By: Colby Guy
The Miami Dolphins fell to 8-5 after taking a 33-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs- a loss that may place the AFC East division title out of reach.
The Buffalo Bills moved to 10-3 as they beat the previously one-loss Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football to distance themselves further from the Fins. The Dolphins would only be able to win the AFC East if they won their three remaining games and the Bills lost all three. Miami currently sit as the seventh seed in the AFC, with the 8-5 Baltimore Ravens now tied with them for the final playoff spot. Although the loss put a small dent in the Dolphins’ playoff hopes, there are some good things to take away from this game on top of the obvious issues that were exposed in Sunday’s loss.
Here are three takeaways from the Miami Dolphins’ 33-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs:
Tua is the QB of the Future
Tua Tagovailoa proved his worth when going toe-to-toe with reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes on Sunday. The lefty went 28-48 passing for a career-high 315 yards, two passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, and one interception off a tipped pass.
“I thought he made a lot of plays for us, especially in the fourth quarter, made some throws in tight windows, scrambled a little bit, put us in position to score some points,” head coach Brian Flores said of Tagovailoa. “But at the end of the day, I’m sure he’s not satisfied. None of us are. We’ve got to do a better job. We’ve got to make more plays to come out. We’ve got to make more plays than we did today. They made more plays than we did.”
The Dolphins found themselves down 30-10 with 6:52 to go in the third quarter, and Tagovailoa was a huge part of getting Miami back into the game. Two of Tua’s touchdowns came on two long drives in the fourth quarter, finding Mike Gesicki for a 29-yard touchdown to cap off a six-play, 80-yard drive, and then stuffing it in himself on a QB sneak from the one-yard line after a 14 play, 75-yard drive. If he can keep playing like this, the young QB can definitely be the Dolphins’ signal-caller of the future, especially given the limited amount of weapons he had while pulling the near-comeback.
Dolphins Need More Weapons
It was blatantly obvious after the trio of Gesicki, Parker, and Grant went down with injuries during this game that Miami need to get more offensive weapons for Tagovailoa. The Dolphins’ receivers had a bad case of the dropsies during this game, and had they caught just a few of those balls, they very well could have (should have) won this football game. This includes a perfectly thrown ball from Tagovailoa to Parker in the end zone that bounced off his outstretched hands, and another deep ball thrown to Jakeem Grant which was dropped and consequently resulted in Tua’s first career interception.
Miami also desperately needs to pick up a running back, as they do not have any options that have proven effective this year. Yes, Matt Brieda, Myles Gaskin, and Salvon Ahmed were all out for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, but even those options aren’t exactly world-beaters. As for the running backs who did play, DeAndre Washington put up a whopping 35 yards on 13 carries while Patrick Laird put up 19 yards on four carries. The Dolphins must get Tua more help if they want to win football games like this in the future.
The Dolphins’ Defense is For Real
The Dolphins’ defense was able to give Patrick Mahomes fits like no defense had been able to do so all season. Mahomes, who had only thrown two interceptions all season coming into Sunday’s game, threw three against Miami on Sunday. Despite the four takeaways, the Dolphins were still unable to fully contain that deadly Chiefs offense; allowing Mahomes to throw for 393 yards and two touchdowns to pair with the three interceptions.
“This is an explosive team, and they went on a little bit of a run there in the second half, really the end of the second quarter, got the ball back, punched it in, got a return. It was just a quick spurt there, and that’s kind of how they’re built,” Flores said. “They go on runs. They went on one there at the end of the second quarter to the beginning of the third quarter. We had to settle in and collect ourselves. I thought our guys did a good job of that and playing with some poise and got ourselves back in the game. But we’ve got to limit those big plays, and we weren’t able to do that today. Ultimately, that was the difference.”
Xavien Howard now has a league-leading nine interceptions on the season and has put himself squarely in the conversation for the defensive player of the year conversation. The Dolphins were able to make all of this noise without two of their defensive starters in Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts-certainly a testimate to the quality of team Flores and Grier are establishing in Miami.
The Dolphins will be back in action at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 20 against the New England Patriots at 1:00 p.m. You can catch the game on CBS. Fins up!