The Miami Dolphins season has come to a bitter end.
Bitter because they ended the season winning eight of their last nine games; however, they will not be taking their talents to the playoffs, finishing 9-8.
On Sunday, the Dolphins finished their season by defeating the playoff-bound New England Patriots 33-24.
The Dolphins have had back-to-back winning season for the first time in nearly 20 years.
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Miami became only the second team to win its AFC East meetings against New England in the past 21 years. Buffalo did it in 2020; before that, Miami and the New York Jets did it in 2000.
It has been hard for the Patriots to win on South Beach. They are now 9-13 all-time with Bill Belichick as their head coach.
The Patriots have lost three of their last four games.
Jaylen Waddle received a touchdown reception and set the NFL record for receptions in a rookie year. Anquan Boldin’s set the NFL rookie record of 101 catches in 2003. The Waddle celebration continues to grow after another end zone appearance.
Tua Tagovailoa managed the game. He had a critical first down run in the final moments to seal the game. He finished 15 of 22 for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Duke Johnson rushed for 117 yards and a score for Miami.
The Dolphins’ defense continues to impress moreover have been so valuable down the stretch of the season. Xavien Howard, who is taking his talents to the Pro Bowl, returned an interception for a touchdown.
In one season, Dolphins defensive lineman Christian Wilkins broke the NFL record for most tackles by a defensive tackle. He finished the year with 89 total tackles, 4.5 sacks, and even had an impressive touch catch and celebration.
Brandon Bolden two touchdowns — one rushing, one was receiving — for the Patriots (10-7), headed to the playoffs as a wild card after their loss handed the AFC East title to the Buffalo Bills.
The Patriots’ are going to Buffalo for a wild-card game on Saturday night.
Rookie quarterback Mac Jones completed 20 of 30 passes for 261 yards for New England. He will get his first taste of the NFL playoffs.
It was not a successful season. Dolphins did not make the playoffs. However, it is one of the remarkable turnarounds in NFL history. The defense is one of the best in the NFL. There is tons to look forward to, however, the offseason questions will involve the quarterback position and contracts to review.
Head Coach Brian Flores will be on the fence. He has not made the playoffs since he arrived at Miami. However, a positive turnaround after a 1-7 start is not easy to stomach. Fans are encouraged by the turnaround, but owner Stephen Ross will have the end of the year face to face to determine if he feels good about moving forward. This win over the Patriots is an encouraging hand, along with coach of the year whispers.
Tua is an optimistic young quarterback in the locker room with good character. He has shown improvement signs though he can’t make every throw on the field, especially down the field. Do the Dolphins want a franchise quarterback? If Yes, he is not that, instead he Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson is. I will not be surprised if the Dolphins are aggressive and explore upgrading the position.
Running back Duke Johnson was on the practice squad to rushing for a couple of 100-yard games for the Dolphins. The future is bright for the Miami, Florida native. Johnson has shared he wants to be back but is grateful for the opportunity also.
Chris Grier has done some impressive things regarding the NFL draft. Dolphins will need to fix their issues at the offensive coordinator position, the offensive line needs help, and the running game needs improving.
Let the off-season and post-season begin.
Dolphins will prepare for next season, starting from coaching to position players.
Patriots will visit Buffalo on Saturday night in a wild-card game. The teams split their two regular-season matchups, with the road team winning each time.