The Miami Dolphins made a valiant effort but fell short to the Bills 32-29. It was a classic game in this storied rivalry and despite the fact that Miami lost, there are some great takeaways from last night’s performance. Conversely, Miami has now lost three straight on this road trip and is in danger of missing the playoffs. Here are my takeaways from last night’s game and for the season ahead.
The Dolphins proved one thing to the world, they can compete in inclement weather. The team, specifically Tua Tagovailoa, was disrespected by many for not being able to handle the cold. Shots were made at Miami for using heaters in a dome against the Chargers last week. The cold weather and the snow didn’t seem to affect anyone on the Dolphins, and that is a great sign. They will likely have to play more games like this if they clinch the postseason and have to travel to Cincinnati or Kansas City.
Miami also proved their win over Buffalo earlier in the year was not a fluke victory. This team can go toe-to-toe with the Bills which means they can compete with just about anybody. The problem is consistency. It makes that loss to the Chargers even more confusing. There was a different type of effort level for this game and they must build on it going into their next home game against the Packers.
Lastly, Miami found their run game when they needed it most. It’s another encouraging sign as we enter the thick of December football. The Dolphins won’t be able to play the same style of football they enjoyed earlier in the year, and Mcdaniel found a way to adjust his game plan. Raheem Mostert was the lead back with Jeff Wilson out and had his best game in a Dolphins uniform.
The Dolphins are winless in December. Moral victories are understandable, but they’re a coping mechanism for a real problem at hand. Before this road trip began against the 49ers, Miami had won five straight games. The silver lining is that all five wins came against non-playoff teams. Since then, they’ve faced three teams who are firmly in the playoffs or are in the hunt and have lost each one.
For as great a game plan Mcdaniel had, I believe he deserves some blame for nearly abandoning the run game altogether in the second half. Miami was getting a great push all night long, but in a few short-yardage situations Mcdaniel elected to pass. Mcdaniel is a creative offensive mind, but sometimes it works against him. Miami averaged 7.5 yards per carry but ran it 25 times.
Miami will likely have to win at least two of their final three games to clinch the playoffs for the first time since 2016. They currently hold the last wild card spot with a one-game lead over the Chargers, Patriots, and Jets. Their next three games include a home game against the Packers, a road game against New England, and a final home matchup with the Jets.
When the regular season ends, we’ll look back on this loss as either the game that marked the beginning of the end for Miami or the game that sparked a momentum shift going into the playoffs.
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