The Arizona Cardinals came into Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins riding a three-game win streak. Dolphins' rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was making only his second NFL start. Everything seemed to be going in favor of the red-hot Cardinals.
One thing that everyone can say about the Dolphins, however, is that they play hard for coach Brian Flores. Even when everyone counted them out last season they fought their hearts out all year long.
This year is different, the Miami Dolphins are fighting hard but their fight is turning into wins. On Sunday, it turned into a 34-31 win over the Cardinals that pushed the surprisingly competitive Miami Dolphins to a 5-3 record.
5. Arizona needs a every-down running back
The Cardinals are relying on Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds at running back and it's not working out. Arizona needs a running back that can play first and second down, then strictly use Drake as a third-down back. The Cardinals running game should have went off against the Miami Dolphins but that did not happen.
Chase Edmonds ran for 70 yards in the game against the Miami Dolphins. Arizona does not give their running backs enough time to get into a groove. They bail on the run game with their backs to let QB Kyler Murray run the football.
The Cardinals will not be successful if they continue with the running game that they have now. The way things are going in Arizona, Kyler Murray is going to get hurt and their whole season is going to be washed down the drain. The Cardinals need to let Murray be the quarterback and let their running backs run the football.
4. The Miami Dolphins are going to be contenders soon
The Miami Dolphins are showing the signs of being very successful in the next couple of seasons. The Dolphins just need to add a few pieces to make their puzzle complete. It's looking like they made the right choice on taking a gamble on Tua.
Miami may not make the playoffs this year or next year, but look for them to contend with the Bills for the AFC East in Tua's third year. The great thing about Miami is that they're growing together. They're going through this rebuild together and it is starting to show promise.
The Dolphins are heading into the weaker part of their schedule in the next couple of weeks. The Dolphins have the Chargers, Broncos, Jets, and Bengals in the next four weeks. Miami could be heading into their game against Kansas City on a hot streak. The Dolphins are going to make a strong push towards the playoffs.
3. The Miami Dolphins played a mistake-free football game
One key area that brought the Miami Dolphins to a victory on Sunday was not turning the ball over. The Dolphins protected the football with their lives on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals currently have the No. 1 offense in total yards per game.
The Dolphins knew that they needed to play an almost perfect game to walk out of Arizona with a victory. Miami went 4-8 on third down giving them a 50% conversion rate which is huge when it comes to winning close games. The Miami special teams came through with a big touchdown as well. This was a total team victory for the Miami Dolphins.
2. Kyler Murray tries to do too much for the Arizona offense
Murray led the Arizona Cardinals offense in rushing yards against the Miami Dolphins. There are times where it seems like Murray does not trust his teammates. He tends to take things into his own hands and doesn't understand that it only hurts the team in the end.
Kyler Murray is a great fit for the Arizona Cardinals offense and will have a successful career in the NFL. Sometimes as fans we forget that Kyler Murray is only in his second year in the NFL. He is still learning and developing and he came from a college where he had to do a lot to make the offense work.
The Arizona Cardinals have found their franchise quarterback and have equipped him with good wide receivers. The key for the Cardinals is to get him a solid running back that can make an impact on a football game. If they can do this it will not only benefit his stats but his career when it comes to injuries.
1. Tua Tagovailoa shows why the Miami Dolphins made the right gamble
Tua Tagovailoa completed 71% of his passes against the Arizona Cardinals. He threw for over 200 yards and 2 touchdowns. The biggest key to these stats are the zero interceptions for Tua.
The other stat that stands out for Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins is that they only let him get sacked three times in the football game. Tagovailoa has been playing smart and staying in the pocket and not using his legs. He has only taken off and run when he is 100% sure that he can get down safely.
Tua has made a big leap from his first start. He doubled his passing yards and touchdowns from Week one. Tua made all the right decisions and showed why he is the franchise quarterback for the Miami Dolphins.