The Dolphins fall short against Las Vegas, look ahead to Philadelphia

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (left) pictured with new head coach Mike McDaniel (right). (Photo courtesy of the Miami Dolphins)

The Miami Dolphins lost their second preseason game on Saturday evening to the Las Vegas Raiders, 15-13. But fans nevertheless have plenty to be excited about as the regular season approaches.

Quarterback play was the biggest question mark entering the season for Miami. With Tua Tagovailoa starting his third season in the pros, people had begun to question whether or not he would be the franchise quarterback many hoped for. 

Saturday gave us our first look at Tagovailoa as he started and played the first two series for his new head coach Mike McDaniel. 

“I was really happy with Tua because he has been having such a good camp,” McDaniel said after the loss. “It was my first opportunity with him and he executed really everything that we asked him to do.”

The former Alabama product completed six of eight pass attempts for 58 yards in the 13 snaps he played. While the sample size was small, Tagovailoa seemed poised and played well even though his top two targets, Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, missed this game.

The Dolphins also got another look at rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson who showed that his 218-yard-passing performance in the first preseason game was not a fluke. Thompson finished this contest with an astounding nine of ten pass attempts for 129 yards and the only touchdown Miami scored in this game.

While a roster spot is not promised for the seventh round pick, he has surely done enough to prove he deserves a shot in this league.

Veteran Teddy Bridgewater, who attended Miami Northwestern and has played for several pro teams, had a lackluster day going ten of twenty for only 119 yards.

Miami struggled in the run game for the second straight week. Salvon Ahmed and Myles Gaskin led the way for the squad with five rushes for 20 yards and four rushes for 12 yards respectively.

Arguably the best performance by any one player came from rookie wide receiver Erik Ezukanma. The fourth round pick caught six of his nine targets for a game-high 114 yards, including a beautiful 34-yard, one-handed grab down the sideline early in the fourth quarter. 

The Dolphins defense finished the game with four total sacks. However, some of the more disappointing performances for Miami came on the defensive side of the ball. As a unit, they allowed 144 total rushing yards including a 36-yard run by Las Vegas’ rookie running back Brittain Brown at the end of the fourth quarter.

Many of the Raiders’ biggest names were inactive. Starting quarterback Derek Carr as well as newly acquired superstar receiver Devante Adams didn’t play. Even so, the team saw positive contributions from likely backups, such as Brown, who finished with 70 rushing yards on only nine attempts. Wide receiver Keelan Cole also had an impressive showing with three receptions for 44 yards.

Fans voiced their concern with veteran tight end Mike Gesicki. He finished with only three catches for 27 yards before his night came to an end.

The Dolphins will play their third and final preseason game on Saturday Aug. 27 when they host the Philadelphia Eagles. Most starters, like Tyreek Hill and Xavien Howard, will make their debut and Tagovailoa will likely see more playing time.

For the Eagles, quarterback Jalen Hurts will likely make his debut in the preseason along with newly acquired star receiver A.J. Brown.

Anthony Blanco is a senior majoring in Digital Journalism with hopes of pursuing a career in sports journalism. Anthony is passionate about covering sports and hopes to one day make his passion his profession.