MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Coming off the high of a blowout win over the New York Giants the Sunday prior, the Miami Dolphins looked to double it up on their homestand at Hard Rock Stadium against the winless Carolina Panthers.
But it didn’t turn out that way early on, as the Panthers were on fire in the first quarter, taking the early lead. But from the second quarter onward, it was all Miami and the Dolphins dropped 35 straight points to take command, ultimately winning by a score of 42-21.
If you discontinue the second and third drives of Carolina, it was a complete domination by the Dolphins defense, limiting rookie quarterback Bryce Young to 217 yards and 15 incompletions, along with four sacks and quite a few stops on fourth down.
There goes that man 😤
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) October 15, 2023
On the offense, Tua Tagovailoa had another solid game with 21 completions off of 31 passes, 262 yards and three touchdowns, along with no interceptions and no sacks.
But the potential MVP of this Dolphins offense continued to impress. Running back Raheem Mostert flew by the Cats with 132 total yards and three touchdowns both on the ground and in the air, proving himself as the true RB1 of this team with De’Von Achane currently injured.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill was an unstoppable force once again, racking up 163 yards and a touchdown, finding open space all night and flying by defenders. There was a concern when Hill had to leave the game in the third quarter, but it turned out to be just a cramp, and he was back in no time.
A First Quarter We Can Gloss Over
It looked to be a long day for the Panthers offense on their first drive of the game, as an instant three-and-out capitalized by a Bradley Chubb sack.
But after a pair of Dolphins punts, Carolina kicked it up a notch thanks in part to wide receiver Adam Thielen, (Offseason signing from Minnesota) finding open grass up the middle for big gains. Before you knew it, the Panthers were up 14-0 with a run up the middle by Chuba Hubbard and a catch in the back by Thielen.
Now, this is what we're talking about 🤩 pic.twitter.com/4FA2ppi5dF
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) October 15, 2023
Just like that, the Fins were down by 14 points after not trailing against the Giants the week prior. Fortunately for Miami, this was the last bit of offensive success that the Panthers had for the rest of the day, as to say defensive coordinator Vic Fangio made some adjustments would be a massive understatement.
Miami is not a team that punts frequently, but their first two drives featured a couple of short passes and some handoffs for no gain. For as hot as their offense can be, this was abnormally tame when it comes to playcalling, especially considering their success on opening drives this season.
A Sigh Of Relief In The Quarter #2
The offense began to play like the offense we’re all familiar with in the second quarter and onward, as Miami’s next three drives all ended with touchdowns in dramatic fashion, taking the lead by a score of 21-14 at halftime.
Carolina was then forced to punt on fourth down but attempted a fake punt with a receiver NEARLY making the distance, just inches short after further review. On their first ensuing play, a 49-yard sprint by Mostert set up a touchdown pass to Waddle two plays later, tying the game up at 14 each.
After a quick and easy Panthers punt, Miami’s final touchdown of the first half was capped off with a 41-yard bomb to Hill. Something that has to be commended was the Fins ability to achieve first downs on 3rd and 8 and 3rd and 10, otherwise unfavorable scenarios.
Wow. The Tyreek Hill VIDEO 👀
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) October 15, 2023
Smooth Sailing In The Second Half
All the stress of the first half dwindled away in both the third and fourth quarters, as after a pair of punts, Miami got their next two touchdowns thanks to a healthy combination of deep balls to Hill and handoffs to Mostert for the score. At this point, the score was 35-14 and the game felt very much in the hands of the Dolphins.
The Fins sent in backup quarterback Mike White and the second-string offense to take over, and a pick-six by Carolina gave them their final points of the day.
Even still, Miami’s backups still managed one more scoring drive thanks in part to solid running by Chris Brooks and one more rushing touchdown, this time by veteran Salvon Ahmed. All in all, it was an impressive performance in a 42-21 blowout victory.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) October 15, 2023
Stat-wise, Miami ended with 424 total offensive yards, 23 first downs, and was a perfect 5-5 in the red zone. The #1 passing and #1 rushing offense had another balanced game with 32 passing attempts and 33 rushing attempts.
Carolina, now 0-6, still managed 21 first downs, committed two interceptions or fumbles, and even had a larger time of possession by a single minute.
So the Dolphins now have a 5-1 record, their best start to a season since 2002. Their biggest test of the season so far is coming on Sunday night on October 22nd as they head to the City of Brotherly Love to take on the (At the time of this article) undefeated Philadelphia Eagles.