It wasn’t pretty, and frankly, it doesn’t matter because the Miami Dolphins are going to the playoffs after beating the New York Jets 11-6 and getting help from the Buffalo Bills beating the New England Patriots. It should never have come down to the last game of the year having to win with a rookie quarterback and getting help from a hated division rival for the Dolphins to get in after being 8-3 one month ago. No matter what, it doesn’t matter because the Dolphins are going to the playoffs for the first time since 2016, and it doesn’t matter how ugly it was to get in. 

The Dolphins had to grind out an ugly win against the Jets. The Dolphins started rookie Skyler Thompson, and he played well and made enough plays to help the Dolphins win and, most importantly, didn’t turn the ball over. The Jets, just like the Dolphins, came in losing five games in a row, and just like the Dolphins a month ago were in the thick of the playoff race a month ago but collapsed and got eliminated a week ago. It looked like it at times today the Dolphins were going to suffer the same fate and get eliminated from the playoffs. Frankly, it would have been not very comfortable if the Dolphins missed the playoffs because they have too much talent and are better than the Patriots, Jets, and Pittsburgh Steelers. It would have been worse than the 1993 collapse when the Dolphins were 9-2, lost their last five games, and missed the playoffs. 

There was talk that if the Dolphins missed the playoffs, owner Stephen Ross might fire general manager Chris Grier and head coach Mike McDaniel. Now that might have been extreme, but who could blame Ross? The Dolphins were 8-3 and looked like they had a chance to win the division and possibly get home-field advantage. However, things went sideways in a hurry. The offense went into a funk, and the defense took a step back. It’s not coming up with key stops or plays. As a fan, I thought, here we go again, and the Dolphins find a way to screw things up. 

However, the Dolphins came up with the plays to win today and kicker Jason Sanders, who struggles from long distances, made a 50-yard field goal to give the Dolphins the win. Sanders has had another up-and-down year, but he came up big when the team needed him. 

Now it’s on to Buffalo, and the Dolphins had them on the ropes a few weeks ago and lost on a last-second field goal. The Bills are considered by many the favorites in the AFC, so they are going to be favored and expected to win. The biggest question this week is going to be who will start at quarterback for the Dolphins. Even if Tua Tagovailoa clears the concussion protocol, do the Dolphins risk starting him since he’s had multiple concussions? Is Teddy Bridgewater’s pinky going to be healthy enough for him to throw the ball effectively? Or are we going to see Thompson again? It will be interesting to see how things unfold. To me, Tagovailoa gives the team the best chance to win if he clears. 

It’s going to take a lot for the Dolphins to go up to Buffalo and win. They are battling their own injuries as Terron Armstead didn’t play today, and Brandon Shell left with an injury today, and that will be a concern as well as the health of Tyreek Hill and Raheem Mostert. However, I’m happy and relieved we are in the playoffs, and I really believe if we are on our game, we can beat anybody. It’s now time to go out and win our first playoff game in over two decades.