Week 18 Game Review

All that mattered was that they won…right? The Miami Dolphins put up just enough points on the board to beat a New York offense that was historically bad. They failed to score a touchdown in the two previous games and kept the streak going on Sunday. It meant they joined Washington in the last decade as the only other team to not score a touchdown in their last three games, they averaged a massive five points and 231 total yards per game in the closing stretch.

The Dolphins got on the board first, but not before failing on a fourth down conversion, a missed New York field goal and a number of punts. The snooze fest was interrupted late in the half with a field goal by both teams, Jason Sanders converted form 37-yards and Greg Zuerlein knocked one through from 32-yards. That was pretty much it for excitement, there were a total of 13 first downs in the half with neither team managing to break the goal line. As we suspected the Jets defense was up to the task and their offense wasn’t.  

Joe Flacco was dusted off in an attempt to provide a spark to the woeful offense but the veteran QB didn’t do anything to improve the situation and finished with 149-yards and a passer rating of 66.4. You could argue that Miami were very fortunate to play New York, any other team with a half respectable offense may have given them more problems. There were instances when New York threatened to score anything other than three points, but the Dolphins defense stepped up and kept the visitors from crossing the goal line.

The New York ground game didn’t help as the Miami front finished the regular season on a strong note. They limited the Jets to a pitiful 38-yards on 20 carries which was a complete turnaround from the first match-up. The Dolphins on the other hand had their way, with Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert rushing for 70+ yards a piece at a healthy 4.5 and 6.5 yards a carry respectably. The running game showed up just at the right time and will hopefully continue to grind out yards next week while keeping Josh Allen on the bench. The only worry is that Mostert left the game with a broken thumb and is now doubtful for the upcoming weekend.

This will be a major loss as Skylar Thompson continues to struggle, he needs to trust his instincts and arm. There were a number of times during the game when he had receivers open and failed to take advantage, either through indecision or lack of confidence. There is no doubting his arm strength but he takes far to long to decide where he is going with the ball. He made a couple of nice throws, in particular when he hit Durham Smythe for 26-yards and Tyreek Hill for 15, but they were few and far between. On the plus side, he has shown that he can keep a play alive, getting the offense out of trouble when things break down.

The second half started with the Jets punting the ball, the Dolphins then showed some signs of life and went on a time consuming 16 play, 72-yard drive that faltered just inside the red zone. Jason Sanders came out and converted the chip shot. The Jets weren’t done though as they put together a long drive of their own which extended into the fourth quarter. Things were looking decidedly dodgy until they found themselves with a 4th and 5 at the 17, luckily Robert Saleh decided to take the 3 points rather than go for broke. The score would stay deadlocked at 6 right up until Miami’s last possession when a horse collar tackle on Jaylen Waddle propelled them close enough for Sanders to attempt a long field goal. The beleaguered kicker came out, the distance not being a certainty, but on this attempt he punched it through the goal posts with plenty to spare. It gave the Dolphins the lead with 18 seconds left.

There was the ensuing lateral fest all over the field by the Jets in a last-ditch attempt to come away with a victory. It wasn’t to be and it resulted in New York giving up a safety to finish the game. On the back of the win and a New England loss Miami now find themselves travelling back to Buffalo for their first play-off appearance in what seems like an eternity.