HEROES: In the team’s historic performance in defeating the Denver Broncos 70-20, included quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, receiver Tyreek Hill rookie running back De`Von Achane and veteran running back Raheem Mostert. PHOTO COURTESY OF FACEBOOK
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) – It may sound strange after the Miami Dolphins` offense put up a historic performance during a game that was never in doubt, but coach Mike McDaniel believes his team responds well to adversity.
“We talked at length all offseason just about adversity,” McDaniel said, “and sometimes adversity is having a score or two lead because you can let the atmosphere dictate your product.
“So what I saw from a lot of guys, and speciﬁcally when you’re talking about that type of production, that’s guys really taking it to heart – that we have one opportunity with this team in 2023, and we’re going to make the most of it and be unrelenting with our standards.”
The Dolphins maintained those standards throughout their 70-20 drubbing of the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Miami recorded 726 yards of total offense, including 350 yards rushing, in the most impressive display of offensive ﬁrepower since McDaniel took over last year.
Miami`s 70 points were the most in the NFL since 1966 and tied for the third-most in any game in league history. McDaniel acknowledged the signiﬁcance of those totals while emphasizing that his team has much bigger goals this season.
The Dolphins (3-0) are the only unbeaten team in the AFC and have the league`s top-ranked offense thanks to McDaniel`s creative play design, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa`s arm and a collection of skill players with unmatched speed.
Miami has the NFL`s top six fastest ball carriers this season, according to the league`s NextGen stats.
Receiver Tyreek Hill is responsible for three of those six plays, including the fastest of the year. He reached 22.07 mph on one of his nine catches for 157 yards Sunday.
Rookie running back De`Von Achane ranks second; he was clocked at 21.93 mph and 21.62 mph on two of his 18 carries.
Running back Raheem Mostert, who has had consecutive games with multiple touchdowns, is also on the list. He reached 21.62 mph in Week 2.
Another speedster, receiver Jaylen Waddle, remained in the concussion protocol Monday after a helmet-to-helmet hit against New England in Week
2. McDaniel the team expects Waddle to clear the protocol soon.
Left tackle Terron Armstead said Sunday`s performance showed how “dangerous” the Dolphins can be, while emphasizing that they can`t slow down.
“I think we’re going to get every team’s best shot,” Armstead said. “They’re going to put their best game plan together. We’ve got guys on the edge that they have to scheme for. We’ve got guys in the backﬁeld they have to scheme for. So nobody’s going to take us lightly anyway.”
Miami`s offensive line has shown drastic improvement from a unit that was maligned that past few seasons. The Dolphins did not allow a sack Sunday for the second time this season and have allowed just one through three games. The last time the Dolphins allowed one or no sacks in the ﬁrst three games of a season was 1989. Tagovailoa has only been hit ﬁve times.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The Dolphins scored touchdowns on 10 of 13 offensive drives and forced three turnovers against the Broncos. There isn`t much to criticize.
Achane’s 203 rushing yards in his second game were the most by any NFL player in the ﬁrst or second game of his career in the Super Bowl era. He and Mostert are the second pair of teammates in NFL history to score four touchdowns each in the same game.
The special teams allowed Marvin Mims Jr. to score on a 99-yard kick return late in the fourth quarter, though the game was well out of hand by then.
WR River Cracraft suffered a shoulder injury. McDaniel said the team is still doing tests to determine how long he will be out. … LB Jaelan Phillips left with an oblique injury and is day to day. He missed Miami`s previous game with a back injury. … C Connor Williams hurt his groin and is day to day.
The Dolphins have 130 points and 1,651 total yards through the end of Week 3, which is the most in the NFL since 1970. … Miami is 11-1 in games that Tagovailoa starts against teams with a coach who has won a Super Bowl, including 10 wins in a row. He has won against Bill Belichick (ﬁve times), Sean Payton (twice), Sean McVay, Jon Gruden, John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin. His only loss was on Dec. 13, 2020, to Andy Reid.
The Dolphins visit Buffalo Sunday. They split the regular-season series with the Bills in 2022 before losing at Buffalo in the wild-card round of the playoffs.