Dolphins have a chance to win ‘THAT’ type of game
The Miami Dolphins started the season with a 17-16 win over the New England Patriots last week. Some want to say it was not the type of performance they were expecting. Listen, beating that team, with that coach, in that building, is a feat. It would’ve been more impressive if the Patriots had their former Super Bowl-winning QB or their best defensive player. But a win in the division, on the road, to open the season, is impressive. It’s not like they beat the Jets!
But now we turn to the big game, the Dolphins home opener against the Buffalo Bills. This game, even though it’s only week 2, is THAT type of game. You know the type of game I’m talking about. The game where the Dolphins come in with a chance to take a gigantic step forward in their evolution as a football team. We’ve been here before, too many times to count. And over the past 20 years, in a large majority of these types of games, the Dolphins have come up short. And far too many times, they’ve gotten blown out in those games.
Let’s just look at a few recent examples. Last year, last game of the season, the 10-5 Dolphins traveled to Buffalo with a shot at the playoffs on the line. The game wasn’t close and ended up with a 30 point loss (56-26). A very similar Dolphins team failed to show up in a game that could’ve sent them to the playoffs.
2019 had no games like this because the Dolphins were embracing the full rebuild. But 2018 had one such game, early in the season. The Dolphins got off to a 3-0 start and traveled to New England to face the Tom Brady-led Patriots who were 1-2 entering the game. Winning that game would’ve put the Dolphins at 4-0 and dropped the Patriots to 1-3. It would have been a HUGE early season victory and could’ve the Dolphins season on a different trajectory. Instead, the Dolphins were blown out 38-7 and ended the season with a 7-9 record (at least Gase was fired!).
This Bills’ game is awfully familiar and reminds me of that Patriots game in so many ways. I get it, it’s very early in the season, but these games have meaning in both the standings and the psyche of both teams. A win would give the Dolphins a ton of confidence, a 2-0 record in division, and a 2 game (early) lead on their most formidable opponent for the division crown. It could be the type of game that propels the Dolphins from a team that has the talent to go 10-7 to a team that wins 12-13 games.
With a loss, the Dolphins would fall to 1-1 both overall and in division and having lost their home game against their toughtst competition for the division title.
Up to this point, Brian Flores and his defense haven’t been able to solve the Josh Allen problem, he has killed the Dolphins both with his arm and with his legs since Flores took over in Miami. Flores will have to find a way to contain him, but he’ll also need his offense to put up some points. I think the Dolphins will have to score over 27 points to win this game; I don’t see another 17-16 game in this one. So Tua and Flores will have to come up big in a way we haven’t seen a Dolphins QB/coach combo in quite some time. Maybe this is the week the Dolphins win THAT type of game….maybe this is the week that Tua puts the team on his back and shows us he’s THAT type of quarterback…..maybe this game can be the catalyst that propels this team to heights we aren’t expecting……or maybe we see more of the same and get what we expect. We’ll find out Sunday afternoon.