The Miami Dolphins are not a top tier team in the National Football League.
Their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs hurts, but the truth hurts even more.
Until Miami can line up against a playoff caliber squad and deliver a victory instead of a loss like they have against the likes of the Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, and the aforementioned Chiefs, they’ll be the definition of “all sizzle and no steak.”
All eyes were on Sunday morning’s matchup in Frankfurt, Germany as they were the only game on in the early international window — and with everyone watching, Miami channeled the unfortunate ghosts of recent Dolphins past and fell short against a high quality football team.
If the Dolphins want the narrative to change, they’ll need to prove they aren’t just speed, flash and slight of hand. They’ll need to prove that they can dictate terms to opposing defenses that don’t rank near the bottom of the league in most metrics. It’s great to manhandle teams like the Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, New York Giants, New England Patriots, etc., but the Dolphins wont see opponents like that once they make the playoffs. They’ll face real, genuine opposition.
They’ll face contenders.
Despite the defense’s best effort in the second half, it’s hard for me to consider the Dolphins contenders themselves after their loss on Sunday. If their games against teams above the .500 mark are the ultimate indicator, the Dolphins firmly reside in the “pretender” category of NFL teams right now.
With that being said, let’s take a look back at the good, bad and ugly from Miami’s week nine loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Healthiest version of Dolphins defense contains Mahomes and Chiefs; keeps Fins in game late
The Dolphins traded for defensive back Jalen Ramsey this past offseason, expecting to team him up with Xavien Howard to form a more than formidable duo at the cornerback position for Miami. A knee injury kept Ramsey off of the field until week eight’s contest against the New England Patriots, however a groin injury didn’t allow Howard to suit up for that game.
Thus, the first time that Ramsey and Howard took the field as teammates was in Frankfurt, Germany against the Kansas City Chiefs in week nine.
After giving up two offensive touchdowns in the first half, Miami’s defense clamped down on the Chiefs offense in the second half, allowing zero points through the final two quarters of action. They held quarterback Patrick Mahomes to a paltry 185 yards passing for the entire game.
The 14 points allowed would normally be enough to win any game, however a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by the Chiefs defense pushed the score to 21 for Kansas City late in the second quarter. Unfortunately, Miami’s offense didn’t get going until the second half and were ultimately unable to equalize despite possessing the ball in Chiefs territory with less than two minutes to go.
Penalties and mistakes derail Miami’s offense
The Dolphins were penalized six times for 45 yards against the Chiefs on Sunday, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but many of the penalties they were called for put an already struggling offense in extremely disadvantageous positions — oftentimes leaving the team needing to pick up well over ten yards on 3rd down.
The Dolphins were called for a false start, an illegal shift, an intentional grounding flag, and multiple holding penalties on offense.
As a result, Miami went just 3 for 12 on third downs — just a 25% conversion rate.
Penalties didn’t tell the whole story on Sunday, but they sure didn’t help Miami any.
Unfortunately, on top of the penalties, turnovers were a major factor as to why the Dolphins couldn’t overcome a tough matchup against the defending Super Bowl champs...
Tyreek Hill fumble leads to three touchdown lead for Chiefs at half; Tagovailoa fumble seals loss
To win big games you need your best players to play their best when it matters most. Tyreek Hill has been Miami’s best player this season, but when his team needed him, he literally fumbled away his opportunity to make a statement against his former squad.
With the Dolphins driving late in the first half, down by two touchdowns, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa hit Hill with a screen pass in Chiefs’ territory. To the horror of every Dolphins fan watching the game, Hill then got the ball stripped from his grasp. The fumble was recovered by a Chiefs defender, lateraled to another, and then returned for a touchdown to give Kansas City a 21-0 lead at halftime.
Those seven points were the difference in the contest, as Miami would ultimately lose by just a single touchdown. Ironically, it was another fumble that put the final nail in the Dolphins’ coffin — this time, an errant snap by center Connor Williams on 4th down that Tagovailoa — another one of Miami’s best offensive players — couldn’t corral.
As a result, Miami limps into their bye week with a loss — but also with lingering doubt in the backs of the minds of the team and their dejected fanbase.
The Dolphins fell to the defending Super Bowl champions Sunday, unable to overcome a three touchdown deficit at the half. How do you feel about the narrative that they can’t get the job done against the best teams in the National Football League? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @MBrave13. Fins up!