Nobody thought the Miami Dolphins would be a playoff team in 2020. Yet, here we are.
While the 2019 season was one to forget for the Miami Dolphins, there were glimmers of hope regarding the future of the team under head coach Brian Flores. They spent a ton of money in free agency back in March and used a bevy of draft picks to accelerate their rebuild. And we’re here to tell you on Sunday, Nov. 8, that the Dolphins rebuild appears to be over.
The Dolphins went toe-to-toe with the Arizona Cardinals in an offensive shootout, and they pulled out the 34-31 victory to extend their winning streak to four games. Make no mistake about it, the Dolphins are beginning to look like a playoff team.
Tua time in Miami
The Dolphins entered their Week 7 bye with their win streak at two with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick leading the offense. But, sensing that they were in the thick of the AFC East picture, Flores opted to move Fitzpatrick to the bench in favor of first-round pick and former Alabama superstar quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Give credit where credit is due, the Dolphins weren’t messing around. They saw the window was open, and they ran for it. And it’s paid off.
Tagovailoa’s debut last week wasn’t the flashiest, but he led Miami to a huge upset win over the Los Angeles Rams. It was definitely “Tua Time” in the Arizona desert on Sunday, as the southpaw completed 20-of-28 passes for 248 yards, two touchdowns, one of which being the game-tying pass to receiver Mack Hollins in the third-quarter. Plus, Tagovailoa didn’t show hesitance or fear in running the ball, as he accumulated 35 yards on the ground on seven carries. Most importantly, Tagovailoa didn’t turn the ball over once. That’s always a plus.
But when it comes to Miami’s success this year, you have to look at their defense. Entering this game, the Dolphins forced 13 turnovers (seven interceptions, six fumbles) on the year, tied for second-most in the NFL. Of course, they added another forced turnover to the list.
The Dolphins set the tone early in the first quarter. On Arizona’s first drive, defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah managed to strip sack quarterback Kyler Murray, allowing Shaq Lawson to scoop it up and return it for a 36-yard touchdown. Trying to limit Arizona’s terrifying offense is never an easy task. Miami took their lumps, but that turnover for a score made a real difference and set the tone for the team early on.
Miami will take this momentum into next week, where they host a Los Angeles Chargers team that just can’t escape heartbreak. The Dolphins are good now and will only get better over the years, especially since they own the Houston Texans’ certified top-five selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. Dolphins fans, be sure to send a “thank you” gift basket to Bill O’Brien for that!