The Miami Dolphins earned their tenth win of the season after a nail-biting finish as the Dolphins beat the Raiders 26-25. Kicker Jason Sanders got the winning field goal, which seemed out of the realms of possibility when the Raiders took the lead late on.
This now leaves the Miami Dolphins on a 10-5 record with just one game left of the regular season. If they beat the Bills next Sunday, then the Dolphins are in the playoffs.
Tua’s Struggles and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Fourth Quarter Heroics
Tua Tagovailoa was benched after a disappointing performance, throwing for one touchdown and just 94 passing yards.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was brought in and appeared to make a difference. He looked more comfortable in making the deep throws, as we saw in his first drive.
On 1st and 10, with over 5 minutes remaining, Fitz found tight end Mike Gesicki. With the ball snapped at the 45-yard line, the pass to Gesicki was caught for a catch that resulted in the next play being inside the five-yard line.
The drive would end in a field goal but getting these chip shot field goals rather than going for it on fourth can often win a game for teams in closely contested games. This was one of those occasions. Both teams took the field goal opportunity when it presented itself.
With 19 seconds remaining and the Dolphins 25-23 down in the 20-yard line, the game looked over for Miami. However, Fitzpatrick found a way. Fitzpatrick found Mack Hollins around the 41-yard line for a 34 yard gain. He did this despite the face mask, which the Raiders were flagged for. This would result in a 15-yard penalty.
Miami went for a pass on the next play but Fitzpatrick threw it away. Jason Sanders then came on to the field for a 44-yard attempt at the winning field goal, which Sanders ended up doing to give the Dolphins the win.
Tua may have been benched but head coach Brian Flores has said that he will remain the starter. Miami have a great situation where they have two capable quarterbacks that can be switched around based on performance.
Struggles In The Secondary
Defensive backs Bryon Jones and Eric Rowe struggled in this game against the Raiders offense. Often Waller would beat Rowe in coverage. We also saw Byron Jones struggle in a play in the fourth quarter by the Raiders with just under four minutes remaining and the score at 16-16.
Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr made a throw on the Raiders’ ten-yard line and found wide receiver Nelson Agholor around the 50-yard line. Beating Jones in man to man coverage, Agholor also managed to get past safety Bobby McCain and give the Raiders the lead.
The problems carried on for Jones in the fourth quarter. With Miami leading 23-22 and the Raiders in the 31-yard line, Carr attempted the pass to Agholor who looked to be beating Jones in coverage. It was an incomplete pass but Jones was penalised for pass interference.
This put the Raiders in field goal range and Vegas ran the clock down before kicker Daniel Carlson gave the Raiders the lead with 20 seconds. Thankfully for Jones, the aforementioned winning field goal meant his error went unpunished. This is something Flores will have to be wary of against the Bills and the deep threat of Josh Allen’s arm and wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley.
Myles Gaskin’s Excellent Return To The Offense
Myles Gaskin missed gametime being stuck on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Gaskin made one of the more crucial plays of the game, less than a minute later on the game clock after Agholor’s touchdown.
Around the 45 yard line, Fitzpatrick threw to Gaskin, who picked it up for what seemed a six-yard gain and second down. Instead, Gaskin shed a tackler and ran on the outside. He kept going, beating Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen and racing towards the endzone.
Gaskin ended the day with 82 receiving yards from 5 receptions, two receiving touchdowns and 87 rushing yards.
Can the Miami Dolphins reach the playoffs?
The Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns both lost today and the Baltimore Ravens beat the New York Giants. This puts the Colts, Browns, Dolphins and Ravens all on 10-5.
This will result in a nail-biting week 17 on the road against the Buffalo Bills.