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Dolphins’ coach Mike McDaniel explains the decision to play starters late in Sunday’s blowout loss

The Dolphins lost Bradley Chubb to a torn ACL late in Sunday’s loss.

Miami Dolphins v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens running back Melvin Gordan’s seven-yard touchdown with four minutes left should’ve marked the end of Sunday’s blowout loss for the Miami Dolphins. Instead, backup quarterback Mike White fumbled the football on the first play of the following possession, forcing Vic Fangio’s unit back onto the field — hoping to avoid a 50-burger in Baltimore.

Gordan was tackled on a four-yard loss on the drive’s second play, and Dolphins linebacker Bradley Chubb tore his ACL on the play. Following the game, second-year coach Mike McDaniel was asked to explain the decision to let starters play late in the blowout.

“It doesn’t look smart at all,” McDaniel said, “The thinking behind it is the same as it kind of was last year against this team in this place, where I think we were down 35-14 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. When you are as close of a team as we are, and you know the players inside and out, there’s times in football games where it’s not about winning or losing or [if we] can come back.

“It’s about finishing the football game and having a taste of what our expectations were going into it.”

Miami scored a touchdown on the game’s opening possession but Lamar Jackson and Baltimore’s offense carved Fangio’s defense for 21 points in the second and fourth quarters of the 56-19 loss.

“Our expectations fell very short,” McDaniel said. “Hats off to the Ravens for really taking it to us. The guys were very frustrated. I think that my role on gameday is; you know, the players wanted to go back in and play and finish the right way heading into next week. I have the ability to tell them no on everything in this situation. There’s plenty of decisions that I’ll cross examine. It’s hard not to. I do that every week. It’s just with the amount of regard that I hold this position and the decisions I do make.

“The intent is always purposeful, and I made the call that the guys that went out there wanted to be out there. It’s one of those things that will forever be a part of the job, that as a competitor you understand that the results will always be what you have to be accountable for as they should.”