The Miami Dolphins got a huge 22-20 win last Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys and sit at 11-4 overall on the season.
But that victory is now in the rearview mirror as a new challenge awaits. This Sunday, Dec. 31, the Dolphins will look to knock off the AFC-leading Baltimore Ravens in their final road game of the regular season.
Here's what Head Coach Mike McDaniel, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and other members of the team had to say this week as they get ready to travel to Baltimore.
An AFC Battle with the Ravens
Head Coach Mike McDaniel
(On his approach to re-focusing the team after a big win against Dallas) – "This one was really easy, just because you know the challenge. You know you have a high regard for the team you're playing. The opportunity to play the NFL's best is just that for us. We're excited about that opportunity because as competitors, that's what we want to do. We want to go against the best and put our best foot forward and see how it plays out … There was a lot of excitement about the win, but once Wednesday started, the Dallas game could have been two or three months previous for all the players' concerns. They have been locked in at the task at hand."
Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio
(On what separates Lamar Jackson from the fair share of mobile quarterbacks the Dolphins have faced this season) – "Yeah, fair share mobile quarterbacks? Yes. Then there's Lamar Jackson.(laughter)He's unlike anybody else. The only other player that's been like him in the last 50 years is Michael Vick. He's a tremendous player … He's really improved over the years. Dynamic with the ball. Good passer. He makes their offense go.
QB Tua Tagovailoa
(On what he remembers from last year's game against the Ravens as they prepare to play again) – "It was a hard-fought game. Our team last year, we were able to not let the win or let the score dictate how we wanted to finish and how we wanted to continue to play that game. Obviously the result was a win, but it's a new year. They've made some changes to their defense. Same scheme, but personnel wise, they've moved some guys around and they've also acquired some new guys. What they've put on film, they're very sound in the back end. They'll get to you on the front end and then also with their front seven in the run game, we're going to have to be on our p's and q's when it comes to who we're pointing out. What they've put on film is they're very physical. So we're going to have to match their physicality and we'll be ready come Sunday."
RB Jeff Wilson Jr.
(On what he enjoys about playing a big road game against a great opponent) – "This is like the middle of football. This is the football that you really love as a kid, you dream about, you fantasize about these type of games because I played in Baltimore before so I know the crowd, the energy is going to be electric because they know the stakes just as well as we do. So to go out there and be in that environment and that's what we're entering into and that's what it is from every week from here on out so to go and get those pre-trials right now, I feel like it's tremendous for our team and I can't wait for it."
Playing for Each Other
LB Bradley Chubb
(On why this team has gotten so close) – "I can't really put my finger on it. Guys just buying in with one another and just that brotherhood. I don't know how it is built, but it's organic here. Guys love each other, guys play for one another, and I feel like that's what caused some of the success. That's part of it. You play 10 times harder for a guy because you know what he has off the field. It makes you grow closer as a team, and that's what we need this time of the year."
K Jason Sanders
(On how cool it is to be playing meaningful games late in the season) – "This locker room is different. Everybody cares about each other. Everybody likes being around each other. So you take a team like that and a coach that cares about his players, it's been a fun year and a fun year to be part of."
Clinching A Playoff Berth Against the Cowboys
K Jason Sanders
(On being named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against Dallas) – "It's cool when you get recognized because I'm not the only one that gets recognized. It's the whole offensive line that is on the field goal unit the series leading up to the kick. When I get recognized, they also get recognized too."
WR Tyreek Hill
(On getting back on the field against Dallas after missing the Jets game due to injury) – "It feels good. It feels amazing to be back out there with the guys. I told them every day is a blessing to be able to step on the field, especially with the position that we're in, fighting for the No. 1 spot in the AFC. It's great to be able to play the sport that we love each and every day and inspire people all across the world. It's awesome."