Well Well Well. That was more like it. The Miami Dolphins won their second game of the season, beating the San Francisco 49ers 43-17.
The 49ers reached the Super Bowl last season and despite the injuries suffered to key players, their team was still better on paper.
However, the 49ers were not at their best and equally the Miami Dolphins were playing their best football of the season. It was arguably the Fins’ best performance under head coach Brian Flores.
FitzMagic On Display In San Francisco
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a day. He threw for three touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Fitz recorded 350 passing yards and a 78.6% completion percentage (22 from 28).
The game started off well for the Miami Dolphins, with a touchdown on their first drive.
The first offensive play for the Miami Dolphins was a great pass by Fitzpatrick. Equally there was a great catch from wide receiver Preston Williams, for a 47 yard gain.
This seemed to set the mood, with Fitzpatrick finding tight end Adam Shaheen in the end zone. This happened after Fitzpatrick found Isaah Ford for an eleven yard gain on 3rd and 11 to move Miami down the field.
A 17 yard rushing would kickstart a drive that found tight end Mike Gesicki for 12 yards and then Preston Williams on the next play for 19 yards. Fitzpatrick would soon find receiver DeVante Parker in the end zone for 22 yards and a touchdown. This put the Miami Dolphins 21-7 up.
Miami unfortunately didn’t make the most Fitzpatrick’s excellent pass to Gesicki for 70 yards on the following drive. The Dolphins had to resort to a Jason Sanders field goal.
This would become a big night for the kicker with Sanders making franchise history. Sanders was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week during the win over San Francisco.
He made it 14 of 14 so far this season. Noone has had more field goals to start a season than Sanders. His 14 consecutive field goals puts him second behind Indianapolis Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship in the NFL this season.
Impressive Miami Defense
I had been critical of the Miami Dolphins’ ability to allow big plays and the incapability of stopping the run.
However, with the Dolphins leading 7-0 in the first quarter, 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon was stopped on 4th and 1. Miami took advantage of this by going 14-0 up, thanks to Myles Gaskin finding the end zone with the one yard gain.
These are the things the great teams do, so this is encouraging for a young Miami Dolphins team. The second youngest roster in the NFL would further add to their stoppages of crucial plays when they stopped San Francisco on 3rd and 3 late in the first quarter.
There were times when Miami were their old selves, allowing San Francisco to get back into the game and make it 14-7.
Raheem Mostert ran for a huge gain of 37 yards before full back Kyle Juszczyk ran in with ease to the end zone from 7 yards.
However, the Miami Dolphins can be happy overall with how the team dealt with the 49ers side.
Miami would record two interceptions off 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo late on in the second quarter. First it was safety Bobby McCain and then cornerback Xavien Howard got in on the act. This caused the former Tom Brady backup to be benched at half time. C.J. Beathard was the man to come in.
Despite the touchdown in the third quarter from San Francisco 49ers receiver Kendrick Bourne, Beathard failed to change the 49ers’ fortunes.
This is the most fun i have had watching the Miami Dolphins this season. It was one of the best performances of recent memory. Despite the poor showing from San Francisco, Miami Dolphins equally put on a great performance. They announced themselves to the rest of the league with this win.
Miami Dolphins can certainly make a play off push based on this result as they move to 2-3. Despite the Buffalo Bills’ poor showing on Tuesday against the Tennessee Titans, the Bills (4-1) will still be too good for Miami over the course of the whole season.
However, the wildcard spot should not be considered out of the realms of possibility. I have previously written during the off season as to why i felt Miami would make the playoffs as a wildcard team. This game has not changed my mind.