A look inside the emotion in Dolphins locker room last night after a rough offensive day costs them an AFC East title.
And the quick shift to playing the Chiefs Saturday night still with belief especially as 2 of their top offensive players near a return.
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) January 8, 2024
“Let me take you into the locker room after the game,” NFL insider Cameron Wolfe said. “A walk into the locker room and it’s silent. You could hear a pin drop. It kind of felt like a season-ending loss, and you look around at the players — they’re looking down at their phone — and you know they put a lot into this game. They were hoping to win the division. That was a team goal of theirs. They were up three games in the AFC East with five games to play, and it just did not work out.
“And then fullback Alec Ingold told me that Mike McDaniel gave them a message of supreme accountability. He said, ‘This is gonna hurt, and it should. You guys gotta look yourself in the mirror and figure out what you gotta do to take the next step from this point.’ And they’ve got a short turnaround. They play Saturday night against the [Kansas City] Chiefs. And obviously there’s a lot of emotions, but guys told me in the locker room they feel like they can turn it around emotion-wise and get back to a position where they could potentially win this game.”
At halftime, the Dolphins held a 14-7 lead over the Bills but were outscored 14-0 the rest of the way.
Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had one of his worst performances of the 2023 regular season in the loss. He totaled 173 passing yards and ended up with just one passing touchdown compared to two interceptions.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen played far from a perfect game against the Dolphins, seeing as how he also threw for two interceptions, but he outplayed Tagovailoa. Allen had over twice as many passing yards as Tagovailoa with 359 and completed 30 of his 38 passing attempts, throwing for two touchdowns along the way.
Another one of the Dolphins’ top offensive players in wide receiver Tyreek Hill also had a forgettable performance in the team’s final game of the 2023 regular season. He did tally 82 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown for Miami, but for reference, Hill averaged 112.4 receiving yards per game on the season.
By losing to the Bills, the Dolphins fell to 11-6 on the season and failed to clinch the AFC East title. Buffalo finished with an identical record to the Dolphins at 11-6 but clinched the division title after beating the Dolphins in both matchups between the two teams this season.
Before beating the Dolphins on Sunday, Buffalo picked up a win over Miami on Oct. 1 and handed the team its first loss of the season. The Bills beat the Dolphins by a final score of 48-20 behind a great game from Allen, who threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns compared to zero interceptions.
As Wolfe alluded to, the Dolphins won’t have much time to think over their latest loss, as the team will take on the Chiefs on the road in a playoff game on Saturday. Hopefully, two of the Dolphins’ best offensive players in Hill and Tagovailoa will play better against Kansas City than they did in the team’s last game against Buffalo.