MIAMI -- This was a Dolphins Sunday unlike most over the last few decades. They were 7-3 for the first time in more than 20 years. Riding a four game winning streak, facing a one win team at home and needing a win to keep a share of first place in the division while staying very much alive for playoff home field advantage. A test game, to determine if the Dolphins are mature enough to handle the prosperity. They got an "A" on the test hammering Houston 30-15.
Right from the first play the Dolphins took it to the Texans although Mike McDaniel thought they showed some rust from the bye week. It may have been the most complete first half since Don Shula was on the sideline, the Dolphins led 30-0 after 30 minutes.
Tua on Target
Tua Tagovailoa continues to shine, even on a day he didn't have his pinpoint accuracy. He is mastering Mike McDaniel's offense and putting up gaudy numbers. A couple of Jaylen Waddle drops in the first half hurt the cause but overall it was another solid performance by the NFL MVP candidate. The Dolphins are 8-0 when Tua plays, 0-3 when he doesn't. Remarkably they are 15-1 in the last 16 games Tagovailoa starts and finishes. Case closed.
Take It Away
The defense has struggled to force turnovers with all the secondary injuries so it was a big interception by Andrew Van Ginkle in the 2nd quarter. He made a heck of an effort on the return too setting up the offense inside the 5 yard line. One play later the Dolphins blew the game open going up 17-0. The defense later added a touchdown as Eric Rowe forced a fumble and Xavien Howard waltzed into the endzone for a 27-0 lead.
The second half was struggle as the Dolphins did not keep the intensity up and execution going. The game outcome never got scary but Houston was able to control play. Perhaps chalk it up to having a 30-0 lead and on offense left tackle Terron Armstead leaving with a pectoral injury seemed to have a big affect.
Former Niners Emerge
Mike McDaniel brought over a two handfuls of coaches and players from San Francisco. It's paying off big dividends. The trade for Jeff Wilson has added a new dimension to the offense and was huge vs Houston with Raheem Mostert out with injury. River Cracraft and Trent Sherfield have been solid depth contributors while the coaches have helped make this offense what it now is.The Dolphins most exciting offense since the Dan Marino days and one of the most explosive units currently in the NFL.
December to Remember
What have the Dolphins done so far? Starting in camp they have laid the foundation for a playoff run and the good chance to do some damage once they get there. Mike McDaniel is consistent, preaching the same message day and day and being the same guy day after day. At 8-3 they are in prime position but it won't be easy. The Dolphins have road games at Buffalo and New England and back to back California games against the 49'ers and Chargers. But it's not supposed to be easy and that's what makes the journey for teams and fans worthwhile. It's been a long time for Dolphins fans so enjoy the ride.
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