Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel won the 4th game of his young career despite some questionable decisions.
When Mike McDaniel became the Miami Dolphins head coach, many saw an offensive genius in the making. McDaniel showed poise and enthusiasm throughout training camp and many wondered when the wheels would fall off. After all, rookie head coaches eventually run into rookie mistakes.
On Sunday, McDaniel has his rookie mistake moments and like young players, he will need to learn from them. Despite the errors, his team still won.
Standing out as one of the more egregious errors was a 4th down call to go for a first when a field goal would have given the Dolphins a two-possession lead against a team that wasn’t moving the ball especially well. The decision wasn’t good.
On first and 10, McDaniel called Chase Edmonds’ number and he picked up 3 yards. Edmonds had struggled throughout the game. A pass completion to Mike Gesicki would bring the Dolphins to face a 3rd and two and McDaniel turned to Edmonds again. Edmonds lost a yard setting up a 4th and 3 from the Pittsburgh 13.
At the time, the game was close in the 3rd quarter with Miami holding a 16-10 lead. A field goal puts Miami up by 9 but instead, McDaniel opts to go for the first.
Instead of using Raheem Mostert who was running well, instead of using Tua Tagovailoa’s arm with a veritable group of weapons, McDaniel once again gave the ball to Edmonds who didn’t come close to making the first.
Jason Sanders who has struggled through the 2022 season was perfect on the day but the decision almost cost Miami the game.
Despite a late 4th quarter turnover, the Dolphins couldn’t control the clock or the field and Pittsburgh got the ball back with just over 2:00 minutes left in the game, needing only a touchdown to win.
The Steelers, as we now know, drove the field and with under 20 seconds left were deep in Miami territory. McDaniel’s decision to not take the points looked to be a haunting reminder to a young head coach that sometimes, you take the score.
McDaniel didn’t call a great game on Sunday but those were his worst of the night and had it not been for a bad throw and subsequent interception by Noah Igbinoghene, McDaniel may have paid that mistake with a loss.
Hopefully, his aggressiveness will continue but he has to do a better job of getting the ball into the hands of the players that have a hot hand, in this case, Mostert or just about anyone other than Edmonds.