Winners and losers from Dolphins’ dismantling of Texans

Miami Dolphins Tua Tagovailoa
Miami Dolphins Tua Tagovailoa /

Your Miami Dolphins improved to 8-3 on the season after taking care of the lowly 1-9 Houston Texans, 30-15 on Sunday. It was an all-around dominant team win that saw the Dolphins jump out to a quick 30-0 halftime lead.

Here are a few winners and losers from the win on Sunday:

Winner: Jaelan Phillips

The Dolphins’ front seven was wreaking havoc all day long, brutalizing poor Kyle Allen and the Houston offense. The defensive unit registered seven tackles for loss and five sacks on the day. Jaelan Phillips accounted for one sack, one TFL, and another quarterback hit.

Phillips was essentially unblockable for Houston’s offensive line and his dominance allowed the other members of the front seven to feast, too. Christian Wilkins recorded two TFLs, Bradley Chubb had a sack and QB hit, many others recorded pressures and found themselves in the Houston backfield thanks to Phillips’ dominance.

Phillips also finished second on the unit with seven tackles.

Loser: Offensive line

As dominant as the defensive line was, the offensive line had a pretty shaky showing on Sunday and lost their starting left tackle due to injury.

Identical to the Dolphins, the Texans managed to rack up five sacks and seven tackles for loss. Unfortunately, out of the five sacks allowed, Tua Tagovailoa ate four of them. In order to keep the offense humming, the Dolphins must keep Tua upright. He has been hurt too many times to keep taking hit after hit.

This is extremely concerning, considering the offense will be without both starting tackles, Terron Armstead and Austin Jackson against a vicious 49ers pass rush on Sunday. Brandon Shell and Greg Little are set to start next weekend.

UPDATE: Terron Armstead may be clear to play against the 49ers.

Winner: Jaylen Waddle

If your name is any variation of Jaylen, you are probably a winner on this list.

After securing 5 catches for 85 yards on Sunday, Jaylen Waddle made history for the Miami Dolphins.

Just a few days after his 24th birthday, the second year wide receiver out of Alabama set the Miami Dolphins all-time record for most receiving yards in the first two seasons of his career, surpassing Jarvis Landry.

Waddle’s 1,926 receiving yards did not even come after two full seasons. We are only eleven games into his second season. He is currently fifth in the league with 963 receiving yards on the season.

Loser: Skylar Thompson

In a relief effort up big in the second half, Skylar Thompson replaced Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback — and he did not do much.

Thompson completed one out of his five pass attempts for six yards. He also took a sack. The rookie ended the game with a 0.3 quarterback rating and a 39.6 passer rating.

Unfortunately for Thompson, the preseason success he saw back in August is looking more and more like a flash in a pan. In the opportunities he has gotten, he has never really made the best impression on the coaches or front office.

On Sunday, the Dolphins’ offense went from unstoppable to inept as soon as the quarterback change was made. The Dolphins went from a 30-0 early lead to a 30-15 win after Thompson replaced Tua.

That is not a solid look for the young quarterback looking to keep a roster spot on the team.

Winner: Tua Tagovailoa

The game ball definitely goes to Tua.

In year three, Tua has turned a corner fast. The Tua we all thought the Dolphins drafted is blossoming before our very eyes. If there’s one difference in what we’ve seen this year, it’s his deadly accuracy.

Tua is second, only behind Geno Smith (!), in terms of total accuracy as a passer. Imagine reading that sentence last year. His 69.7% completion rate is such a dramatic increase from when he first came into the league in 2020.

He is also making fewer mistakes. Tua has a 19-3 touchdown to interception ratio, a vast improvement from his 16-10 ratio last season. He is throwing touchdowns on nearly 7% of his pass attempts, an almost 3% increase from last season.

He passes the eye test, too. In Sunday’s game — and most of every other game this season — Tua’s passes just look pretty. He releases a tight spiral that zips right into the numbers of his receivers this season. His intermediate game has been absolutely fatal for opponents, especially on third down.

Tua is a clear front-runner for MVP and his 299-yard, 1-touchdown performance in the first half on Sunday made that very clear.

(Honorable mention) Loser: Tua in high school

In a viral video going around on social media, head coach Mike McDaniel is heard talking to Tua on the sidelines during the game.

McDaniel tells Tua that he had looked up Tua’s high school film on YouTube. He evidently found some film from an Elite 11 camp Tua had participated in back in high school. McDaniel was not a fan of young Tua’s mechanics.

He is heard nonchalantly telling Tua that his technique in high school was trash”.  

Luckily, Tua seemingly tuned up his “trash” mechanics, to which McDaniel credited Dolphins’ quarterbacks’ coach Darrell Bevell (or “Bev”). Listen to the funny interaction below.