Instant Analysis of Week 18 Miami Win

The Miami Dolphins walked away from Sunday afternoon’s game with a 33-24 victory over the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium, winning the sweep of the season over Bill Belichick’s team.

Miami’s offense leaned heavily on their rushed offense, as they rushed for 194 yards and one touchdown on 42 attempts (4.6 yards per carry). Duke Johnson got the majority of the touches, rushing 25 times and giving fans plenty of reasons to want to see him back in the Dolphins jersey next season.

Tua Tagovailoa also showed surprising wheels at times with some rushes of the first key clutch. In the air, Tagovailoa completed 15 of 22 attempts (68.2%) for 109 yards and a touchdown to Jaylen Waddle. He’s had at least three attempted passes that should have been intercepted, but Miami was somewhat lucky.

Speaking of the extended rookie, with five receptions for 27 yards and one touchdown, he passed Anquan Boldin for the most receptions by a rookie in NFL history, setting the new record at 104.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the game, offensively, was that right tackle Jesse Davis was benched in favor of Robert Jones. When Jones was there, before he got injured, he looked solid and the offensive line didn’t seem to let go of the constant pressure from the right side. That should mean the end of Davis’ time as a starter.

In defense, the Dolphins got a great start from cornerback Xavien Howard who intercepted Mac Jones on his very first pass attempt of the afternoon and returned him for a touchdown.

They struggled on points for the rest of the game, but for the most part, the Miami defense held up. Christian Wilkins and Andrew Van Ginkel walked away with a bag each, and Emmanuel Ogbah finished the day with two defended passes.

From the often overlooked third phase of the game, the Dolphins managed to get Jason Sanders to score his two field goals and his three extra point attempts. Bettor Michael Palardy also had a strong day, nabbing the Patriots inside the 20-yard line twice, including late in the game. This gave the opportunity to steal the ball on a sideways attempt for a time-out touchdown.

Miami’s season may not have culminated in a playoff berth, but they showed a lot on the home stretch to stage a winning season after losing seven of their first eight games. There are things to build in South Beach.