Mike McDaniel explains gutsy call on 4th down that resulted in TD vs. New England Patriots

Mike McDaniel

In the Miami Dolphins’ impressive Week 1 win over the New England Patriots, Dolphins fans got a taste of how gutsy new head coach Mike McDaniel can be.

With just 24 seconds remaining in the first half and a 10-0 lead, the Dolphins uncorked a massive play that resulted in a back-breaking touchdown.

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa found second-year receiver Jaylen Waddle in the middle of the field, and the speedy receiver scampered nearly 30 yards for the score.

It was a fantastic sign of positive change from a coaching standpoint. In previous seasons, fans often felt that the Dolphins were too conservative. That does not seem to be the case anymore, and after the game, McDaniel explained the thinking behind what was the signature play of the game for the Dolphins offense.

“Danny Crossman, our special teams coordinator said, ‘I don’t really like kicking a field goal here,’” McDaniel told ProFootballTalk. “He was like, ’I think it’s right on the fringe of Jason [Sanders’] range,’ and there was enough time for them to flip and score. Then it became. Could we try to draw them offside or do we go for it? There’s a couple plays that I was prepared for it, and it’s what we call a gotta-have-it situation where you kind of prepare for what you think defenses would be and whether or not you like your players executing the plan.”

Following a brief analyzation of the situation, the rookie coach made the gutsy call.

“Once we decided on that, it was a pretty easy decision,” McDaniel said. “I think it’s important not to get caught up, and as I’ve witnessed Kyle Shanahan do, you know, an unbelievable job. He’s at his best when he’s just cold and calculated, so I try to kind of capture that.”

The play served as an example of exactly what Dolphins fans were hoping for out of the offensive-minded McDaniel. Most importantly, it contributed to a big win in Week 1, setting the tone for a Dolphins team that has a lot of high expectations.

The touchdown score was Waddle’s biggest play of the game, and he finished with four catches for 69 yards and one score.

With Week 1 in the books, the Dolphins will now look to an incredibly difficult stretch of games. They’ll take on the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals to finish out the first month of the season.

Without question, McDaniel will surely continue to make some gutsy calls to try to give his team the upper hand in those upcoming matchups.