— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) January 9, 2023
The Miami Dolphins are taking their talent to the playoffs. The way they made it there is another story.
Jason Sanders connected on a 50-yard field goal with 18 seconds remaining to help the Dolphins with an 11-6 win over the New York Jets.
Sanders made three field goals in the game for the Dolphins.
Neither team scored a touchdown; neither team committed a turnover, one playoff-bound team.
It is the Dolphin’s first postseason berth since 2016.
Miami (9-8) snapped a five-game losing streak and then had to wait a few minutes for the Buffalo Bills to defeat the New England Patriots 35-23 to make the Dolphins’ playoff appearance official.
Miami will play at Buffalo in the first round of the playoffs next Sunday at 1:00 pm. The AFC East rivals split the season series, each winning at home.
The Jets (7-10) ended the season with six straight losses. New York failed to score a touchdown in its final three games.
The eleven points for the Dolphins resulted in the Jets lateraling the ball a few times before Elijah Moore fumbled, the ball was recovered by Garrett Wilson, and he was ruled to be tackled in the end zone for a safety.
Skylar Thompson started his second game of the season for the Dolphins after replacing the injured Teddy Bridgewater in last Sunday’s loss at New England. Bridgewater, who dislocated the pinkie finger on his throwing hand, was in for Tua Tagovailoa.
Tagovailoa remains in the concussion protocol after sustaining his second known concussion of the season on Christmas against Green Bay. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel did not say whether Tagovailoa might be available against the Bills.
Tyreek Hill was limited by an ankle injury sustained in the first half, but he only briefly left the game. He caught two passes on five targets for 23 yards, his fewest in a game this season.
Joe Flacco completed 18 of 33 passes with 149 yards for the Jets in place of Mike White, who is dealing with broken ribs.
An 11-6 score is rare. The Dolphins made the playoffs. It was not pretty. However, they did it. It was a successful season. No matter what happens, the rest of the way under Mike McDaniel. The Dolphins were able to get over .500. It was a challenge the last two months of the season, especially with the health of their quarterback; however, they will be going to the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and try to win a playoff game for the first time in two decades.
The Dolphins are taking their talents to Buffalo to face a Bills team that, along with their fans, demonstrated an emotional atmosphere in their final home game, playing and supporting Damar Hamlin.
Hamlin may be in attendance and give a pregame speech; if not he will be felt in Highmark Stadium. The Dolphins will face a test they will have to pass with a perfect score, especially when there are so many question marks at the quarterback position.
If doctors clear Tagovailoa, he is their best chance to win the game. I doubt the Dolphins will win the Super Bowl this year, so not playing will be an investment in the Dolphins’ future. If he does not play and the Dolphins sit him out, go with Teddy Bridgewater or Thompson and give it your best shot.
Bridgewater would be an upgrade. At the moment, Thompson brings little to the table as a passer. The Bills are one the most explosive offenses in the NFL. Josh Allen is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The Dolphins will need all of the help to score points. Jaylen Waddle and Hill will need to be more significant factors in the game. You have to get the ball to your playmakers.
The Dolphins will need more than 11 points to win at Buffalo. This is their biggest challenge of the year. They will learn the playoffs are another level of intensity compared to the regular season. There are key contributors on this Dolphins team that are going in the wrong direction health-wise. A plus effort will be needed to beat the Bills on the road.
When you look at the big picture, Mike McDaniel was able to get Tua as confident as he has ever been and believe in himself. Did he get two of the best wide receivers in the NFL to score points? Yes. The defense bent but did not break. The Dolphins began this rebuild in 2019; it is now in year four; the hope is they will be surging into the playoffs, not limping into the playoffs. Things McDaniel is responsible for; he has done a good job. Now, the postseason begins on his resume.