The Miami Dolphins entered Week 10 with a three-game winning streak and a 6-3 record. After dismantling the Cleveland Browns throughout the day on Sunday, they leave Week 10 with a four-game winning streak, a 7-3 record, and a great feeling as they head into their bye week. It was a great day for the Dolphins.
Miami complemented their passing attack with a just as explosive running game on Sunday. The defense took it to the Browns, shutting down running back Nick Chubb, who entered the game second in the league in rushing. Miami had a solid day all around and they now look like a team who really should scare the rest of the AFC.
Here are our immediate reactions from throughout the game.
Browns 17 – Dolphins 39
First Quarter Reactions
The Browns started the game at their own 47-yard line after a 48-yard return on the opening kickoff. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett, the former Dolphins quarterback now starting for the Browns, looked deep to wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones for a 38-yard gain. Running back Nick Chubb was stopped after a one-yard gain on his first carry of the game, with Brissett finding tight end Pharaoh Brown for a five-yard gain on second down. On 3rd-and-4 from the Miami nine-yard line, Miami was called for a neutral zone infraction by Emmanuel Ogbah, setting up a 1st-and-Goal from the Miami four-yard line. Linebacker Jerome Baker was called for pass interference on a play into the endzone, giving the Browns another first down and moving the ball to the one-yard line. Brissett then threw to tight end Harrison Bryant for the touchdown. Browns 7-0.
Nothing went right on that 2:47 possession for Miami’s defense. The special teams set them up poorly, then the deep pass, and then the penalty flags started again. Miami has been penalized way too often this year, especially when it comes to the defense and with neutral zone infractions. This is just ridiculous and they have to fix it now.
Miami’s offense, down seven points before they even took the field, started at their own 13-yard line after running back Raheem Mostert returned the kickoff from the endzone. The start of the drive continued to feature Mostert, who ran on first down for four yards, then caught an outlet pass for seven yards. After running for two yards, Mostert then caught a pass for five yards, setting up a 3rd-and-3. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa then threw to wide receiver Tyreek Hill for two yards, setting up a 4th-and-1 play. Running back Jeff Wilson, in his second game with Miami, picked up the first down with a four-yard run. Tagovailoa then threw to wide receiver Trent Sherfield for 18 yards to get Miami across midfield. Wilson picked up 18 yards and 11 yards on back-to-back runs before a Tagovailoa pass to fullback Alec Ingold at the line of scrimmage turned into a 13-yard score. Tied 7-7.
That’s a great way to respond. Miami may finally be finding a running game, with both Mostert and Wilson able to pick up yardage on the ground, adding the next dimension to the offense. Great play from everyone on the drive.
The Browns did not get a chance to repeat the long kick return as Miami kicker Jason Sanders put the ball through the endzone. The drive started with Nick Chubb running for one yard as linebacker Elandon Roberts planted him into the ground. Brissett threw to Brown for eight yards, then ran for two yards to convert the first down. Brissett threw to wide receiver David Brown for five yards before being sacked by defensive lineman Christian Wilkins and linebacker Bradley Chubb for an eight-yard loss. Brissett made up for the sack on the next play, somehow fitting the ball through an incredibly small window to Peoples-Jones for 22 yards. Nick Chubb picked up five yards on the next play, then ran again for four yards. After a deep pass attempt toward the endzone on third down and a timeout, Brissett run a quarterback sneap up the middle for two yards and a 4th-and-1 conversion. After an incomplete pass, Nick Chubb ran to the right, with defensive lineman Zach Sieler punching the ball loose and cornerback Xavien Howard falling on the fumble.
Not the takeaways you usually see from Howard, but definitely a big one there. The Browns looked like they were going to keep marching down the field on Miami, but Bradley Chubb, Wilkins, and Sieler took care of that. The defense needs to tight up against the pass, but they clearly are focused on making sure Nick Chubb does not crush them.
After a run from Wilson for six yards to start Miam’s drive, the first quarter ended.
Not a perfect quarter from the Dolphins, but it was a good solid start to the game.
Second Quarter Reactions
After the break, Miami started with an incomplete pass toward Jaylen Waddle, then saw Tagovailoa come back to Waddle for a 29-yard gain over the middle. After a false start penalty backed up the Dolphins five yards, Mostert gained 14 to move the ball to the Browns’ 27-yard line. Mostert then ran for two yards to pick up the first down and keep Miami moving. The Dolphins broke out a trick-play on the next snap, with wide receiver Cedrick Wilson taking the handoff from Tagovailoa on an end-around, but stopping looking to pass; he held the ball too long and took a six-yard sack. After an incomplete pass from Tagovailoa toward Jeff Wilson, the quarterback came back to the running back for a 10-yard gain on 3rd-and-16. The Dolphins settled for a 39-yard field goal from Sanders. Dolphins 10-7.
The Dolphins got points, so it was not a bad drive, but they had the opportunity to really open up the game there. Cedrick Wilson’s sack hurt; it seemed like a well-designed play, but the Browns covered it well and the receiver held the ball too long. At least Miami took the lead. Now the defense needs to step up and get the ball back again.
After the touchback on the kickoff, running back Kareem Hunt picked up a yard on the ground. Brissett threw to wide receiver Amari Cooper for 10 yards on the next play, then scrambled for three yards. Cornerback Xavien Howard and linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel rallied quickly to a pass in the flat to Bryant, keeping the gain to just two yards. Brissett then threw to Cooper for 10 yards, converting on 3rd-and-5. After Hunt was stopped after just one yard, the running back found some space for a seven-yard gain setting up 3rd-and-1. Hunt got stuffed in the middle of the line for a two-yard loss by linebacker Jerome Baker, setting up another fourth-down attempt. The ball fell incomplete as cornerback Kader Kohou blanketed Peoples-Jones and Miami took over the ball.
Good solid job by the defense. The Browns ran nine plays, but only picked up 33 yards and are getting frustrated by there being no running room. Cleveland is used to being able to double-team defenses with Nick Chubb and Hunt, but Miami is not allowing it to happen right now. The Browns are averaging just 2.4 yards per carry. Good performance by the defense and another stop.
The Dolphins started their drive with a 20-yard pass from Tagovailoa, who threw the ball to a spot and assumed Hill would make the correct cut and come back for the ball. It worked perfectly. Jeff Wilson then picked up two yards on the ground before running for 13 yards and nine yards on the next two snaps. Mostert ran for no gain on the 2nd-and-1 play, then tight end Durham Smythe went in motion and took the snap under center, but was stopped for no gain. On 4th-and-1, the Browns stuffed Jeff Wilson for a one-yard loss and Miami turned over the ball on downs.
The start of the drive was really good. The ending of it was really disappointing. Smythe probably converted that sneak attempt but did not get credit for it. Miami has 89 yards rushing already in this game, though, so the ground game is working and working well early.
A Brissett pass to Bryant for 12 yards as the tight end broke a couple of tackles took the game to the two-minute warning. Nick Chubb ran for two yards on the next play, then Brissett threw him a one-yard pass. After a Dolphins timeout, the Miami defense collapsed on Brissett for a sack, with Melvin Ingram, Bradley Chubb, and Wilkins all getting to the quarterback. The Browns were forced to punt.
That was a great stand by the defense. They simply are shutting down the Browns running game and forcing Brissett to beat them. He is picking up some yards, but they are winning the bet that one big gain will be followed by several smaller ones and the defense will come out ahead.
With 1:22 remaining in the half, Miami came out firing hoping to score before the half, then come back to do it again as they start with the ball in the second half. Tagovailoa threw short on a dump-off to Mostert for five yards, then found tight end Mike Gesicki for 15 yards. After an incomplete pass, Tagovailoa threw to Sherfield for three yards, to Waddle for seven yards, and Mostert for nine yards. After a timeout, Tagovailoa found Sherfield in the endzone on a perfect pass and toe-tap, extending Miami’s lead. Dolphins 17-7.
Everything about that drive and the touchdown play was perfect. Tagovailoa was showing off his accuracy on the possession and he directed the game 53 yards in 50 seconds. The touchdown was simply gorgeous, with Tagovailoa laying the ball exactly where it needed to be for Sherfield to grab, toe-tap, and score.
After two penalties on their first two attempts to snap the ball, the Browns knelt to kill the clock and take it to the locker room.
That was a really good first half. There as things that need to be cleaned up, like the penalties and the team being able to pick up one yard on three plays, but the Dolphins offense is looking like they are ready to blow this game wide-open with the ball to start the second half, and the defense is not allowing the Browns’ rushing attack to find its footing. That was the half Miami needed, and now they are going to have to back it up with the same kind of second-half performance.
Third Quarter Reactions
With the last-minute score to end the first half, Miami came out looking to back it up with another score to start the second half. They started with a pass from Tagovailoa to Jeff Wilson for 14 yards, then saw the running back pick up another six yards on a run. Tagovailoa threw to Ingold for nine yards before Wilson ran for another one yard. Tagovialoa threw to Gesicki for 16 yards, then followed the pattern by going back to the run, with Mostert finding space to the left and running 24 yards for the score. Dolphins 24-7.
The Dolphins have added an explosive rushing attack to their offense. That cannot be a good thing for anyone else in the NFL.
Cleveland had to come out and respond before the game completely got away from them. A Nick Chubb rush for two yards followed by an incomplete pass seemed to signal doom for the Browns, with an incomplete pass on third down – but a questionable roughing the passer penalty on Wilkins, who hit Brissett on time and cleanly in the ribs, but was supposed to somehow spin off of Brissett before they hit the ground, gave the Browns a free first down. Brissett found Nick Chubb for nine yards on the next play, followed by an incomplete pass before Nick Chubb picked up eight yards on the ground. He then carried again for two yards, followed by a Brissett scramble for 14 yards. Hunt was stuffed by Wilkins for a one-yard loss, with Brissett able to connect with Peoples-Jones for seven yards. An incomplete pass on 3rd-and-4 led to a Browns field goal. Dolphins 24-10.
The roughing the passer call was just ridiculous. What was Wilkins supposed to do? Other than that, the possession was actually pretty good for the Dolphins defense, who have only allowed 55 yards of rushing as they face the team with the number two rusher in the league.
Tagovailoa started the drive with two incomplete passes, but converted the 3rd-and-10 play with a 15-yard pass to Waddle over the middle. Jeff WIlson then ran for eight yards, which was followed by a 16-yard catch and run from Tagovailoa to Hill. Tagovailoa then found Cedrick Wilson for seven yards before Jeff Wilson ran for five yards. Mostert backed up that run with a six-yard gain of his own. After Tagovailoa threw to Hill for four yards, Mostert ran for 10 more. From the Cleveland six-yard line, Jeff Wilson ran for four yards. On 2nd-and-Goal, Tagovailoa found Gesicki in the endzone, but it pass was broken up at the last second. On 3rd-and-Goal, Tagovailoa threw to Hill on a crossing route to score. Sanders missed the extra point. Dolphins 30-10.
Greg Gumbel: “This is like a clinic.”
Your 2022 Miami Dolphins offense, everyone.
— The Phinsider (@thephinsider) November 13, 2022
Seriously, if the Dolphins can run like this for the rest of the year, there are not a lot of teams that will be able to slow them down. Hill, Waddle, Mostert, and Jeff Wilson provide too many options.
The Browns started the possession with a seven-yard pass from Brissett to Nick Chubb, then had a 17-yard Chubb run negated by a holding penalty. The quarter ended on the play.
Fourth Quarter Reactions
Cleveland continued the drive with a 10-yard pass to Hunt, followed by a run for two yards from the running back. Brissett threw to Bell for 12 yards, then Peoples-Jones for 20. On 1st-and-10 from the Miami 33-yard line, Nick Chubb broke his first big run of the game, taking it to the endzone for the score. Dolphins 30-17.
At some point, Chubb had to break one, right? If that is the only big gain he has in this game, Miami’s defense has had a successful, dominating day.
Tagovailoa looked deep toward Hill on first down, with an unnecessary roughness penalty making up for the incomplete pass. Jeff Wilson ran for two yards, then Tagovailoa threw an incomplete pass but an offsides penalty moved Miami forward a little more. Tagovailoa found Sherfield on a short crossing pattern, with the wide receiver turning upfield to finish a 27-yard gain; he was then called for taunting after the play, backing Miami up 15 yards. Tagovailoa then threw to Ingold for six yards, followed by a Jeff Wilson run for three yards. Tagovailoa connected with Waddle for 15 yards before having to fall on a loose ball after a high snap, leading to a six-yard loss. After an incomplete pass, Jeff Wilson picked up eight yards on 3rd-and-16, leading to a field goal from Sanders. Dolphins 33-17.
The bad snap may be the only thing that really has gone wrong for Miami this game.
Cleveland’s drive featured two incomplete asses, then picked up three yards on a pass from Brissett to wide receiver Anthony Schwartz. On 4th-and-7, Brissett was sacked by Jaelan Phillips and Ingram, giving the Dolphins the ball back.
That is how you end a game if you are on defense. Perfectly done.
It took Miami one play to extend their lead, with Jeff Wilson bouncing out to the left and going 20 yards for the score. Sanders missed another extra point. Dolphins 39-17.
The party is on.
Brissett started the drive with a pass to Bell for five yards. They then lost two yards as Brissett threw to running back D’Ernest Johnson with Sieler and Wilkins converging to make the tackle. After an incomplete pass, Brissett scrambled on two straight plays, picking up 13 yards and seven yards. Brissett then threw to Peoples-Jones for 13 yards, followed by a pass to Cooper for 12 yards. A 13-yard scramble by Brissett was negated by a holding penalty, then an incomplete pass set up 2nd-and-20. Miami cornerback Elijah Campbell nearly picked off a low pass on the next play, with a deep pass falling incomplete on third down. Another incomplete pass led to a turnover on downs.
Miami’s defense has done its job. Now the offense needs to kill the clock.
With four minutes remaining in the game, Miami has pulled their starters. Skylar Thompson is in at quarterback, with Tagovailoa finishing the game 25-for-32 for 285 yards with three touchdowns giving him a 135.0 passer rating. Salvon Ahmed, in at running back, ran for nine yards, then for no gain, and finally two yards to convert the first down. As the clock approached the two-minute warning, Thompson threw to Ingold for 17 yards. After the two-minute warning, Thomspon knelt three times to end the game.
What a great game by the Dolphins on offense and defense. The offense did whatever they wanted and the defense clearly came into the game looking to make sure Nick Chubb did not run wild against them and they succeeded. This was impressive all around. As Greg Gumbel said, this was like Miami was putting on a clinic. They executed just about everything right in this contest.
Everything except special teams, maybe. The opening kickoff return by the Browns and the two missed extra points by Sanders were disappointing.