In one of the more shocking results this season, the Miami Dolphins earned an upset win over the Baltimore Ravens.

Despite having four wins less than the Ravens going into the game, Miami got the win to give themselves the smallest glimmer of hope in terms of the playoff spots. So how did they do it and beat one of the Super Bowl favorites 22-10?

Defense Haunts Baltimore

The defense really stole the show in Miami. The Ravens were fresh off an overtime 34-31 win over the Minnesota Vikings, whereas the Dolphins beat the Houston Texans 17-9 in an unconvincing manner.

I cannot think of a single person, including myself, that backed the Dolphins to not only get the win but also win by a 12-point margin.

Brandon Jones and rookie Jevon Holland were excellent in Miami’s 3-3-5 formation on the defensive side of the ball. Only Byron Jones (9) had more tackles than Brandon (7), whereas Holland was everywhere. Him and wide receiver Jaylen Waddle have by far been the best two draft picks made by the Dolphins in this year’s draft. Both him and Jones were quick off the edge, stopping the Ravens in their tracks when they edged towards the first down marker.

The Dolphins recorded four sacks, with Elandon Roberts, Adam Butler, and Holland all getting one and Jaelen Phillips and Andrew Van Ginkel, both sharing a single sack.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, one of the MVP front runners, threw for one touchdown and interception. He was also the lead rusher but could only muster 39 rushing yards in what usually is his strong suit.

Cornerback Xavien Howard recorded arguably the most important play of the game. The Dolphins led 9-3 early in the fourth quarter. Baltimore was on 3rd and ten at their own 42-yard line. Lamar threw the ball to Sammy Watkins, who saw the ball knocked out of his hands by Howard, who picked the ball up and kept running thanks to some excellent blocking before going all the way to the endzone.

Miami limited the Ravens to just a 14.3% success rate when it came to third-down efficiency (2 from 14). This was huge as the defense kept the Dolphins in this game when the offense was not ticking. However, the offense changed when Jacoby Brissett went into the blue tent.

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The Introduction Of Tua

This was not a perfect performance from the Dolphins. They really struggled on offense. They could have killed off the Ravens in the first half after how poor the visitors were. Equally, the Ravens could have capitalized on a poor first-half display from the Miami offense. We saw this when the Bills beat Miami after going into the half level at 3-3.

Tua Tagovailoa was on the bench after not quite being healthy. Brissett started the game as he did against the Texans, but the team took a long time to convert on third down. He threw for 156 yards but no touchdowns nor interceptions. He then suffered an apparent knee injury and went into the blue tent. He came back seemingly ready to play. Head coach Brian Flores appeared to tell him that Tua was going to play. This leads to the question as to why Tua didn’t start in the first place.

Tagovailoa threw for more yards (158) from three fewer completions. He also ran for a crucial rushing touchdown late on that halted the Baltimore comeback momentum.

He didn’t have a perfect game and took a while to get going. Going from a right-hander to a left-hander mid-game is something teams do often never have to deal with. The team looked at a far better proposition with Tua than Brissett. This is despite the latter throwing for a 52-yard gain with less than 35 seconds left of the half to put them in field goal range.

Is There Any Playoff Hope?

Miami is now 3-7 as they can put their feet up on NFL Sunday. Playoffs are still an outside shot, but there is a chance. They play the New York Jets twice in their next four games, with one of those games off the back of a bye week.

They also play the inconsistent Carolina Panthers and New York Giants in that four-game stretch, the former presenting the biggest task. They then play the New Orleans and Tennessee Titans on the road before ending the season hosting the New England Patriots.

There are four very winnable games, with the Saints and Titans uncertain after injuries to certain players. They may have beaten the Los Angeles Rams, but it is unclear how they will get on without injured running back Derrick Henry. They may be battling for the number one seed, and with a poor division in the AFC South, they may have both the seed and division wrapped up by the time the two teams meet in week 17. This could lead to the resting of key players.

New Orleans has Trevor Siemian at quarterback, which does not fill Saints fans with much excitement. The Dolphins proved against the Ravens that they could stop the run, which hasn’t been something they have done a lot in recent years. If they can stop Lamar, they can also stop running back Alvin Kamara.

New England has been quietly going about their business this season. This is a challenging game, even at home in a stadium that has troubled the Patriots in recent years. Miami could realistically win 6 of their final seven games. Doing so would finish the season 9-8. The AFC is wide open, and this could just be enough to squeeze in.