After Miami dominated the division rival-New York Jets on Black Friday, the Dolphins stayed in the north — and stayed in rhythm — cruising past the Washington Commanders, 45-15, at FedEx Field in front of 63,459 fans on Sunday in Landover, Maryland.
The Dolphins offense was firing on all cylinders, ultimately led by Tyreek Hill, who is quickly becoming an NFL MVP candidate. After a dominant performance that saw Hill haul in five catches, 157 yards and two touchdowns, both of which were 60-plus yard scores, the possibility of a wide receiver winning MVP for the first time in league history is becoming increasingly likely.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa chipped in, as well, tallying 280 passing yards, two touchdowns, and a 141 passer rating. Miami’s offense controlled the game, scoring the most points since their 70-20 victory against the Denver Broncos in Week 3 at Hard Rock Stadium.
Miami’s dominance through early December is rare by Dolphins standards. This season marks their first season since 2001, in fact, the club has authored a 9-3 start.
“Nine and three is a beautiful thing and the way that this league is, if you somehow get complacent, and if you somehow start feeling yourself, it’ll catch up with you fast,” Hill said. “We’ve got a great group of players on this team, on both sides of the ball, that have been in situations like this throughout their career. So, I think we’ll be alright.”
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Washington (4-9) has hit the skids. The Commanders have now lost four straight games, and have dropped six of their last seven. With the loss, Washington now holds one of the top four picks in the NFL Draft, and their coach, Ron Rivera, is squarely on the hot seat.
“I think some guys are most certainly gifted enough to help us win football games. I think there are opportunities, but we missed those opportunities,” Rivera said. “You can’t do that, you just can’t do that in this league, especially against good teams.”
The last-place Commanders have now allowed 45 points in each of their last two games, and it begs the question of what they will do in the offseason.
One of the few bright spots this the season has been quarterback Sam Howell, who is near the top of the NFL in passing yards. However, Howell struggled to throw the ball vs. Miami, finishing with just 127 yards. He also threw a pick-six to Miami linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel in the process.
Howell was successful on the ground, however, running for two touchdowns, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
“It starts with me. I got to play better and got to try to continue to get everybody involved,” Howell said. “I have to get into more of a rhythm early in games and not let us dig ourselves into a hole. We just have to be better.”
Howell looked out of sync with his receivers, which is something Tagovailoa cannot relate to.
“The connection between Tua and Tyreek in terms of two players playing together is about as good as I’ve ever been around, hence why they can make some of the plays they make each week,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said.
Statistically, Tagovailoa remains near the top in terms of the league and is strengthening Hill’s MVP case.
More of the same could be in store next week. Miami will have their first Monday Night Football matchup in Week 14, when they face off against the 4-8 Tennessee Titans.
Washington, meanwhile, will look to bounce back after their bye week. In Week 15, they will take on the Los Angeles Rams (6-6).