By: Chip Turner
There’s one more game to be played in the Miami Dolphins season. After a Saturday night game that caused almost every fan on the planet to lose their minds, the team is heading to Buffalo for what is likely a must-win game against the Bills with the playoffs on the line.
Nobody saw this Miami Dolphins 2020 season coming. Not you, not me, not anybody outside of, possibly, Brian Flores’s office. The fact that they control their own destiny as the #5 seed is a monumental tribute to Flores, Chris Grier, and the entire Miami Dolphins team. They are a beacon of hope in an otherwise dismal year.
So as the year draws to a close, here’s a look back at the absolutely raucous joyride that was the Miami Dolphins season.
Game 1 - @ New England: The revamped Dolphins, with no pre-season, came out flat in their season opener. They lost 21-11, their worst points loss of the season to date. That is not a typo. After the game, Cam Newton accused two Dolphins players of trying to steal a chain he was wearing, but said he didn’t want to detract from a team win by drawing attention to himself. He illustrated this selflessness by dressing up as Professor Trelawney from Harry Potter for future press conferences. Record: 0-1
Game 2 – Buffalo: Miami’s home opener was spoiled by Buffalo and one of the weirder television events of 2020. From the end of the 1st quarter through the middle of the second quarter, CBS simply lost power. We have cars that can drive themselves and dancing AI robots, but CBS somehow had no backup plan for their broadcast. Anyway, the Dolphins lost, 31-28. There are those who will tell you the game wasn’t as close as the score indicates; those people didn’t watch the game.
Game 3 – @ Jacksonville: With the Dolphins fanbase nearing revolt, Miami marched into Jacksonville and put a beating on the Jaguars, 31-13. The score pretty well indicates how close the game was. It’s also the game that made me ask, “Who the heck is this James Robinson kid?” It turns out that he’s pretty good. Record: 1-2.
Game 4 – Seattle: This is the game where the fanbase lost its collective mind. Miami lost 31-23 to a very good Seattle team, and very nearly got the ball at midfield on a very, very shady first down call with under two minutes to go. Fitzpatrick threw a costly fourth-quarter pick, and the fanbase wanted Tua. Record: 1-3.
Game 5 - @San Francisco: One thing we can say about Dolphins fans; they’re patient. They don’t fly off the handle and call for the firing of the head coach, GM, and forcible removal of the owner if a rebuild takes more than one season to complete.
Oh. Wait. Never mind. That’s exactly what happened. The Dolphins responded by up and beating the ever-loving holy bejeezus out of the 49ers, 43-17, and they could have easily dropped a 50-burger. The defense stifled Garoppolo all the way to the bench, and C.J. Beathard didn’t fare much better. Record: 2-3.
Game 6 – Jets: This game was rescheduled due to COVID-19, but it didn’t matter all that much. The Ghost of Joe Flacco also started in place of Sam Darnold, but that didn’t matter, either. Miami easily handled the Jets, 24-0, despite their offense sputtering in the second half. Record: 3-3. Following this game, Tua was named the starter against the Rams after the bye.
Game 7 - Rams: Things were going well for Jared Goff and the Rams for nearly a full quarter. They got a strip-sack of Tua on his very first snap, and they led 7-0 until the very last play of the first quarter. Unfortunately for Goff, he got Van Ginkeled and Van Noyed in a second quarter that saw Miami take a 28-7 lead. That was all the Dolphins defense needed to help Miami cruise to a 28-17 win. Record: 4-3.
Game 8 - @Cardinals: Please, those who want to call Tua a bust…watch this game again. Tua led Miami to a 4th-quarter comeback in an outstanding win against Arizona, and Miami won 34-31. Reportedly, the officiating crew from this game called another pass interference call against Xavien Howard this past Monday, just because they felt like it. Record: 5-3.
Game 9 - Chargers: This game was supposed to be Tua vs. Herbert, but it very quickly became Miami jumping out to an early lead, then simply throttling Justin Herbert. The Chargers scored a TD with less than 2 minutes left to make the final score 29-21. Herbert subsequently joined a cult and cut off all of his hair, leading a Chargers executive to ask, “Did we accidentally draft Eddie Munster?” Record: 6-3.
Game 10 - @Denver Broncos: This one was all my fault. I predicted an easy Miami win, but Denver shut down Tua, executed a very simple offense well, and beat the Dolphins 20-13. Tua was benched for the first time, everyone lost their minds, and the season was lost, right? Right? Record: 6-4.
Game 11 - @Jets: Wrong. If there’s one cure-all for Miami over the last few years, it’s playing against the Jets. This time they faced Sam Darnold, but it didn’t matter much. Fitzpatrick started for an injured Tua, and the Jets continued their ill-fated quest for Trevor Lawrence as Miami won 20-3. Record: 7-4.
Game 12 – Bengals: There was no Joe Burrow to make this game interesting, and the Dolphins knocked around Brandon Allen and Ryan Finley in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Miami won, 19-7. Record: 8-4.
Game 13 – Chiefs: If there was any question about whether or not the Dolphins were for real, this is the game that answered it. Miami showed up. Tua showed up. Miami’s defense made Patrick Mahomes look human, and the Dolphins gave the defending Super Bowl champions everything they could handle. The Chiefs won 33-27, in a loss that felt more like a sign of good things to come than a disappointment. Record: 8-5.
Game 14 – Patriots: This is the game that felt like the end of the Patriots dominance over Miami. No Parker? No Gesicki? No Gaskin? No Grant? No problem. Without four of their offensive weapons, the Dolphins simply out-Patrioted the Patriots. They ran an effective game plan that New England couldn’t stop, and booted the Patriots out of the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. Miami won, 22-12. Record: 9-5.
Game 15 - @Raiders: This was a genuinely boring game until the 4th quarter…and then all hell broke loose. I don’t think I can adequately sum up this game that was tied, then lost, then won, then lost, then won again in the 4th quarter, so I’ll just type out the texts that I received:
Miami won one of the more miraculous games in recent memory, 26-25. Record: 10-5.
And that’s where we stand headed into Orchard Park this Sunday. Win, and they’re in the playoffs. No matter what happens, this has been a season that far exceeded any reasonable expectations. With strong candidates for Coach of the Year, Executive of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and a bevy of quality draft picks, there’s only one direction the Fins are headed. Fins…up.
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