Most of the noise for this week’s playoff game centered around the sub-zero cold in Kansas City and whether Miami could play well in a cold weather game.  I thought the cold was a sidebar.  I was just wondering could Miami play well period.  I didn’t think so.  My game pick was 27-10 KC.  How did I get there?  All you had to do was read last week’s Good/Bad/Ugly which is eerily familiar with the below Good/Bad/Ugly.  No, the Dolphins weren’t ready for prime time. The Chiefs outclassed, outplayed, and outcoached Miami 26-7.

Right off the bat, the Chiefs dominated the first quarter, gaining 121 yards while allowing Miami only 41. By the half, they had outgained Miami by nearly two to one (257-136), more than doubling first downs (12-5) while taking a halftime lead of 16-7.  The third quarter was no better.  88 more yards to just 15.  Eight more first downs to just one.  The 19-7 lead seemed insurmountable, and it was.  The Fins added some garbage time yards but no points in the last quarter of the season.  Yes indeed, our Fins froze in the cold.


  • Tua to Hill for a 53-yard TD. Despite the pass being underthrown and Hill being interfered with, he made a nice adjustment on the ball and outran the Chiefs’ secondary for the TD.
  • Ethan Bonner. Two tackles in limited play, including a forced fumble.  One wonders if he should have been playing ahead of Eli Apple or Kadir Kohou, who struggled mightily again.


  • Inability to stop the run. No injury excuse here.  It was simply mano y mano, and the Chiefs ran 34 times for 147 yards for a solid 4.3 average.  In the prior meeting, the Fins held the Chiefs to only 93 rushing yards.  This inability certainly made things easier for Patrick Mahomes to play action and find open receivers.
  • Pass rush. Injuries saved this from being in the Ugly column.  No Phillips, no Chubb, no Van Ginkel so we all get it.  But Mahomes had ALL day to throw for most of the game except when Vic Fangio sent his all-out blitz.  I’m sure Fangio will be criticized, but he really had no other option than to send the houses and hope they get there.  Unfortunately, the blitz didn’t arrive in time.


  • Coach McDaniel’s offense (3 weeks in a row). For four weeks in a row, this has been the biggest disappearing act since DB Cooper jumped out of an airplane in 1971.  The Dolphins put up another goose egg in the second half against KC marking the second consecutive game they failed to score in the second half.  How is that even possible with the weapons he has at his disposal?

But wait, there’s more.  For those last four games, the offense scored a total of 15 points in the second halves of those games.  Easy math.  Less than 4 points per second half.  Touchdowns?  Out of the 39 drives in the last four games (excluding end of half or end of game kneel downs), this ‘unstoppable’ offense scored only six touchdowns.  That’s a rate of 15%.  League average this year per is 20%.

What happened, coach?  I have a few reasons, most of which, have been documented right here in the Ugly column for the past couple of weeks.  Those reasons reared their collective ugly heads once again against the Chiefs.  Reliance on Tyreek Hill.  At game’s end in garbage time, the ball was spread around more as Tyreek was in and out. Still, he led with 8 targets.  He led last week with 13 targets (the next highest was 3). Against the Ravens?  He had 12 (next highest 5). Against Dallas he had 14 (next highest 5).  We know it; the opposing defenses know it. Single, double, or triple covered, the ball goes to Hill. Far too predictable.

    • Propensity to run on first down. Last week, McDaniel ran the ball on first down 12 of 15 times including 11 in a row!  This week, he predictably starts the game with a run. Five of the first eight first-down plays were runs.
    • Conservative nature of play calling. Or, in other words, a lack of aggression. Tua threw the ball 39 times.  How many of those were either behind the line of scrimmage or within five yards of it?  Gotta be at least 30.  Predictable, conservative, and easily defended.
    • I’m sure there are some nuances from week to week based on the opponent, but they didn’t scream out at me watching this offense every game? Where is the ingenuity? Everything is so scripted. Does that placemat play sheet ever change?  Is the coach trying to exploit what the other teams’ weaknesses are, or is it the same old routine week to week? Barring one or two trick pays, which normally fail, I don’t see it.  The Chiefs were ready for this offense, and it showed.
    • Inability to (apparently) have the team ready to play a big game (see mental mistakes below). It’s a broken record. 1-6 vs. winning teams. 0-4 on the road.
  • Tua (3 weeks in a row). Like coach McDaniel, Tua has failed in big games.  This week, it was an early interception that once again appeared to zap Tua of all his confidence.  Under duress, he’s a shadow of that accurate, confident QB throwing the ball quickly and decisively against the likes of the Patriots, Jets, Giants, Broncos, etc.  Tua completed barely 50% of his passes (20-39) against KC and has had little success these past four games against quality teams sans a last-minute winning drive against Dallas.  Sure, it was beyond cold, but those passes fluttered like wounded ducks while Mahomes was able to zip the ball for the most part. The big question is, has Tua reached his ceiling?  I will address that in my season-ending GBU this week.
  • Secondary depth (repeat from lasts week). The Chiefs knew.  The word was out.  If 33 or 4 is on the field, we will throw to that side of the field.  And they did.  And the strategy was successful once again.  Those guys made Rasheed Rice look like Jerry Rice.  Eight catches for 130 yards on 12 targets.  The Fins’ top pick in this year’s draft, Cam Smith, was inactive once again as he appears to be headed down the path of Noah Igbinoghene.
  • Mental mistakes. Eight flags for 62 yards, which ran the gamut from false starts, to illegal formations, to holdings, and to a pair of roughing the passers.  There were also the usual getting the play in late, forcing time outs or delay of game flags.  You’re most likely not going to beat good teams, making one or two crucial mental mistakes, let alone eight to 10.  While we are at it, let’s throw in communication.  Two weeks in a row now, I’ve heard Tua speak in his post-game pressers about not being on the same page or miscommunication.  Tell me, how can this be in game number 18?  Every week, we hear him or coach McD say we want to improve, we want to get better.  18 games later, you’re still having issues communicating?  Something is very wrong.  To me, that’s all on the coaching and preparation.

So, is this season a success or failure?  I think it depends upon your expectations, but for me, a first-round road playoff loss is the same exact result as last year, and that was with Skylar Thompson playing QB.  My expectations were higher than that.  For my season-ending article this week, I’ll be handing out grades, proposing changes, and officially answering that question.