Greg Cote: Miami Dolphins offense has owned the stage and season -- but huge defense beats Raiders

Greg Cote, Miami Herald on

Published in Football

The Miami Dolphins offense that has lit up the NFL this season, leading the league in scoring, total yards and passing yards, unleashing Tyreek Hill toward an historic 2,000-yard season and becoming the first team in 56 years to have a 70-point game — that offense was its own worst enemy Sunday.

And still the Dolphins found a way to win.

They kept their record at home perfect on the season with a 20-13 victory against the Las Vegas Raiders because Miami’s defense proved up to a starring role on a day when the offense had three turnovers, missed a field goal and failed to convert a fourth-and-1 from the Raiders 3-yard line.

“Our defense was able to will us through that game,”quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said.

This is what good teams do.

If the lightning isn’t working, turn to the thunder.


Miami’s defense — inconsistent, bottom 10 in points allowed, overshadowed all year by the offense — had its day Sunday, and that’s why Miami is 7-3 and still in command in the AFC East as the season’s second half digs in.

The Dolphins led only 14-13 at halftime despite almost doubling Vegas in total yardage, 258-133.

A pair of Tagovailoa scoring passes — 38 yards to Tyreek Hill and then 11 yards to Salvon Ahmed — were enough for that slimmest of leads at the break. (Hill’s 146 yards receiving Sunday gave him the most ever through 10 games in the Super Bowl era. And Tagovailoa threw for 325 yards.)

But Miami’s own uncharacteristically sloppy play kept the score close. Lost fumbles by Tagovailoa and by third-string tight end Julian Hill both led to Vegas field goals. The Fins’ pass defense gave up a 46-yard TD throw to Davante Adams (its only notable blemish). And Miami failed to convert a fourth-and-1 from the Raiders 3 when a quick pass to Tyreek Hill lost 4 yards.


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