Orchard Park, NY (AP) — Down but not defeated. And definitely not done.
Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins believe they are taking positive steps toward the playoffs despite being in the middle of a three-game skid after Saturday night’s 32-29 loss to the Buffalo Bills. increase.
“I am a very optimistic person,” said Tagovailoa. “Tonight I want to see all the good things our team has shown against opponents in a really tough division.”
Miami (8-6) remains in the playoff hunt after being placed in the AFC’s sixth-seeded side over the weekend to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2016. They swept the season series against Buffalo for the first time since 2016, dropping three wins to the Bills (11-3) in the race for the AFC East title.
Encouraging the Dolphins was an improved offensive performance from previous losses against the 49ers and Chargers, leading in the fourth quarter against the AFC-leading Bills.
Coach Mike McDaniel said, “It’s the football day and night we’ve been playing since goodbye.” I guess.”
The Dolphins had 405 yards offense and 20 first downs against Buffalo after combining 527 yards and 28 first downs in their previous two outings.
With running back Jeff Wilson sidelined with a hip injury, Miami established a running game early on, with Raheem Mostert gaining 101 of his 136 rushing yards in the first quarter. Salvon Ahmed added 43 yards on an 11-yard touchdown run.
“It started with a running back,” McDaniel said. “They knew it was their time. Yes, and if you don’t chase them, they make you look pretty dumb and pretty fast.”
Tagovailoa scored 234 yards on 17-of-30 passes on a 67-yard touchdown toss to Jalen Waddle and a 20-yard touchdown toss to Tyreek Hill to give the Dolphins a 26-21 lead in the third quarter. gave the lead of .
“I am really proud that our leader has stepped up in this game,” said Tagovailoa. We are one step ahead.”
On cold, snowy nights throughout the fourth quarter, the Dolphins believe they defied those who doubted their ability to play in adverse conditions.
“After this performance, we can let it rest,” said Tagovailoa. “Not being able to play cold weather teams, not being able to compete with cold weather teams.”
Miami has lost the last 9 degrees while temperatures are below 40 degrees. In his final 10 visit to Buffalo in December, he dropped from 2 to 8.
The game was temporarily suspended in the second quarter when officials warned fans to stop throwing snowballs onto the field.
“Their fans are electric,” said Tagovailoa. “I’m glad I didn’t get hit by a snowball. But there were some near misses on the sidelines.”
McDaniel was generally optimistic about how his team ended the three-game trip.
“Perspective is important,” said McDaniel. “There’s something to learn from that. Sure, it’s a gut check. But I know they aspire to be great. Well, this is something only great people can do. Really.” You give it your all, you really invest, you put in a lot of time, you do everything right and you still fall short.
Going into the final stages of the season, McDaniel hopes the Dolphins will show better determination in the face of adversity.
“There is no season without adversity,” said McDaniel. “I saw the frustration running through my head that I didn’t want to see. People are going to play. Especially good teams. We need to get used to really wanting to win and dealing with the consequences.”
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