If you don’t know, now you know.
The Miami Dolphins are the hottest team in the National Football League after starting the season 1-7.
The hometown kid, Duke Johnson, rushed for 107 yards and had a career-best two touchdowns, helping the Dolphins extend their six-game winning streak after erasing an early 10-0 deficient for a 31-24 win over the New York Jets.
Dolphins’ won their sixth straight game, the first time since 2016, and improved to 7-7.
Johnson took advantage of the opportunity given because of players placed under Covid-19 safety protocol, especially wide receiver Jaylen Waddle who was part of the virus-related issues leading up to the game. Johnson was the next man up playing the football game of his dreams.
Johnson gave the Dolphins a new dimension from the running back position, finishing with 22 carries, 107 yards, and career-best two touchdowns. His last game with at least two rushing touchdowns was in 2014, playing college football for the Miami Hurricanes.
Johnson became the Dolphins’ first 100-yard rusher since December 20, 2020, versus the New England Patriots 15 games ago.
Tua Tagovailoa finished 16 of 27 for 196 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a pick-six with 7:45 to play in the fourth quarter, tying the game for the Jets. He connected on touchdown passes with DeVante Parker and the play of the game, a short touchdown reception for 6’10, 310-pound defensive lineman Christian Wilkins who showed off his impressive “worm” celebration.
The Dolphins became the second team in NFL history to get to 7-7 after starting a season 1-7. The other team on that list — the Jets, in 1974. The season was only 14 weeks back then, so that’s where the Jets’ turnaround ended and did so without a playoff berth.
New York had a halftime lead for the first time all season yet couldn’t finish things off. Brandin Echols had a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown midway through the fourth for the Jets (3-11). Zach Wilson and Braxton Berrios rushed for scores for New York; Wilson completed 13 of 23 passes for 170 yards for the Jets.
Miami swept the Jets for the second consecutive season, the first time since 1996 and 1997. The Dolphins have won eight of the last nine meetings with the Jets; Miami’s last 8-1 run in the series was from 1982 through 1985, including a victory in the AFC championship game on January 23, 1983.
This is a remarkable comeback. The sky was falling when they were 1-7. There were talks of Brian Flores being fired, general manager Chris Grier in the hot seat. Tagovailoa in trade talks for Deshaun Watson. Now, look at this turnaround. It has become one of the in Dolphins history.
Parker is never a problem when he is available playing wide receiver; his problem is when he is unavailable to play. Will he play for the Dolphins the next three games? He will be so valuable in games that it will not be an easy task down the stretch.
You have to be happy for Johnson. He was unable to get on an NFL roster for half the season. He gets on the practice squad and takes advantage of the opportunity to help his hometown team win a valuable division win in the middle of a winning streak. Dolphins don’t win the game without Johnson. I will be shocked if the dolphins don’t sign him to the 53-man roster, not giving other teams the chance to sign him off the practice squad.
Tua did not play well. The run game and defense helped cover his flaws. He has played better during this win streak since returning from injury. He was impressive after throwing the pick-six, keeping his composure after coming up with game driving touchdown to Parker. He is young but has a bright future.
Dolphins visit the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans on Monday night. The dolphins are a better team than the Saints; the game will be worth the hype with huge playoff implications.
The Jets host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Kwanzaa.
Photo – Miami Dolphins media communications