It was the general manager who was meeting each player at the tunnel in Miami Gardens. He was hugging some of the players and giving high fives to others.
There was the kicker, who was counting off on his fingers the number of field goals he had already made, as well as the number of field goals that a significant section of the audience believed he would not be able to make before his feet struck the leather.
There was a long embrace between the two quarterbacks, with the senior quarterback from Dallas, who had just lost the game, praising the up-and-coming quarterback from Miami. It was not exactly a torch-passing moment, but it was close.
And as he was leaving the field on Sunday night, the owner was seen raising his fist at the supporters.
Cowboys are defeated by Dolphins by a score of 20.
What, the Dolphins have only one victory out of eleven? You are more knowledgeable than that. If you have been following the club for more than a minute, you are aware of how much this must mean to the general manager, Chris Grier, the kicker, Jason Sanders, the quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, and the owner, Stephen Ross.
Because you, too, place a similar amount of importance on it.
The Dolphins have qualified for the postseason. Begin at that point. Celebrate that, because coach Mike McDaniel has been with this team for two years and has led them to the playoffs both of those years. Why don’t you celebrate that? If you are curious about the fact that the Dolphins have not qualified for the playoffs for two consecutive years, the answer is that it has not been since the year 2001. The previous generation. McDaniel had recently completed his high school education.
Are the Dolphins going to win the AFC East? Obtain a bye in the first round?
Now that the Dolphins have qualified for the competition, the pressure is off of them. The only unknown is the manner in which they enter. Even though the Baltimore Ravens presently have the top spot and the Buffalo Bills have a tiebreaker advantage over the Miami Dolphins, it is still possible for the Dolphins to win the AFC East championship, receive the first seed, and receive a bye in the first round. You can come to the conclusion that it is fortunate that the next two opponents are the Baltimore Ravens and the Buffalo Bills.
Or, if you believe that to be a negative thing, the Dolphins will comprehend your perspective. The narrative that the Dolphins had not defeated a team that had a winning record was the one that McDaniel accepted once more the previous week. But on Sunday, he gave the impression that he had no problem with that.
If we are going to undertake something, should we really be allowed to have blind faith in it? It was said by him.
Thankfully, it is no longer relevant. There are ten victories for the Cowboys. People have the right to say whatever they want about how average they are while they are driving. Listen to nothing. On Sunday, when the stakes were high, they went on a 17-play drive in the fourth quarter to finally seize the lead for the first time since falling behind 7-3. Not even two fourth downs were able to stop them. Despite the fact that quarterback Dak Prescott was being surrounded by Duke Riley and Bradley Chubb, he continued to play. Despite this, he was able to find Brandin Cooks, who was double-covered by Jalen Ramsey and Kader Kohou, for a touchdown that brought the score to 20-19 with 3 minutes and 27 seconds remaining.
Are you aware of what McDaniel was contemplating at this moment? The exact opposite of everything everyone else was not.
“I was happy for the opportunity because I know that in order to have the season that you want, you have to figure out a way to win in those moments,” McDaniel said. As a result, I was excited.
We are aware that Mike McDaniel is a unique individual. He is repaying the faith that Stephen Ross had placed in him. Because of this, Ross decided to hire him in the first place.
“He was the one owner who decided that it was worthwhile to interview and then took a shot on me,” McDaniel stated before referring to the individual in question.
So McDaniel is paying Ross back in a number of different ways, and one of them is by winning on this day and in this manner.
According to McDaniel, “He has earned everything to his name on his own and has been extremely successful in doing so through his own efforts.” I am aware of the fact that he said that he had not experienced the same level of success when playing for the Dolphins. But you want to talk about a guy who puts an NFL organization in a position to be successful, but he doesn’t use the power that comes with being the owner? Well, he could literally instruct me to stand on one leg for the rest of the week. However, he does not. We are supported by him, and he hires people and allows them to perform their tasks. Makes contact with me following a difficult defeat. demonstrates concern for me.”
This season, the Dolphins have suffered heavy defeats at the hands of the Bills, Eagles, and Chiefs, which means that they have not yet achieved a victory that can be considered a statement.
According to receiver Tyreek Hill, “Every guy on the team knew what was at stake.”
A number of players that are unable to contribute to the Dolphins’ success
There is more to it than just the fact that the Dolphins won. In spite of the fact that there were reasons not to, they came through.
Tagovailoa gathered his team together before the game-winning drive, knowing that Jaylen Waddle would not be able to play due to eye and shin injuries. Waddle had just been the first Dolphin to have three straight seasons in which he had a receiving yardage total of 1,000. Tagovailoa still managed to complete four out of five passes for a total of 31 yards. The most significant of these passes was a third-and-three ball to Hill that he completed for ten yards to the Dallas 23-yard line. At that point, it became apparent that Sanders would have a chance to win the game.
hink about how they got there. Safety DeShon Elliott making an impossible, touchdown-saving tackle on the goal line, leading to a fumble recovery by Brandon Jones in the first quarter. Sanders going 5-for-5, including a career-long, 57-yarder, plus two more from 50-plus. Wait. Sanders?
“I thought it was very fitting,” McDaniel said. “ … Our locker room is filled with ‘they said you can’t’ – filled with guys that have been told they can’t. One of which is Jason.”
Well, Sanders didn’t hit three from 50-plus in four of his six years in the NFL. So counting off kicks on his fingers as the clock struck 0:00?
“I was in the moment,” he said.
Running back Jeff Wilson was, too. After Tagovailoa’s throws moved the Dolphins into striking distance, the only logical thing to do was to run. Problem was, Raheem Mostert was on the sideline, sparingly used after a second-quarter leg injury, even though he’d broken through the 1,000-yard barrier for the first time in his career. If Wilson has endured days on the inactive list this season, it’s fitting that he was running behind blockers who except for Terron Armstead weren’t supposed to be in there, either. Lester Cotten, Liam Eichenberg, Robert Jones and Kendall Lamm allowed Wilson to rip off runs of 8 and 6 yards to all but devour the clock. Sanders making a 29-yarder on the final play of the evening made it official.
It’s one win out of 11. But it’s the one that stamps the Dolphins as a playoff team. As a team starting to get used to playing well into January. As a team that has a shot of playing into February.
That explains Duke Riley blowing kisses to the fans as he exited. Christian Wilkins tossing wristbands to the crowd. Long snapper Blake Ferguson hopping, like a joyful grade-school child escaping into Christmas vacation.
Deep down, they know.
A defining chapter of this season had just been written.
Better strap yourself in for the next one.