3rd-and-20, Tagovailoa was forced to dump the ball down to Jeff Wilson for a 10-yard gain, setting up a decision for the Dolphins coaching staff. However, Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones hit Miami offensive lineman Austin Jackson after the play, giving the Dolphins 14 free yards and a first down. A play later, Mostert ran it in for the score. Chiefs 21-14.
The Dolphins got lucky that Jones allowed his frustration to come through, but they will take it. This is suddenly a one-score game and there is still an entire quarter to go. If Miami’s defense can make another stand, the offense could level this out and get rid of the bad taste from the first half.
After the kick, the Chiefs started at their own 21-yard line with a four-yard run from Pacheco. The play ended the quarter.
Fourth Quarter Reactions
Mahomes threw to Hardman for seven yards after the break, with two Pacheco runs picking up 13 yards following. A pass into the flat to Pacheco was incomplete as Chubb broke up the play, then running back La’Mical Perine picked up a yard. On 3rd-and-9, Mahomes looked deep to Valdes-Scantling, but coverage from cornerback Kader Kohou was tight and the ball fell incomplete. The Chiefs punted.
The defense did its job. That was great coverage downfield by Kohou. Chubb is playing hot right now. The defense is looking good. With 12 minutes remaining in the game, the Dolphins offense needs to score here to level out this game.
The Dolphins’ drive started with Mostert picking up five yards, eight yards, and one-yard on three straight runs, with the team getting luck as he fumbled on the third run but wide receiver Chase Claypool was able to fall on the loose ball. Tagovailoa then found fulllback Alec Ingold for one yard. On 3rd-and-5, Tagovailoa found Hill for seven yards and a first down. Tagovailoa then threw to Waddle for 12 yards before Hill ran for three yards on an end around. Mostert then picked up one yard setting up 3rd-and-6, with Hill catching a slant for nine yards to move the chains. Ahmed lost six yards on a run on first down, then Tagovailoa was sacked for an 11-yard loss on second down. On 3rd-and-27, Tagovailoa threw toward Waddle but the ball was out of bounds. Miami had to punt.
The drive was going well until the loss of six on the Ahmed run. Willie Gay made a great play to break through the line and Ahmed never had a chance. Punting there hurts. Only four minutes are remaining in the game now. The defense has to make a fast stop here if the Dolphins are going to get back into this.
After a quiet game, tight end Travis Kelce opened the possession with a seven-yard gain on a pass into the flat. Pacheco then picked up two yards, setting up a 3rd-and-1. Mahomes threw incomplete on the play, throwing the ball away as Chubb got into his face and forced the Chiefs into a three-and-out.
That is exactly what the defense needed. Can the Dolphins get down the field in 2:28?
The Dolphins started the drive with a 25-yard run from Mostert, moving the ball out to midfield and taking the clock to the two-minute warning. Coming out of the break, Mostert picked up another 19 yards. Incomplete passes on first and second down brought up 3rd-and-10 from the Chiefs’ 31-yard line. Another incomplete pass led to a fourth-down play for the Dolphins. After a timeout, Miami lined up in a shotgun formation, with the snap flying past Tagovailoa, who had to scramble back and fall on the loose ball. The Chiefs took over on downs.
Are you serious? That is when the snapping issues decide to pop up? Miami has a chance to end the argument that they cannot win against the top tier teams, and, after digging a hole for themselves all game long, they are in position to tie up the game. Instead, a snap ends the game. Just come on.
The Chiefs knelt to kill the clock.