The Miami Dolphins have improved their record to 3-0 for the first time since the 2018 season, giving fans plenty to be excited about in the process. Miami, one of the three remaining undefeated teams, has put the league on notice with victories over respectable opponents in each of the first three weeks.
The Dolphins have already managed to take down two of their three division rivals in the New England Patriots, and now the Buffalo Bills in another exciting victory for Mike McDaniel’s squad.
This game had all the theatrics that keep football fans engaged and tuning in every Sunday. From Tua Tagovailoa suffering an apparent injury and coming back to lead his team to a win to Buffalo failing to spike the ball as time expired, this game kept everyone on the edge of their seats until the clock hit zero.
Here are some of the key moments that allowed Miami to come away with a win last Sunday:
The Dolphins’ offense can win the team games without putting up 40+ points
After week 2’s shootout win against the Baltimore Ravens, there were still many questions on whether or not Miami could sustain the offense it showcased in the second half of that game. Tagovailoa and company got into a rhythm that saw them score four consecutive touchdowns to seal the victory, something that isn’t expected to occur week to week.
Looking now at week three, the Dolphins’ offense looked far more pedestrian in a game that was largely a battle of two of the top defenses in the league.But Tagovailoa and the offense had the opportunity to give their team the lead in the fourth quarter when they trailed by three with 14 minutes left in regulation.
The offense ended up putting together a drive that led to a three-yard touchdown by running back Chase Edmonds. Tagovailoa connected with his favorite receiver, Jaylen Waddle, twice on this drive with a 32-yarder and a mesmerizing 45-yard completion between two defenders.
This game had a playoff-like vibe with a low-scoring, competitive and physical battle. It was nice to see Miami’s young offense find a way to will together a game-winning drive despite an overall ugly performance.
Miami’s defense returned back to the form we all know and love
Holding the Super Bowl favorite Bills to 19 points after they had scored 31 and 41 points in their first two games of the season was quite an accomplishment. Defensive coordinator Josh Boyer got his unit back on track after a disappointing performance at the hands of Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Many expected Buffalo’s Josh Allen to have an MVP-like season this year and he has not disappointed thus far. Even in Sunday’s loss, the former Univerity of Wyoming quarterback threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns. He also led his team on the ground, rushing for 47 yards on eight carries.
But Miami was able to bother Allen and the Bills’ offense all day with constant pressure, as they did to New England’s Mac Jones in week one. One player worth noting was second-year safety Jevon Holland, who was all over the field in this game. Holland was the only one to play in all of Miami’s 92 defensive snaps; he finished the day with 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a forced fumble. In a game that saw several players sit out due to the heat, this was quite a feat for the young star.
End-of-game execution was not perfect, but it got the job done
Miami’s secondary performed well as a whole, forcing Allen to spread the ball to 11 total receivers. The Bills’ formula of force-feeding their superstar Stefon Diggs did not prove successful in this matchup as he was held to only seven receptions for 78 yards. This performance comes only one week removed from Diggs’ monster 12 reception, 148-yard, three-touchdown day he had against the Tennessee Titans in week 2.End-of-game execution was not perfect, but it got the job done
The Dolphins raised the blood pressure of their entire fan base during the final moments of the game. After the defense completed a textbook goalline stand that should have secured the win, Miami’s offense took the field with 1:46 left on the clock deep in its own territory. McDaniel elected to run the ball twice to burn Buffalo’s final two timeouts, but on 3rd and 11, from Miami’s own one-yard line, Tagovailoa attempted a pass that fell incomplete. This not only stopped the clock from running down but also put punter Thomas Morstead in a difficult situation by punting out of the back of his own end zone.
With not much space to operate, Morstead hit the ball on the rear of his blocker, Trent Sherfield, in a play that is now being deemed “The Butt Punt.”
This ended up as a safety, making the score 21-19 and with 1:33 left, Miami was forced to punt the ball back to the Bills with Allen and company only needing a field goal to come away with a road win.
Luckily for the Dolphins, the defense once again came up big during the final drive– even with no timeouts, Allen and the Bills were not able to stop the clock to kick a game-winning field goal.
Although Miami was able to come away with the win, we hope to see improvements in decision-making at the end of games because this could have turned disastrous for McDaniel and the Dolphins quickly.
The Dolphins have a quick turnaround this week as they travel to Cincinnati to take on the reigning AFC Champions in their first prime-time game of the season on Thursday Night Football. Joe Burrow and the Bengals have struggled early, but managed to win their first game of the season last week against the New York Jets.