December 14, 2020
Though the Dolphins found themselves on the losing end of an entertaining back-and-forth affair against the defending champions, some of the usual suspects showed up in a big way.
Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa rewrote his career high in passing yards (316) and total touchdowns (two passing, one rushing), linebacker Jerome Baker recorded 2.5 sacks and cornerback Xavien Howard did what he does – intercept the football.
Today, on The Blitz, we hear from Howard and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins on the NFL's league-leading interceptor, revisit Don Shula's Sportsman of the Year victory, and put the Dolphins' defensive performance into perspective.
The first injury report for Dolphins-Patriots will be available Wednesday afternoon.
They Said It
"He just keeps making plays each week. It just seems redundant at this point. You would think people would learn."
Christian Wilkins doesn't understand why opposing quarterbacks are still trying cornerback Xavien Howard. His nine interceptions lead the league and his next will tie a Dolphins record set back in 1967 by Dick Westmoreland. If the path to a single-season franchise interceptions record ever became boring, Howard made sure to fix that Sunday.
"I worked with 'X' this off-season to try to get him better with ball skills and stuff, so it's good it's paying off and whatnot," Wilkins joked.
Howard's interception sparked a string of 14 straight points in the fourth quarter by the Dolphins offense to pull Miami within six of the Chiefs. He was asked postgame about the resolve of this Dolphins team.
"I feel like this team, we don't give up, man. We keep fighting," Howard said. "That's one thing we preach about at practice. We keep fighting no matter what. We didn't come out good on the end, but we kept fighting."
Around the Beat
Postgame, while acknowledging the need to play better, Flores praised his team's resilient effort. After trailing by 20, the Dolphins attempted an onside kick late, hoping to give the offense a chance to win the game with a touchdown.
"I think we have a resilient team, don't quit; but I think that we didn't make enough plays to win the game," Flores said. "We've got to play better. They know that. We prepared the right way and we just didn't make enough plays. It's a good team. They made a lot of plays. They made more plays than we did. We fought until the end, came up a little short."
Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun Sentinel shares his thoughts on the loss, and how it's a sign of how far the Dolphins have come in a short period.
But you want to measure progress? This was a day to measure progress — even in a loss. Sure, a win would have said more. But down 20 points, they fought. Down to their fourth, fifth and sixth receivers, they came back. Down in a way where bags could be packed, they refused to do so.
Dolphins On Social
On this Day in Dolphins History
December 14, 1993 - Don Shula is named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. He is the first professional coach to receive the honor.
Stat of the Day
Coming into play Sunday, the season-high for combined punts and turnovers in a game by the Chiefs offense was six; their season-high in giveaways was one.
Despite the 33-27 loss, the Dolphins defense forced a combined eight punts and turnovers (four of each).
Content on Tap
All of our game recap content can be found on MiamiDolphins.com, including the post-game story, John Congemi's three takeaways, and the Sunday spotlight taking a look at linebacker Jerome Baker's career day. Plus, the game day gallery gives you a look at the Dolphins in their aqua throwback jerseys.
You can also download Drive Time with Travis Wingfield as he details his thoughts from the game, key storylines and Congemi's three takeaways.
This afternoon, we'll go inside the box score and look at the stats, snap counts and team rankings on Inside the Numbers.