On the first day of Christmas, Miami gave to me a last second victory.
Now pretend I go through all the other days. And then get the whole way back to the fifth day. Just, work with me here, it’s Christmas.
And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, then it’s just another day, except the Dolphins beat the Cowboys 22-20 on the night before, proving to the Ghosts of Dolphins’ Past that they can, in fact, beat decent teams.
It was a miracle on the 29th yard line and it was awesome.
5 field goals in
Jason Sanders managed to make all of his naysayers eat a lump of coal (I think that’s the expression) by hitting not one, not two, but FIVE field goals, accounting for 15 of the Fins’ 22 total points.
Which is 68%, AKA, most of them.
Sanders connected from 57, 52, 54, 35, and 29 yards out, nearly making them in descending order for what’s known as a Long Tall Sally.
Irrefutable terminology aside, Sanders was the best he’s been in his career (source: me). He was called upon to deliver presents to the whole world in one night and didn’t get stuck in a single chimney.
4 sacks of Dak
Miami’s defense ran over Dallas’ offensive line like they were reindeer and the Cowboys were grandmas.
Bradley Chubb continued his recent spate of stellar play adding 1.5 sacks to his season total, as did the most famous Ginkster of all, Andrew Van Ginkel, who notched 10 total tackles and 4 QB hits to boot.
The Dolphins held the Cowboys’ potent offense to 253 yards passing and 97 yards rushing, culminating in 20 points. Experts will note that 20 is 2 fewer than 22.
That’s total TDs for the game. There weren’t really a lot of 3’s floating around the stats, okay?
Two touchdowns for Dallas and only one for Miami, but factoring in the aforementioned magic of that old silk hat Jason Sanders, it was enough for a win.
Mike McDaniel called a (mostly) great game given that his offensive line is nearly to the point of hiring mall Santas to fill in, they’re so decimated by injury. Even though it didn’t necessarily translate into red zone touchdowns or a veritable sleigh of points, his playcalling did keep the offense consistent, spread the ball around (9 different receivers caught a pass and 4 players had rushing attempts), and played to the strengths of the guys still able to go (Tyreek Hill finished with 9 recs for 99 yards and Jaylen Waddle pulled in a 50 yarder before leaving with an injury himself).
The defense held up its end of the bargain and, as a result, the team played complementary football, finally beating an opponent with a record above .500.
If the Fins can keep that level of balance for the remainder of the season (and into the postseason), they just might extend Christmas to well beyond its allotted 12 days.
2 games to go
Weeks 17 and 18 see the Dolphins travelling to Baltimore to face the 12-3 AFC leading Ravens followed by a final home game against the 9-6 Bills.
Miami has shown that when both sides of the ball play to their potential and a sound game plan is laid out (and followed), they can be one of the best teams, if not the actual very best, in the NFL.
As a lifelong fan of the team: that’s some George-Bailey-seeing-Clarence-s*** right there. In other words, it’s insane.
Baltimore just handled the 49ers in San Francisco, but they aren’t unbeatable. Historically, the Ravens have had the Fins’ number, but Old Saint Cover 0 took them to the toy shop not so long ago.
The Bills have been up and down this year despite their measurable talent. They drubbed the Dolphins in their first meeting this season and I expect Miami will be out to prove something. Something like they can beat the Bills, for example.
There’s just no overstating the importance of these games. Without victories in both, well:
And 1 Dolphins team in the playoffs
Just kidding! The Fins are in the playoffs regardless!
Yeah, I know. The games are still significant, seeding can move, Bye weeks can be had, and to all a good night. But let’s just take that feeling in for a minute. Like the joy in the eyes of Aunt Clara’s pink bunny suit’s feet staring up at you, the joy of the Dolphins being locked into the playoffs with two games remaining should be palpable.
Getting to the playoffs is making it to Christmas morning alive with presents to open.
The Superbowl is still Miami’s official Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle and it might just be hiding behind that desk in the corner.
Of course, beating Scut Farkus in the alley on the way there will just be the star on the tree.
Were you a good little boy or girl this year? Did Santa eat all of the milk and cookies you left out? And none of them were poison? Craft an alibi in the comments below.