What else can you say? Raise your hand if you thought the Miami Dolphins were coming back down 21 points in the 4th quarter. If your hand is up, you are nuts or overconfident. I didn’t know the Dolphins had that in them. I was curious how the offense would respond in its first road game of the season against the Baltimore Ravens because it was the Ravens’ home opener, and they play well at home, especially against the Dolphins.
The Dolphins had a relatively easy win in their season opener against the New England Patriots, and they have had their number lately. The offense didn’t play particularly well, so it was going to be interesting how they would respond, as well as would the defense play as they did last year against the Ravens, and I felt it would be different. This game was.
It started on the opening kickoff when Devin Duvernay returned the opening kickoff, 103 yards untouched. Talk about a way not to start the game, but quarterback Tua Tagovailoa led the Dolphins into Ravens territory until he threw an interception at the 20. Then came a turning point in the game.
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They drove down to the Dolphins’ 1-yard line and took ten and a half minutes off the clock. Lamar Jackson had a one-yard touchdown overturned by replay, and the Ravens went for it on 4th and goal from the one only to turn it over on downs after Jackson fumbled the snap. The Dolphins responded with a 59-yard catch and run from Tagovailoa to Jaylen Waddle, and that sparked the Dolphins to a touchdown to tie the game. What 14-point swing that was going from going down 14-0 to instead tied at 7-7.
From there, the Ravens dominated the rest of the first half. Jackson was shredding the Dolphins’ defense, highlighted by a 75-yard catch and run to Rashad Bateman. He burned Xavien Howard, who played probably the worst game of his career. The Ravens ended up scoring three unanswered touchdowns to take a 28-7 lead at the half. Tagovailoa, before the half, threw another bad interception and things looked bleak. I almost turned off the game because it looked like another Ravens blowout win in Baltimore, but I’m constantly reminded there are two halves in football.
In the 3rd quarter, the Dolphins went down the field and got a touchdown pass from Tagovailoa to Mike Gesicki to cut the deficit to 28-14. However, the Ravens came right back as Jackson busted loose for a 79-yard touchdown to go up 35-14 in the 4th quarter. At this point, I know we’ll lose, but let’s see if they can finish strong.
Tagovailoa led the offense to a touchdown to start the 4th quarter, capped off with a 5-yard touchdown pass to River Cracraft. Now it was up to the defense, and the game’s turning point came when the Ravens went for it on 4th and one at the Dolphins’ 41. If the Ravens make it, they probably go on to score and put the game away, but the defense rose up and stuffed Jackson short of the first down to give the offense the ball back. Then Tagovailoa hit Tyreek Hill, who missed part of the 2nd half with cramps and came back, for a 46-yard touchdown to pull within a touchdown. The defense had to make another stop and got bailed out by the Ravens’ rookie tight end dropping a wide-open pass at midfield to force them to punt and give the ball back to the offense. Tagovailoa hit Hill again for a 60-yard touchdown pass, and the game was tied. However, the Dolphins needed to rise up again, but this time the Ravens got into field goal range, and the defense held them to a long field goa but left over two minutes left in the game.
Now comes a big moment for Tagovailoa to lead his team down the field with the game on the line. He calmly hit some throws, and then Chase Edmonds broke free to give the Dolphins a first and goal at the 7. A couple of plays later, Tagovailoa hit Waddle for the game-winning touchdown to get the Dolphins to 2-0.
It’s hard to believe the Dolphins would win in this fashion, considering we haven’t seen this from a Dolphins offense in over two decades. Plus, since Tagovailoa has been the quarterback, we haven’t seen him bring his team from behind in this fashion, other than his rookie year against the Arizona Cardinals. One of the things I wanted to see was if this offense could step up when the defense was having a bad day to pick up the slack. Well, the offense answered the call on Sunday against a very good Ravens team on the road. The Dolphins made a lot of moves this off-season to improve the offense, and we started to see a sample of what this offense could become. They have a lot of other areas they need to improve, like the running game and the offensive line coming together, but Sunday showed this could be a different offense this year and one that doesn’t need to be carried by the defense. If the Dolphins can play complimentary football as they did in the 4th quarter Sunday, they will win many games this year, and who knows? The Dolphins’ offense has to carry this momentum for the rest of the season, and if Sunday was a sample, I can’t wait to see what it could become.