The Miami Dolphins benefited from a light schedule early, suffered a rash of injuries in the middle to latter part of the season, and ultimately collapsed to back into the playoffs as a Wild Card team. They were less than two weeks removed from taking a huge step toward the AFC’s No. 1 seed in Baltimore. That went very, very wrong. So did the next game against the Buffalo Bills for the AFC East crown. Even more injuries happened there.
I mean…frigid conditions for any team suck. A windchill around 30 below zero? Facing the defending Super Bowl champs in their house, one of the most hostile environments to visit in all of sports? Yeah. Tall order for Tua Tagovailoa, whose quarterbacking abilities depend on anticipation and at least some semblance of a running game to set up play-action shots. Miami only got 42 yards on 14 combined carries from Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane. Mostert had 21 TDs in the regular season; Achane averaged almost eight yards per carry.
Neither of them were anywhere near their standard production on Super Wild Card Weekend.
Oh, and Jaylen Waddle was dealing with a high ankle sprain in the weeks leading up to this game. Tyreek Hill has had a bum ankle for weeks as well. The Dolphins defense got gashed repeatedly by Patrick Mahomes on third down; Miami only converted one of 12 such third-down chances. As per usual in the NFL and football in general, the vast majority of the blame is falling at Tua’s feet. Really tough.
Now the vast majority of keyboard warriors want the Fins to move off Tua, don’t believe he’s worth fifth-year option money to start in 2024, and think his days as a hopeful franchise QB are all but over.
DAMN. Cooked. Except uh… Tua led the NFL in passing yards. This year. People are nevertheless coming for his head. He just played against a Chiefs defense that has an elite coordinator in Steve Spagnuolo and a truckload of young, capable cornerbacks who had the luxury of covering not-nearly-the-best versions of Waddle and Hill. Miami’s decimated/banged-up o-line couldn’t win at the line of scrimmage with any regularity.
I don’t know. We live in a knee-jerk world where everyone wants a microwaved championship. Unless you’re CJ Stroud, DeMeco Ryans and the Houston Texans who might come close to delivering on such a pipe dream, that is not how the NFL works.
I’m not ready to bail on Tua just yet. Obviously, the Fins didn’t do a good enough job of adjusting to the conditions. Mike McDaniel called maybe the most ineffective game of his career. If you remember back to last season, though, McDaniel had Skylar Thompson starting in Buffalo and damn near won. Doesn’t it feel like perhaps the slightest overreaction to write off Tua — a far superior QB to Thompson — this hard this soon?
The Miami Dolphins ran out of gas. For all the worry over Tua’s concussion history, he made it through all 17 games, plus a playoff start, and led the NFL in passing yards. That’s not terrible. We’ll see what the Dolphins’ strategy is. I don’t know of a clear path to a massive Tua upgrade. Who’re you going to sell the fan base on? A wishbone offense quarterbacked by Justin Fields? LOL. Actually, that could be pretty cool as an occasional subpackage. Think about it. Fields, Mostert and Achane on the field all at once. The next time the Dolphins are in a blizzard, I don’t think anyone could stop them with that rushing attack.
Oh wait people are saying it out loud.
I wonder how Justin Fields would look in Miami? Just my thoughts
I was mostly kidding. Everything the Dolphins’ league-leading passing game is built around is literally everything Fields doesn’t do well, or what he hasn’t done well consistently. McDaniel could figure it out. I just…OK.
Sound off in the comments if you’re that kind of genius who can diagnose a way for Miami to get somebody who’s a big step up from Tua Tagovailoa. You might deserve a front office job.