The Miami Dolphins do not care about our health. If they did, they wouldn’t have given each and every one of us heart palpitations throughout their entire week one matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers. It was a rollercoaster ride of emotions, but when the game clock hit all zeroes, Miami secured a two point, come-from-behind victory against a very good Chargers team on the road.
If this is how the 2023 season is going to play out, buckle up, Dolphins fans! We are sure in for a very fun year!
The Tua Tagovailoa to Tyreek Hill connection is alive and well
So... did Miami draft the right quarterback?
Against Justin Herbert’s Chargers, Tua Tagovailoa completed 28 of 45 passes for a whopping 466 yards and three passing touchdowns. He threw one interception.
Miami’s star receiver, Tyreek Hill, caught 11 balls for 215 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner with less than two minutes to go in the contest.
Tua to Tyreek is a deadly combo that should continue to provide Dolphins’ fans with plenty of enjoyment throughout the entire 2023 season while simultaneously terrifying opposing defenses.
Miami’s new-look defense was gashed by Chargers’ potent rushing attack
The Miami Dolphins brought in new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to shore up a porous unit that cost the team a number of victories last season. Well, sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.
This isn’t to say that Fangio isn’t a legendary coordinator, nor do I think this defense will continue to struggle all year like they did against Los Angeles in week one, however the way teams have historically attacked Fangio’s scheme is to run the football — and the Chargers did that extremely well on Sunday.
Austin Ekeler carried the rock 16 times for 117 yards (7.3 yards per carry) and a touchdown. Joshua Kelley had 16 rushes for 91 yards (5.7 yards per carry) and a touchdown. Justin Herbert added 18 yards rushing and a score with his legs.
In total, the Dolphins surrendered 234 yards on the ground at a 5.9 yards per carry clip, plus those three rushing scores. The Chargers knew how to attack Miami’s defense — evidenced by their 40 rushing attempts. Those numbers will need to improve drastically if the Dolphins hope to have a well-rounded squad as the season progresses.
Next up, Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots and Rhamondre Stevenson.
Connor Williams’ snap issues nearly derail Miami’s season opener
Miami’s center Connor Williams missed time this offseason while complaining about his contract situation. Well, maybe he should have spent more time on the field practicing his snaps with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa than worrying about securing some extra cash, because his snap issues against the Chargers nearly cost the team a victory.
On the Dolphins’ first possesion, Tagovailoa marched the team right down the field and set them up with a 1st-and-goal to go situation. On the very next play, Tagovailoa couldn’t handle a snap where it looked like the center didn’t place the ball deep enough into the hands of the signal caller. The Chargers recovered and immediately scored a touchdown — causing a 10 or 14-point swing in Los Angeles’ favor.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of Williams’ snap issues, as he continued to muff multiple snaps throughout the game — including during the 4th quarter with Miami trailing by 4 points.
The Dolphins were able to overcome Williams’ problems this time, but he needs to clean things up if he doesn’t want to cost his team a win this year. To his credit, he took the blame for his miscues Sunday and vowed to be better moving forward.
Miami went on the road in week one and stole a victory away from a good Chargers team. How do you feel about Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill’s performances? Do you think Miami’s rushing defense can stiffen up as the season rolls on? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @MBrave13. Fins up!