MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) – The Miami Dolphins are showing few weaknesses on offense.
At 5-1, the Dolphins have bulldozed teams behind Tua Tagovailoa`s accuracy, wide receiver Tyreek Hill`s dynamics and a running game that has been just as productive as their passing attack.
Miami overcame a 14-point deﬁcit to defeat the Panthers 42-21 Sunday in a game that showed coach Mike McDaniel the growth in his team from last season to now.
"It was a big day for our football team and I think the guys knew it," McDaniel said. "They didn’t bat an eye. They didn’t go at each other. They didn’t question calls. They didn’t do all the things that when it’s the ﬁrst time that you’ve put forth maximum effort and you have enough talent on your team, the ﬁrst time that happens, it’s not that easy."
Miami will next face the athletic dualthreat quarterback Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles (5-1), and Tagovailoa understands the magnitude of that matchup. It will provide the Dolphins with an opportunity to show they can beat tougher opponents.
The Eagles, a season removed from playing in the Super Bowl, have the best record of any team Miami has faced so far but are coming off a 20-14 loss to the New York Jets.
"I think this is a game that a lot of people are going to want to see, given the talent that’s on that side of the ball, the talent that’s on this side of the ball,“ Tagovailoa said. "It’s one of those where, ‘OK, we’ve got a lot of good matchups across the board. How are these guys going to play us? How are we going to come out against these guys?` “So we’re really excited for this next opponent."
Tagovailoa leads the league in passer rating (114.1), yards passing (1,876) and yards per attempt (9.7). He`s the only quarterback in the NFL this season to post a 90-plus passer rating in all six games after he completed 21 of 31 passes for 262 yards, three touchdowns and a 126.0 quarterback rating Sunday.
The Dolphins are also averaging nearly 500 yards per game, with 181.8 yards coming on the ground each week. After posting 162 yards rushing Sunday, Miami has rushed for at least 140 yards as a team in the last ﬁve games.
Tagovailoa found Hill six times for 163 yards and a 41-yard touchdown. Hill now has 814 yards through six games, which is the most in that span in the Super Bowl era.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The Panthers had early success against Miami`s run defense, which has been gashed on the ground several times this season. Carolina had 63 yards rushing in the opening quarter, highlighted by eight carries, 49 yards and a 6-yard rushing score by Chuba Hubbard.
Raheem Mostert. The ninth-year veteran rushed for multiple touchdowns for the fourth time this year and is powering Miami`s run game by averaging nearly six yards per carry. Mostert said earlier this season that he feels great physically. That has shown in the 31-year-old`s production. He had 17 carries for 115 yards Sunday and scored three times. He has a league-best nine rushing touchdowns – 11 total – which is a career high.
Mostert gave credit to Miami`s offensive line, which has only given up six sacks in six games,
"They make it a little bit easier,“ Mostert said, “and also receivers and pretty much everybody in the offense to help out with that cause. But I’m just trying to do something remarkable for myself, and I’m just trying to set the standard not only for myself but a lot of people who come in as an undrafted guy."
Backup quarterback Mike White. He replaced Tagovailoa with about four minutes left and threw an interception that was returned by cornerback Troy Hill for a touchdown.
C Connor Williams missed his second game with a groin injury. … McDaniel said CB Xavien Howard is day to day after injuring his groin. Howard dealt with a groin issue for most of last season, which hindered him on the ﬁeld. … RB Chris Brooks was down on the ﬁeld for a while after hurting his ankle in the fourth. He was helped off without putting much weight on the ankle.
2002 – The last time the Dolphins started a season 5-1.
The Dolphins visit the Eagles on Sunday night and after hosting divisionrival New England the following week, Miami will take on Kansas City in Germany.