The Miami Dolphins are officially one of the worst teams in the NFL. Before their loss to the Jaguars, there was still some plausible deniability. You could make the argument that Tua was hurt, the offensive line was still finding its footing, whatever excuse you wanted to make. The problem is, those excuses run out quickly when you let a team snap a 20-game losing streak against you.
Regardless, despite a lot of negatives and the final result, there were still a few winners on Sunday. Obviously, all that matters is a win or a loss, but here are the winners and losers from Sunday’s matchup. Let’s start with a winner.
Winner – Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa
Tua is back and looked… good? Yeah, he looked good. The Dolphins opened up with a 75-yard touchdown drive and for a moment, all was right in the world. Tua looked confident, he was throwing darts and hitting his targets with ease. He ended up going 33 of 47 for 329 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception. For the most part, it was a great day for Tua. He was getting the ball out quickly, 2.46 seconds on average. Perhaps most importantly, he was pressured 19 times without taking a sack. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, however.
There were two pretty rough plays for Tua during the game. One of them came on a third down. Tua was rolling out to the left with room to run and get the first down. Instead of taking the easy first down, he threw the ball downfield to absolutely no one. It was obviously a miscommunication and Tua expected his receiver to break in a different direction. On a positive note, there was a very similar play later in the game where Tua took the easy first down, so it seems like he learned his lesson very quickly.
There was really no excuse for his interception though, as Tua threw the ball straight into the hands of a Jacksonville defender on what looked like it was supposed to be a screen. It was another miscommunication and probably a symptom of Tua being out for the last few weeks. All in all, however, Tua had a great day and looked like the guy the Dolphins are going to need him to be if they are going to get a few wins this season.
Loser – Head Coach Brian Flores
Brian Flores’ job as a head coach is to get his team ready to play football games and give them the best chance to win. That might seem like an overly simple statement, but judging by the last five weeks I’m not sure Flores is even living up to the most basic definition of his job. The Dolphins have now lost five straight games after beating the Patriots in week one.
The Dolphins are one of the worst teams in the league in terms of penalties and just generally seem undisciplined. Probably the most egregious coaching errors came on the two challenge flags Flores threw during Sunday’s game. They were both calls that were pretty certain not to get overturned (even if that ball DID touch his finger!) and they cost the team two valuable timeouts in a close game. If this team is going to win, Flores needs to do a better job, plain and simple.
Winner – Wide Receiver Jaylen Waddle
Jaylen Waddle had 10 receptions for 70 yards and 2 touchdowns on Sunday. While 7 yards per catch isn’t great, him and Tua looked like their old Alabama connection was just as strong as ever. Waddle looked as quick as ever and could have easily had more than 10 receptions during the game as he wasn’t even targeted in the second quarter.
Loser – OC George Godsey
Or is that, Co-OC George Godsey? Either way, after the first drive and all of the scripted plays were over, the offense started to flounder a little bit. There were some really questionable play calls through the game, most notably running the offense out of shotgun on 4th and 1 with the game on the line. Now that we know who is calling the plays we know who to blame.
Godsey needs to do a better job of using the offensive weapons the Dolphins have, especially when it’s time to start improvising and calling the game rather than just running a scripted set of plays.
Winner – Tight End Mike Gesicki
This might be a bold statement, (and all due respect to Randy McMichael and Bruce Hardy) but I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike Gesicki is eventually remembered as the greatest tight end the Dolphins have ever had. He caught eight of nine targets on Sunday for 115 yards. He wasn’t able to find the end zone, but he had 12.8 yards per target and seemed to really find his groove with Tua throwing him the ball.
In addition to his stats, it is obvious when you watch Gesicki that he plays with a ton of passion and really gives it his all out on the field.
Loser – Running Back Myles Gaskin
After an incredible week last week, Gaskin was basically a complete non-factor this week. He ran the ball five times for nine yards and only caught two of six targets for five yards. Those drops were really bad and a couple of drive stalled out because of them. His woes might be as much to blame on the coaching staff as they are on himself as they were really quick to bench him for a few plays after he had a fumble that he recovered.