How do you feel right now? The Dolphins come within six points of the defending Super Bowl champions. They forced four turnovers, sack Patrick Mahomes three times and get the type of performance out of Tua Tagovailoa that once again screams the future is oh so bright.
That’s all very promising. But there’s a flipside here, a reason to temper that good feeling of standing so tall against such a quality opponent. Because what we also saw in Sunday’s 33-27 loss the Chiefs was the best indication yet of why this team still lacks deep-into-the-playoffs credentials.
They just don’t have enough playmakers on offense.
Granted, the Dolphins had to play most of Sunday without receivers DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant and some of Sunday without tight end Mike Gesicki, all down with injuries. But even when they were in, as the Chiefs were building a 30-10 lead, it became increasingly apparent of the limitations of this Dolphins offense.
For the most part, Tua has been what we had hoped. But Tua needs help. He needs an elite running back behind him. He needs a top-notch receiver on the outside. He needs help at slot receiver. That the Dolphins are 8-5 given what they don’t have on offense is a credit to every other part of this team, certainly the defense. With more offensive options, they would have converted some of those third downs during the Chiefs scoring run.
Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait to next offseason to acquire the talent this offense needs. Rest assured, that these needs are no great revelations. The entire organization, beginning with General Manager Chris Grier, is well aware of these priorities.
See the plan all along was to get a quarterback, build the offensive line and the entire defense first. The final step would be the playmakers on offense. This team proved against the Chiefs it is certainly ready to seize that final step.
They led 10-0 after Byron Jones got the first interception of his career. They had a 30-yard loss on sack by Jerome Baker, who outran Mahomes, which is quite an accomplishment. They got a nice touchdown pass from Tua to Gesicki.
But then the Chiefs took over, scoring 30 straight points, the Dolphins searching for first downs on offense. As impressive as it was seeing the Dolphins make a late Tua-led comeback, you just can’t fall behind by that much against a quality team like the Chiefs. That’s where the playmakers would have helped.
Put it this way: The Dolphins need more players on offense like Xavien Howard on defense.
The big picture? The Dolphins are still in good shape for the playoffs. Next Sunday’s home game against the Patriots becomes paramount with two road games following. A 10-6 record, logic says, gets them in the playoffs. That means winning two of the last three. Based on what I saw Sunday, they are certainly capable of that.
Anything more, I believe, will have to wait until some more offensive playmakers are added to this already talented roster.