So many things had to happen in order for this miraculous comeback to occur. I suppose you can pick a number of different things to be the most important one. I would say the missed extra point by Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson. To me, that was the the start, because it left the door open for the win. In any case, let’s get to how the Dolphins DID win it, which you pretty much have to see to really comprehend.
With 3:37 remaining in the 4th QTR, Raiders QB throws a deep pass while on the run, running to escape pressure and somehow the pass finds WR Nelson Agholor on the right sideline with Byron Jones in coverage. Jones slips trying to make the tackle and then all that’s left is Good Ole Bobby McCain who is unable to even lay a finger on the serpentine weaving of said Agholor. Then the fatal mistake, K Daniel Carlson goes wide right on the extra point making the score 22-16 in favor of the LV Raiders. But wait, is that the turning point, or is it the 9:37 mark of the 4th QTR when Miami Dolphins HC chooses to pull starting QB Tua Tagovailoa and replace him with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick? You can make the decision.
Down 22-16, Fitzpatrick the QB now, begins a drive with 3minutes and 36 seconds remaining in the game after a touchback which starts at the MIA 25. 2 consecutive short completions to WR Isaiah Ford for 7 and then 9 yards get the Dolphins a first down at the 41 yard line. On first down, Raiders bring pressure and Fitz throws to his outlet, RB Myles Gaskin on the right side and little magic happens her as Gaskin makes a couple of moves and races down the right sideline for a 59 yard TD!!! So with 3 minutes and 8 seconds remaining, the Dolphins now have 23-22 lead.
The Raiders take the touchback and begin at their own 25. QB Derek Carr throws complete to RB Jalen Richard, 2nd and 6. On 2nd and 6, Derek Carr uncorks a deep throw to Nelson Agholor which is incomplete but PASS INTERFERENCE is called on Miami CB Byron Jones. I thought the call was understandable as there is a clear picture where Byron Jones has both hands on the receiver, one on either side of the shoulder pads. While I think the contact is mostly negligible, if you’re an official and you see it, you have the right to call it. Some here were incensed by the call and my very good friend who’s a Steelers fan thought it was an egregious call, so there’s that. In any case, the Raiders now have a first down at the MIA 22 with 2:20 remaining.
On 1st down, Josh Jacobs rushes for 7 yards to the MIA 15 yard line. 2nd and 3 and Jacobs rushes again for 2 yards to the MIA 13 setting up a huge 3rd and 1. No wait! Neutral zone infraction on Kyle Van Noy and an automatic first down at the Miami 8 yard line. Jacobs pushes for 2 yards to the Miami 6, tackled by Van Noy and Miami now uses it’s final timeout, with 1:50 remaining in the game. 2nd down and Jacobs takes it the end zone, NO, he purposely hits the brakes and falls down at the Miami 1 yard line, touched down by Bobby McCain. The Raiders then take a timeout of their own at 1:05 to discuss strategy. On 3rd and goal, Carr kneels and the Raiders run the clock down to 22 seconds remaining. Daniel Carson then comes out on 4th and goal and kicks the game winning 22 yard field goal that send the Dolphins home and out of the playoffs. OK, that’s not what happened, but it sure seemed like it.
Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson booms another touchback so the Dolphins begin the drive with 19 seconds remaining at their own 25 yard line. Ryan Fitzpatrick under pressure, and with a Raider defender literally twisting his facemask to the point where Fitzpatrick can no longer even see the receiver as he’s now looking skyward lets a deep floater to the left sideline to a waiting WR Mack Hollins at the 41 yard line of LV who this time makes the catch and then is pushed out out of bounds. The aforementioned facemask, which is a 15 yard personal foul moves the ball from the LV 41 to the LV 26 yard line. The penalty was actually called as a “Roughing the Passer”, either way, 15 yards. The Dolphins run one play in which QB Ryan Fitzpatrick rolls right and then throws out of bounds which then stops the clock at 6 seconds remaining. Then enters Mr. Clutch, K Jason Sanders who promptly nails the 44 yard field goal to give the Dolphins the lead at 26-25 and once the ball goes through the uprights, a scant 1 second remains. BTW, Dolphins tackle Julie’n Davenport reported as an eligible receiver on the last Fitzpatrick throw out of bounds. Thought you should all know that.
So the Dolphins K Jason Sanders pooches the kick and there’s a couple of laterals and then a fumble and Dolphins safety and ST’s ace Clayton Fejedelem recovers it and that’s the ballgame! DOLPHINS WIN! DOLPHINS WIN!!!
OK, so let’s push aside for a moment that we are 10-5, and have one more game to win in order to make the playoffs in 2020. What’s the deal with Tua???? I’m not sugarcoating anything, I’m disappointed that the Head Coach feels the need to yank him from the game because he’s ineffective. It’s very disturbing to me. It’s the right call, HC Brian Flores has the pulse of this team like no other, he’s been masterful at handling the roster. Is it Chan Gailey? Is he not figuring out how to make this kid succeed? Just one observation, how many fucking times are we going to play action and roll left and find a defender right fucking there within 3 yards of where he’s rolling to? YA THINK YA MIGHT WANNA SCRAP THAT CHAN??? O Rob will just say Tua doesn’t have it, and I’m actually starting to have my doubts as well. QB’s develop at different speeds, there’s no question. First off, don’t try to sell me on this Wood/Stock Tua/Fitz crap. David Woodley was an 8th RD pick dammit, not the #5 pick! Yes, I also understand that the great Aaron Rodgers sat for 3 years, but that was a different era.
If you look around the NFL, there are all kinds of weird QB situations. Carson Wentz has fallen from grace just 4 years into his career. He was playing great football but injuries have sidelined him too often. His replacement, rookie Jalen Hurts has 6 TD’s in 2 starts, 5 passing and 1 rushing. Mitch Trubisky is like a phoenix rising in Chicago. Left for dead and replaced by Professor Lou’s favorite QB Nick Foles, is now back at the reins and leading the Bears to an improbable playoff run and is 5-2. Trubisky was on a path not too different from our own Ryan Tannehill was on, decent QB who can get the job done if he has a good enough cast around him. Is that what Tua is now? Is that what he’s going to be?
I don’t have the answers, but to me it’s disappointing. Simple as that. Furthermore, and I expect flak from this, I don’t want to fucking hear that Tua is fine with being pulled and that he roots for Ryan Fitzpatrick. I don’t! I want him to burn inside with the desire to be better and to claim that position, I want him to be be the alpha hippo and bite Fitzpatrick’s tail off and then turn around and spin his own feces and cover Fitzpatrick! I love Ryan Fitzpatrick, I really do, he’s fun, but I want Tua to man up and take the reins and never look back. If he doesn’t do this soon, I fear he may never be “The Guy”. That doesn’t mean I’m right, but it’s going to be how I feel. Oh, this doesn’t mean Rob is right either, so pipe down there big guy!