Dolphins Win 49ers

5 Takeaways from Dolphins Win over 49ers

When the 2020 schedule came out and Dolphins fans saw a Week 5 game against the defending NFC Champs in San Francisco, most chalked that up as a loss. But quite a bit has changed since then, including the NFL’s schedule. And instead of a loss, the Dolphins went into Levi’s Stadium and dominated the 49ers, earning a 43-17 win.

With the win, Miami improved to 2-3 on the season and injected new life into their potential playoff hopes. With the schedule changes, the Dolphins could be favored to win four of their next six games.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the Dolphins win over the 49ers.

Aggressive Play-calling Leads to Offensive Explosion

The Dolphins entered Sunday’s game averaging 23.3 points-per-game, a respectable figure despite the 1-3 record. However, a week after settling for five field goals in a 31-23 loss, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey seemed focused on getting his club in the endzone.

Miami opened their first offensive series with a 47-yard connection from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Preston Williams. From there, it seemed like the Dolphins offense marched up and down the field at will, often attacking San Francisco’s secondary.

Miami totaled 43 points on the road in this one, a figure the club hadn’t reached since scoring 45 in 1986. The 436 yards of offense were the most this season and the team’s most on the road since 2016. The Dolphins’ nine scoring drives were Miami’s most since 1991.

The first half offense caught fans off guard for how effective it was. Miami ran 33 offensive plays and gained 281 yards in the half, an average of 8.5 yards-per-play. The Dolphins scored three times from the two-minute warning and finished with 30 points overall. It was just the third 30-point half since 2000 for the Dolphins.

Preston Williams Returning to Form in Dolphins Win over 49ers

Williams went from being an unheralded, undrafted fringe prospect, to one of the league’s most exciting rookie wideouts last season. But in November, Williams suffered a torn ACL which ended his year. Since, he’s been diligently working to regain his form and confidence.

And after an uneven start to 2020, Williams broke out in a big way against the 49ers. Williams caught four passes for a career-high 106 receiving yards and a touchdown. He had pair of plays over 30 yards, including the touchdown, as well as another 19-yard gain.

His ability to create separation and sore over smaller defenders to secure catches was something unseen from Williams since prior to his season-ending injury.

“I’m getting closer to that year mark with my knee,” Williams said. “I’m starting to get more comfortable out there … just trying to get back into that football shape and get me feet back under me. I know a lot earlier in the year I was falling off some routes. Now I’m starting to feel better every week.”

Pass Rush Gets Home, Helps Secondary in Dolphins Win over 49ers

The Dolphins entered Sunday’s contest with nine quarterback sacks, but they had struggled t contain mobile quarterbacks this season. San Francisco’s starter, Jimmy Garoppolo, coming off a high-ankle sprain, looked hobbled all day, and the Dolphins took advantage of that.

Miami teed off on 49er quarterbacks, bringing pressure and getting eight quarterback hits. That’s the second-highest total this season, behind the 10 QB hits against Jacksonville (the Dolphins other win this season).

Miami tallied five sacks on Sunday, the most in a game since 2018. Five different defenders registered a sack in this one: Jerome Baker, Emmauel Ogbah, Elandon Roberts, Zach Sieler and Andrew Van Ginkel. Ogbah and Van Ginkel each had a strip-sack.

The consistent pressure from the Dolphins defense forced San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan to make a change under center. The 49ers went with C.J. Beathard in the second half in an effort to protect Garoppolo.

This pressure helped the Dolphins secondary find its form in this one as well. The return of Byron Jones certainly helped, too. Xavien Howard picked up an interception in a third-straight game and Bobby McCain added one as well. Miami’s pass rush and secondary limited the 49ers to just 128 net passing yards, the fewest allowed by the Dolphins since 2018.

Jason Sanders Could Be Best K in Dolphins History

One of the clear bright spots through the inconsistent play early this season has been Jason Sanders. After a five-field goal performance in Week 4, Sanders followed that with another stellar effort in this one. He netted all five of his field goal tries and each of his four point-after attempts.

Sanders 14-for-14 start to the season broke a Dolphins record for most consecutive field goals made to open a season. Pete Stoyanovich (1990) and Olindo Mare (2001) shared the previous 13-for-13 mark to open a season for Miami.

Sanders has now netted his last 16 field goal attempts, going back to last season. That’s tied for third among most consecutive makes in franchise history. The record is 19 straight makes by Mare (1999). Sunday’s game marked the third time in Sanders’ career that he’s hit five field goals in a game, which set a new franchise record.

It Might Not Be Tua-Time Just Yet

On Wednesday, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said: “Right now, we feel like Fitz gives us the best chance to go out to California, complete and try to win a ballgame.” Those words seemed prophetic, considering Fitzpatrick’s performance and the Dolphins dominance overall.

Fitzpatrick completed 22-of-28 passes for 350 yards and three touchdowns. He posted a passer rating of 154.4, which is the second-highest mark in his 16-year career and the third-highest single-game mark in franchise history (Fielder, 156.0, at Dallas 2003; Tannehill, 155.3, v Oakland, 2018). Fitzpatrick has now thrown over 300 yards in five of his past seven games.

“People hate me, people love me, depending on the week,” Fitzpatrick said.

The Tua-time crowd will likely be silenced for a time after Fitzpatrick’s performance. Coming off an ineffective two interception game in a loss last week, the cries for Tua Tagovailoa grew louder. Some saw Week 5 as the chance to switch to Tagovailoa, but an injury to starting left tackle Austin Jackson may have slowed that momentum. And after his performance this week, Fitzpatrick is likely the starter for the foreseeable future.

Tagovailoa remains the backup for now, in part, because Flores believes Fitzpatrick gives the Dolphins the best chance to win. And with the shuffled schedule putting winnable games on tap, Miami will push for the playoffs.

Flores says he’s confident that should Tagovailoa be forced into a game that he could go in there and be effective, but he doesn’t feel the fifth overall pick is ready to take over as starter.

“I think (Tagovailoa) continues to improve every day,” quarterbacks coach Robby Brown said. “He comes in, he works hard from a mental perspective. He works hard from a physical perspective. He’s sitting under a really smart guy right now that helps him out. He asks good questions during the game sitting there listening to the play. Then when we come over and look at the pictures, he asks good questions, so I think his development, I’ve been pleased with it so far. It’s just … keep doing what he’s doing, and going in to prepare every single day. He’s done a good job with that.”

Dolphins Seahawks

5 Keys to Dolphins vs Seahawks

The Miami Dolphins (1-2) enter their Week 4 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks (3-0) coming off a dominant 31-13 victory last Thursday night over the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2). The Dolphins played well in Jacksonville, putting together solid stretches in all three phases of the game.

While the 2020 season has been anything but normal, Miami’s uneven performances have frustrated fans and players alike. And if the Dolphins are going to even their record at 2-2 this week, they’ll need focus and execution against one of the league’s most dynamic talents, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

Here’s a look at five keys to the Dolphins vs Seahawks matchup.

Limit Russell Wilson, if possible

Wilson leads the NFL with 14 touchdown passes, most after three games in NFL history. He’s on pace for a 75 touchdowns this season. The Seahawks offense has scored 111 points. This potent attack has spurred championship dreams in Seattle, but Chris Carson’s injury could force the Seahawks to lean even more on their MVP-candidate.

The Dolphins defense limited Gardner Minshew in Week 3. They tallied 10 quarterback hits and four sacks. Minshew, though, is not the dual threat posed by Wilson. The Dolphins struggled with similar dual threats in Weeks 1 and 2, considering what Cam Newton and Josh Allen were able to do.

The Dolphins will need to generate pressure, but Wilson is good at extending plays and making decisions on the run. The Seahawks have one of the better offensive line units, particularly in pass-protection. Wilson’s thrown only one interception so far this season, and the Dolphins secondary is allowing 7.7 yards-per-attempt.

Dolphins vs Seahawks: Protect Fitzpatrick

The Dolphins offensive line, which starts a pair of rookies, has been one of the unexpected bright spots this season. After a few years of subpar (at best) line play, the Dolphins may have found a unit to build upon moving forward. Austin Jackson and Solomon Kindley have played extremely well through their first three weeks in the NFL and that will need to continue against the Seahawks.

Seattle’s defensive line hasn’t been able to consistently pressure opposing quarterbacks this season. Their edge rushers have 10 pressures and two sacks on the year. This has led the Seahawks to blitz on nearly 40 percent of passing plays, but they’ll be without one of their main blitzers on Sunday with the absence of safety Jamal Adams. The former New York Jets standout averages nine pass rushes a game, so Seattle will need to look elsewhere for pressure.

The Seahawks defense can be scored upon. Seattle allows 28.7 points-per-game thus far in 2020, so if the Dolphins can keep Ryan Fitzpatrick upright, there will be opportunities to score on this defense.

More Production from the Running Back Position

The Dolphins seem to have stumbled upon a lead back that not very many people thought would take hold of the role. Myles Gaskin, a seventh-round pick last season, has been the surprise go-to running back so far this year. It’s particularly surprising given Miami’s addition of Matt Breida and Jordan Howard this offseason.

Gaskin leads the team with 152 yards rushing and 15 receptions, and he’s averaging 4.6 yards-per-touch. This after a rookie season that saw him tally just 133 yards and seven receptions in seven games played in 2019.

But the combination of Gaskin, Breida and Howard will need to more than just the 3.8 yards-per-carry average they’ve compiled so far in 2020. The Dolphins are 20th in the NFL in rushing-yards-per-game (108.0) and have four rushing touchdowns through three games.

The Seahawks allow the second-fewest rushing-yards-per-game (66.7) but that’s largely because their opponents have been playing from behind most of the time. If the Dolphins can use the run to set up the pass, they’ll be in business.

Dolphins vs Seahawks: Attack Seattle’s Secondary

While Seattle may have one of the best run defenses (statistically), their pass defense has been porous. Seattle’s defense ranks 32nd in yards-per-game (497.3) and passing-yards (430.7), 31st in yards-per-completion (8.5) and 31st in yards-per-play (6.6) and 29th in third-down defense (51.2 percent). Although their offense has been one of the league’s best, their defense has largely forced Wilson and company to put up points.

What’s going to help the Dolphins against the Seahawks on Sunday will be the fact that Seattle will be without starting safety Jamal Adams and cornerback Quinton Dunbar. In addition, backup safety Lano Hill, who has matched up versus opposing tight ends this season, could also miss the game.

A major weapon for the Dolphins should be Mike Gesicki. The Fitzpatrick-Gesicki connection has resulted in seven touchdowns in Gesicki’s past nine games. That figure is tied for most among NFL tight ends during that span. Over the past 16 games, Gesicki has 57 catches for 694 yards. Without Adams to check Gesicki, Fitzpatrick will likely target his big tight end early and often.

Dolphins Secondary Needs to Make Plays

The Seahawks sport a potent passing offense this season. Wilson piles up 289.7 passing-yards-per-game (5th in the NFL). He’s thrown a league-high 14 touchdowns and averages 9.0 yards-per-completion (3rd). The Seahawks offense ranks 25th(37.9 percent) in third-down conversions, but the Dolphins defense ranks 43.3 percent stopping opposing offenses on third down.

Wilson has spread the ball around, but in Week 3 he connected with Tyler Lockett nine times for 100 yards and three touchdowns. DK Metcalf has also been a productive weapon for Wilson. He’s leading the league with 24.8 yards per reception (min. 15 targets) and has scored a touchdown in each game this season.

Miami’s secondary has allowed 19 catches of 16 or more yards. The Dolphins secondary, which was viewed as a strength entering the year, remains battered with injury. Byron Jones continues to struggle with his groin injury, but he did return to practice on Thursday. Xavien Howard has been limited by a knee injury as well, but he’s limited quarterbacks to 54.5 percent completions against him this year. Rookie Noah Igbinoghene will continue to see playing time and will need to play well.

Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick ‘excited’ to work with Tua Tagovailoa

The 37-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick said he was excited when he found out the Miami Dolphins drafted Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa.

Unlike some of the other teams that may have drafted a young signal-caller this offseason, the Dolphins currently have Ryan Fitzpatrick–a 17-year-veteran at the helm. And with an NFL offseason, unlike anything we’ve ever seen, there’s no need for Chris Grier and Brian Flores to rush Tua Tagovailoa into action. Not yet, anyway.

The truth is, Ryan Fitzpatrick played well enough in 2019 to lead Miami’s roster of misfits to five wins.

Couple that with his familiarity in Chan Gailey’s offense and the uncertain times which lie ahead, and it seems obvious Fitzpatrick is the starter for the immediate future.

But as a Harvard graduate, Fitzpatrick is smart enough to understand that the young, promising rookie will take over. And he knows that may come sooner rather than later.

Fitzpatrick had to say about his relationship with Tua and the QB competition heading into camp.



It is crystal clear that the Dolphins have spoken to Ryan Fitzpatrick about his role in 2020 and his importance in Tua’s development. I think it’s quite telling that he said the two QBs have already had the conversation about him being the placeholder. But like Fitz suggested countless times, he isn’t going just to lay down and let Tagovailoa take the starting QB job. The two players are going to do whatever they can to help the team win ball games–both on and off the field.

Fitzpatrick was then asked what it was about Tua’s personality that brought the two players together.

Here’s what the 37-year-old had to say.


The 2020 NFL season is going to be like nothing we’ve ever experienced.

But one thing that should be interesting is watching the Dolphins QB room grow from one week to the next.

Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick will be Miami’s starting QB week 1 vs. the Patriots. But unless he continues where he left off in 2019–the Tua Tagovailoa era in South Florida is inevitable.

Dolphins’ Ryan Fitzpatrick on Tua: “Loved Watching Him”

Dolphins’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and defensive tackle Davon Godchaux met with the South Florida media earlier today.

(Note: all quotes are paraphrased. Official quotes will be out later today.)

The two players spoke on multiple topics, but the biggest takeaway from this was that the future is bright in Miami.

First, Godchaux met with the media. And between trying to ride 40 miles on his bike and endless zoom meetings, he’s excited for the 2020 Dolphins.

Here’s what he had to say when asked his thoughts on what the Dolphins did this offseason.

Obviously, all the fans wanted a quarterback. That’s big drafting Tua. He had a great career at Alabama….Miami added depth and continued to get stronger, younger… Coach Flo is going to be consistent and expect great things out of you.

He then spoke on what is most important in football.

Lastly, GODchaux discussed what he believes is the process to building a winning franchise.

Everybody wants to win, but everyone has to take the steps to win. New England didn’t win overnight. It takes time to build the process. It’s always a process. I think it’s our time. Why not the Miami Dolphins? I think we kicked it off with a good draft…Sky is the limit

Focus then shifted to Dolphins’ QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. And the first thing everyone noticed was his epic facial hair, which has not been groomed since barbershops closed down.

Fitzpatrick’s main talking points were obviously rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa and the addition of offensive coordinator Chan Gailey this offseason.

When asked his thoughts on the Dolphins drafting a QB in round one:

It was expected. Tua happened to be the guy in that spot. They obviously really like him. I plan to be myself. To be an open book…but i’m also going to express my opinions and thoughts. I’m excited for him to be here. I loved watching him play in college.

He wrapped things up with his thoughts on Chan Gailey.

The Dolphins have a lot of new faces on both sides of the football. And players and coaches look forward to getting back into the facilities.

One thing however, is clear, and that is on paper; the Dolphins look much improved.

And for two of Miami’s veteran leaders, the sky is the limit.


Miami Dolphins: Ryan Fitzpatrick expected to be back with team in 2020

One part of the quarterback equation for the Miami Dolphins is not going anywhere.

At least one part of the Miami Dolphins quarterback equation will be solved in 2020. According to a report from Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier expects Ryan Fitzpatrick to be back in 2020.

Fitzpatrick performed well for Miami given the circumstances. He threw for 3,529 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. His best game came against the Cincinnati Bengals. In what was in overtime contest, he threw for 419 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. His 31 completions that day were his second-most on the season.

Fitzpatrick’s 20 touchdowns on the season were the most he threw in any season since 2015. That year, he threw 31 with the New York Jets. His passing yards were also the most he had in his career since 2015.

The veteran quarterback signed a two-year, $11 million contract with the Dolphins in 2019. This included  $7 million in guaranteed money.  This season, he will make an $8 million base salary.

The Dolphins figure to be in the quarterback market heading into this year’s draft. They have the fifth pick in the first round. They are meeting with several quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl this week. There has been an overwhelming line of thinking that the Miami Dolphins will select Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick. The Miami Dolphins certainly have a lot of options at their disposal.

What role Fitzpatrick will play in 2020 remains to be seen. He will either be the starting quarterback as Miami looks to develop a rookie. Alternatively, he could be a mentor as the rookie ascends to the starting role. Whatever the case may be, the Miami Dolphins are making an effort to try and bring stability and talent to the quarterback position. How they will execute it remains to be seen.

Dolphins Chris Grier

Pressure Point: Up to Chris Grier to build on Brian Flores’ good work

Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores just made the job of general manager Chris Grier a whole lot tougher.

So be it.

How can you care at all about the Dolphins and not find delight in the stunning 27-24 upset they pulled off Sunday in Flores’ finale as a rookie head coach in his first visit to New England, where he worked for 15 years in the Belichick regime?

Especially when it mucks up Patriots playoff plans, denying them a first-round bye.

Also considering Miami hadn’t won at Foxborough since September 2008.

I know. I know. By winning five of their last nine to finish 5-11, the Dolphins strayed far from the tanking playbook — which Flores always claimed he wasn’t in on anyway. And there is no choice but to believe him now.

Win didn’t hurt draft standing

Sunday didn’t alter their standing in the draft order anyway.

Trying to win by losing has always been a cockamamie concept. Of greater importance, the win at New England was the latest in a growing stack of evidence that the Dolphins finally have a coach they can win with.

It was remarkable, really, coming to New England as 17-point underdogs and considering the 43-0 debacle in Miami in Week 2.

Sure, now Flores must show he can win more meaningful games when given the tools to work with. But he achieved far more with less than Adam Gase did in taking the 2016 Dolphins to the playoffs in his first season.

But he has a locker room full of believers, and likely much of the fan base.

Now that this most confusing of Dolphins seasons is over, speculation can shift from what they may or may not be trying to achieve on the field to what they must accomplish in the NFL draft.

Now it’s all about what Grier will do with those three first-round and assorted extra draft picks (14 total in 2020).

Finding the quarterback of the future remains the general manager’s mandate despite the team’s competitive gains behind the inspired play of veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Dolphins give Patriots a taste of their own medicine

Tua tough call as first-round pick

The Dolphins have the No. 5 pick next April and may have a chance to select Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa (provided he enters the draft), who must come back from a significant hip injury.

Maybe Tua will fare better than Bo Jackson, whose mercurial career was halted by a hip injury. Considering the injuries to both ankles that have also sidelined Tagovailoa, his durability is an issue.

Grier will spend more time poring over Tua’s medical reports than his game film. It will take conviction to make that choice or another available quarterback.

Regardless of whichever quarterback Grier chooses, bringing back Fitzpatrick would buy time in the development process.

Fitz reached folk hero status with what he accomplished leading an offense devoid of any reliable running game. That was cemented Sunday by outplaying Tom Brady and orchestrating the winning touchdown drive capped by the payoff pass to Mike Gesicki.

That doesn’t change that Grier must come away from the draft with a quarterback, but it’s just the top of a laundry list of needs.

Numerous needs on offense, defense

On offense, the challenge is to upgrade the line and add a featured running back, through draft picks and signings.

The receiving corps is respectable, with DeVante Parker having a breakout year and Gesicki making major strides in his second season. But pass protection and blocking for the running game needs to improve.

On defense, pass rushers are top priority, on the line and at linebacker. An ever-changing cast in the defensive backfield held its own against Tom Brady on Sunday, highlighted by former Patriot Eric Rowe’s pick-six. But Grier will be looking for another cornerback and likely a safety, especially if Reshad Jones isn’t brought back.

Grier is on the clock and on the spot for 2020.

As for 2019, which began with getting outscored 163-26 in the first four games, Sunday’s stunner made it almost sad to see time expire.

One thing for sure, the time for hoping for losses is thankfully over.

Craig Davis has covered South Florida sports and teams, including the Dolphins, for four decades. Follow him on Twitter @CraigDavisRuns

Miami Dolphins: Ryan Fitzpatrick has record-setting day in win

The Miami Dolphins quarterback had a big day on Sunday.

The Miami Dolphins defeated the Cincinnati Bengals by a 38-35 score in what took five quarters of football to play. One of the major reasons Miami won on Sunday was the play of Ryan Fitzpatrick.

He has the nickname  Fitzmagic for a reason, and he showed why on Sunday. He went 31-of-52 on the day, throwing for 419 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception.

Fitzpatrick steps up right from the get-go

Fitzpatrick started his successful day early on. His pass to Christian Wilkins set the tone early, no matter how it looked. At the five minute mark in the first quarter, he threw a strike to Devante Parker for a seven-yard touchdown. That gave Miami a 14-0 lead.

Fitzpatrick would be silent until near the end of the second quarter. With 2:20 left in the quarter, he threw a pass to Mike Gesicki. Fitzpatrick and the tight end would find a connection twice in this game. A touchdown at the 8:24 mark in the third quarter would give Miami a 28-6 lead. Admittedly, that lead felt extremely safe at the time.

As the Bengals came roaring back, I wondered if Fitzpatrick would be able to keep up his level of play. He managed to do so, hanging in there and moving the ball downfield. The offensive line was a big part of that. Fitzpatrick was only sacked twice for a combined loss of 13 yards on the afternoon. It was great to see that unit be able to give him time in the pocket in order to get the job done.

Fitzpatrick put together a vintage performance

Sunday’s game was Ryan Fitzpatrick at his best. Just on the first drive alone, he got several wide receivers involved. Patrick Laird, Allen Hurns, Albert Wilson, and Christian Wilkins all recorded receptions to begin the game.

The reception by Wilkins was interesting to say the least. For those who didn’t see it, Fitzpatrick passed to Wilkins at the one-yard line where Wilkins was tackled. Wilkins fumbled the ball, got up and raced into the end zone to recover the ball for a touchdown. It wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done.

Any way you slice it, Fitzpatrick was able to get everyone involved on Sunday. This was a great game offensively for him. Whether you are pro-tank or anti-tank, there is no doubt that he makes this offense better. It will be interesting to see what he does against New England next Sunday. That defense will certainly present a formidable challenge.

DeVante Parker was missed by the Dolphins against the Jets

Wide receiver DeVante Parker has reached another level in 2019. Miami’s offense felt the void left by the fifth-year receiver after he suffered a concussion early in Sunday’s 22-21 loss to the New York Jets.

The Dolphins lacked a clear target that could push the offense into the end zone. They had drives stall at the 21, 13, 16, and twice at the 19. While kicker Jason Sanders finished the day with seven made field goals on eight attempts, finding the end zone once could’ve been the difference for Miami.

The offense lost traction after losing both DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson to concussions. Parker had only two receptions for 28 yards before exiting the game.

It was also the first time since Oct. 13 that Parker was held beneath 50 yards. 

“It definitely made it a little bit difficult,” quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said postgame about losing both Parker and Wilson. “We had guys out there hobbled and giving everything they had. I was proud to be in the huddle with those guys. I know there’s a lot of stuff people won’t see or don’t really care to write about, but there were some guys that really gutted it out today. It was tough sledding in the second half from communications and lining up for us just because of some of the injuries we had.”

The Dolphins entered action on Sunday as one of the league’s strongest teams inside the red zone. Parker helped Miami score with touchdown grabs of 17 and 43 against the Eagles in week 13.

Keep in mind, DeVante Parker has spent most of the season playing at an elite level. 

Mike Gesicki then caught a touchdown from 14 yards out after the defense turned its attention to Parker. The Dolphins tried to go back to Gesicki after Parker left the game on Sunday, but the second-year tight end finished with just one reception on six targets for just six yards.

Isaiah Ford stepped in and had career highs in both receptions (6) and yards (92). With that in mind, the Dolphins lacked a player with a nose for the end zone.

“He’s a guy that has done a great job of despite not being on the active roster,” offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea said of Ford. “He’s a conceptual learner, so he can line up anywhere and that happened in the game. He basically lined up at several different spots in the game. He did a good job of getting some other guys lined up, helping ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick) in the huddle.”

The Dolphins are excited to see Ford finding himself a role on the team. However, they’re hoping to get both Parker and Wilson back sooner rather than later. Both were still in concussion protocol as of Wednesday morning.

Coach Flores and players on the Miami Dolphins voice frustration following loss to Jets

In a game that meant little outside of draft position, Miami’s coach Brian Flores was fuming following Sunday’s 22-21 loss to the New York Jets.

Jets kicker Sam Ficken converted a game-winning field goal as time expired, but it was a play leading up to the kick that had Flores irate.

To make matters worst, the pass interference wasn’t called on the field, but was reviewed and reversed.

Flores didn’t want to answer questions about the call when speaking to the media. As we saw during the game, he was quite animated after discovering the no-call was reversed.

“It’s a tough call,” quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “We had guys step up. Pat Laird made some nice plays and Isaiah made some nice plays. Those are the things I try to focus on as the positives for us and the things we did well and maybe some of the things we could have done better. We obviously scratched and clawed our way back into that game and it would have been a nice one to win.”

Jason Sanders converted a franchise-record seven field goals in the loss. However, if Miami had found the end zone at least once, the call would’ve been a non-factor.

I think we’re all disappointed,” Fitzpatrick added. “We’re just disappointed in losing the football game. There’s a lot of emotions that go into that.”

Nik Needham finished with four tackles, two passes defended and was in coverage for the game-changing call.

“Honestly it’s trash,” Needham said of the call. “We lost on a call. It’s trash. I’m not going to lie.”

Despite low expectations, it is clear that the Dolphins were never trying to “tank” the season away.

“Any loss is tough to swallow,” Flores said.  “So, this is no different than any other loss. They’re all tough to swallow. Our guys played hard and I’m proud of the way they work. It’s a tough one.”



Dolphins displaying true ‘next man up’ mentality

One of the key philosophies of the New England Patriots for the past decade has been their ability to take backup players and make them play like starters. Whoever takes the place of the injured player has to provide the same level of play. Teams in the NFL look for that “next man up” mentality year in and year out. Only some actually manage to find it. However, it seems that the 2019 Miami Dolphins are on their way to putting it all together in that regard.

Observe what Miami has endured this season in the injury department. Even after trading a vast majority of their best players, those who remain on the team still are not contributing due to circumstances beyond their control. They are now all on season-ending injured reserve.

  • CB Xavien Howard – Knee
  • WR Jakeem Grant – Ankle
  • WR Preston Williams – ACL
  • SS Reshad Jones – Chest/Ankle
  • FS Bobby McCain – Shoulder

And the list goes on and on from there. As a result, the Dolphins are being forced to call on players who normally wouldn’t even make an NFL roster to take their place. Yet they make it work. They compete week in and week out in spite of their withering roster.

Unfortunately, it got even harder for Miami on Sunday. Both DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson, two of the Dolphins remaining wide receivers, left the Jets game with possible concussions. That left only Allen Hurns, newcomer Mack Hollins, and the returning Isaiah Ford as their wide receivers for the game. Parker is having a career year, so losing him especially hurt.

“It definitely made it a little bit difficult.” Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said after the game. “We had guys out there hobbled and giving everything they had. I was proud to be in the huddle with those guys. I know there’s a lot of stuff people won’t see or don’t really care to write about, but there were some guys that really gutted it out today. It was tough sledding in the second half from communications and lining up for us just because of some of the injuries we had.”

But again, while it was tough, it wasn’t impossible. Isaiah Ford responded by playing the best game of his career. The young receiver out of Virginia Tech caught six passes for 92 yards against New York. Obviously, he’s unhappy with the loss. But he’s glad he got a chance to show what he’s capable of.

“I’ve had confidence in myself the entire time that I can play at this level.” Ford said. “I know I can go on the field and help our team win.”

Undoubtedly, it’s good to see players like Ford stepping up. But who could predict the Dolphins would even be in this situation by this point?

“Just when you thought this season couldn’t get any crazier.” Fitzpatrick said. “Isaiah has been on the active (roster) and off, on the practice squad and up and down. He’s worked so hard. He’s a guy we have so much faith in as quarterbacks because whenever anybody has a question, sometimes when coaches have questions, we’ll go back to Isaiah and say, ‘What is this signal? What is this route?’ and he knows everything. I was happy to see him get out there and get an opportunity to catch some balls and really take advantage of it and make the most out of it today.”

In spite of that, Brian Flores admitted that it isn’t easy to compensate for the loss of top players like that.

“It complicates things a lot.” He said. “Obviously, when you go into a game with a specific game plan with guys in mind. When you lose one player at any position, you have a backup for that. When you lose two, that’s when it’s tough … Again, Isaiah Ford stepped in and played well. Mack Hollins who we just got a couple days ago, he stepped in and gave us some good snaps, drew a pass interference penalty. And then our tight end group, they really stepped up for us. So, I thought as a collective group, given the adversity of losing two guys, I thought we battled through it.”

Once again, coaching deserves credit for adapting and helping players shine in bad circumstances. Flores will have a lot of roster turnover come next season, with talent coming from free agency and the draft. But here and now, he has to work with what he has. What he has is not good. However, that’s what “next man up” is all about. The Dolphins are taking players who have far less talent, and bringing it to the wire every game. That alone is a sign of things to come.

Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for six years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung