Chiefs vs. Dolphins highlights: Catch up on the big moments from KC's win in Germany

The Kansas City Chiefs hung on to beat the Miami Dolphins to kick off the NFL's Sunday schedule for Week 9.

With a minute left and the game on the line, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was unable to corral an errant snap and the Chiefs recovered the football on the fourth-down play.

This clash of potential AFC championship game contenders started with a lopsided first half. The Chiefs took a 21-0 lead into halftime, and saw the Dolphins score 14 unanswered points in the third quarter to set up an exciting finish.

But the Chiefs got the last laugh defensively, causing Tagovailoa and the Dolphins offense to retreat backward on three occasions in the fourth quarter to end their comeback attempt.

Mahomes finished the game 20 of 30 for 185 yards with touchdown passes to receiver Rashee Rice and running back Jerick McKinnon, while safety Bryan Cook scored a 59-yard fumble return just before halftime to lead the Chiefs.

Tagovailoa was 21 of 34 for 193 yards, throwing a touchdown pass to Cedrick Wilson Jr., while running back Raheem Mostert scored on 13-yard run with 22 seconds left in the third quarter.

Before the Dolphins’ final fumble, Tagovailoa was sacked on consecutive plays on Miami’s second-to-last drive as their offense was unable to tie the game in the fourth quarter.

The Chiefs improve to 7-2, while the Dolphins fall to 6-3. Both teams have a bye in Week 10. — Safid Deen

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Bye week: Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers

Winners and losers from Chiefs' win over Dolphins


Kansas City Chiefs: The first AFC team to reach seven wins in the 2023 season, the reigning Super Bowl champions cemented their hold on the conference’s projected No. 1 playoff seed and home-field advantage – which is pretty important given the last five AFC championship games have been staged at Arrowhead Stadium. K.C. now rolls into its Week 10 bye week, which is followed by a massive Monday nighter at Arrowhead, a Super Bowl 57 rematch with the Philadelphia Eagles.

K.C. D: The Chiefs offense has not been as explosive in 2023, and Sunday’s 21 points fell short of the team’s 23.4-point average entering Week 9. Luckily, the defense has stepped up in a massive way – never more so than limited the Miami Dolphins’ top-ranked offense to a season-low 14 points and just 292 total yards (the Fins’ second-lowest total in 2023). Not only did Kansas City stonewall Miami as it drove for a potential game-tying score on its final possession, Chiefs S Bryan Cook’s 59-yard fumble return for a touchdown at the end of the first half proved to be the difference in the game.

Germany: The league’s second regular-season game in Deutschland appeared to be another massive success, more than 50,000 attending in Frankfurt’s Deutsche Bank Park, a venue designed for Bundesliga soccer matches. Next week, the venue will host the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots in this season’s final international game … and we’d expect one more rendition of the late John Denver’s, "Take Me Home, Country Roads."


Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill: To the degree either of Miami’s offensive stars should be under MVP consideration, Sunday was a blow to such candidacy. Tagovailoa passed for 193 yards and one TD in his least-productive game of the season. Worse, his inability to handle Miami’s final snap from scrimmage cost the Dolphins any shot at tying or winning the game deep in K.C. territory. Hill finished with a pedestrian eight catches for 62 yards but also committed the pivotal fumble in a game he’d had circled against his former team.

Travis Kelce: The Chiefs improved to 3-2 in games this season not attended by Taylor Swift. However Swift's beau, TE Travis Kelce, was again quiet with her presumably halfway across the world. Kelce’s three catches and 14 yards were both season lows. However, it must be noted those 14 yards were sufficient to make Kelce the Chiefs' all-time leader in receiving yards (10,941) as he supplanted Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez by 1 yard Sunday.

Dolphins: Though still 6-3 and in strong position to ultimately secure a playoff spot, Miami continues to feed the narrative it beats up on the NFL’s weak links but can’t hang with the big boys. The Dolphins are averaging 39 points in their victories – all against sub-.500 opponents – but just 17 in defeat, each of those occurring against teams also projected to be in the playoffs. Fortunately for Miami, the only team it will face – twice – with a winning record before Christmas Eve is the AFC East rival New York Jets, who are 4-3 and have plenty of problems of their own. — Nate Davis

Two-minute warning: Dolphins driving

We're set up for a heck of a finish in Frankfurt.

The Dolphins have the ball back after holding the Chiefs to a three-and-out. On their first play after receiving the punt, Miami got a 25-yard run by Raheem Mostert to the Kansas City 31 yard line.

We've reached the two-minute warning.

Huge defensive stop by Chiefs

The Dolphins had a great chance to tie the game, but their offensive drive ended with two debilitating sacks and a punt.

Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was sacked twice for 11-yard losses on consecutive plays, killing Miami’s drive after it passed midfield.

The Dolphins offense was somewhat rolling with a chance to capitalize on the Chiefs' misfortune in the second half. But the Chiefs defense got the job down to keep Kansas City’s lead intact.

The Chiefs took over at their own 10-yard line, after Mecole Hardman returned the punt instead of letting it reach the end zone for a touchback.

There’s 4:10 left in this game. — Safid Deen

NFL referee speaks German to make penalty call

If you were wondering if referee Clay Martin spoke a different language after the game's first penalty, you'd be correct.

After a false start from Dolphins wide receiver Chase Claypool, Martin said the first part of the penalty call in German.

"Fehlstart," the sixth-year NFL referee said before continuing in English. "Offense, number 83. Five-yard penalty. Third down." — Jack McKessy

Frankfurt crowd sings 'Take Me Home, Country Roads'

If "traditions" can take root after two games, then we have one in Germany.

As the third quarter of Sunday’s Chiefs-Dolphins game in Frankfurt expired, the crowd at Deutsche Bank Park erupted into a singalong rendition of the late John Denver’s "Take Me Home, Country Roads." Because, naturally.

The same thing happened at Allianz Arena in Munich last year, when the Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks in Germany’s first NFL regular-season game. — Nate Davis

Chiefs' Chris Jones called for crucial penalty

An unnecessary roughness penalty by Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones on third down helped the Dolphins close to within one touchdown.

Jones pushed a Dolphins offensive lineman after the third-down play, and the Dolphins made the Chiefs pay one play later. — Safid Deen

Raheem Mostert touchdown: Chiefs 21, Dolphins 14

The stage is set for a meaningful final quarter.

Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert scored on a 13-yard run with 22 seconds left in the third quarter, and the Chiefs are hanging onto a 21-14 lead.

The Dolphins have scored 14 unanswered in the third quarter, and a crucial Chiefs penalty after a Chiefs turnover have gotten Miami back in this game.

Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones was called for unnecessary roughness on a pivotal third down, pushing a Dolphins offensive lineman after the play. And the Dolphins made the Chiefs pay one play later.

The Dolphins regained possession after Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes fumbled after he was sacked by edge rusher Bradley Chubb, and defensive tackle Zach Sieler recovered the ball.

If the first three quarters were any indication, we could be in for an exciting finish in Germany. — Safid Deen

Cedrick Wilson Jr. touchdown: Chiefs 21, Dolphins 7

The Dolphins have finally found some mojo offensively.

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa found receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. for a 31-yard touchdown, and the Chiefs’ lead has been trimmed to 21-7 with 4:47 left in the third quarter.

The Dolphins notched their first conversion on third down in the game during the drive, which lasted eight plays, 80 yards and more than five minutes of game time.

Tagovailoa was 6 for 6 on the drive to lead Miami. — Safid Deen

The Taylor Swift effect?

It definitely seems real as it pertains to the Chiefs and TE Travis Kelce, who’s been – hanging out? – with the mega pop star in recent weeks, though he declined Friday to say whether or not he’s in love.

Regardless, no doubt that Kelce and the reigning Super Bowl champs have played at a higher level whenever Swift is on the premises – which she apparently isn’t today in Germany with her "Eras Tour" resuming in South America in recent days. Kansas City is 4-0 this season when Swift is in attendance and 2-2 when she’s got other things to do.

Kelce, specifically, has averaged 6.7 catches for 50.3 yards and 0.7 TDs in three games with Swift absent (he missed Week 1 with a knee injury). But when she’s cheering him on from a suite? In those four contests, Kelce has averaged 8.5 receptions for 108 yards and 0.5 TDs.

Going into halftime, Kelce had two grabs for 7 yards. — Nate Davis

Dolphins punter hits scoreboard with kick

NFL punters lofting kicks into a scoreboard became an issue when Jerry Jones hung his massive replay system above the field at the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium. And it's definitely not unusual to see punters try to drill the scoreboard at Arlington, Texas, in pregame warmups, yet it's also happened during games – such plays requiring a stoppage in play and subsequent re-kick.

A similar occurrence took place Sunday at Frankfurt's Deutsche Bank Park, with Dolphins P Jake Bailey drilling the underside of the German scoreboard suspended above the field right before halftime. (He sailed a 48-yarder with his mulligan.)

Of more concern, Bailey has punted five times today – already a season high – while the Dolphins' 41-game streak, including playoffs, of not being shut out before halftime came to an end. — Nate Davis

Halftime score: Chiefs 21, Dolphins 0

The first half could not have gone better for the Chiefs, while it could not have ended more horribly for the Dolphins.

The Dolphins were driving down the field in the final minutes of the first half until star receiver Tyreek Hill was stuffed and fumbled in the backfield, leading to a 59-yard fumble recovery touchdown by Chiefs safety Bryan Cook with 33 seconds remaining.

Patrick Mahomes added touchdown throws to receiver Rashee Rice and running back Jerick McKinnon, and the Chiefs own a 21-0 lead on the Dolphins at halftime.

Mahomes is 14 of 19 for 147 yards, connecting with eight different receivers in this game, while tight end Travis Kelce has just two catches for 7 yards. Running back Isiah Pacheco has 10 carries for 41 yards.

Tua Tagovailoa is 11 of 18 for 89 yards, while Hill has five catches for 39 yards and Jaylen Waddle has two catches for 29 yards and a 12-yard run. But the Dolphins have not had a drive last longer than six plays in this game, going 0 for 5 on third down in the first half.

The battle between the Chiefs and Dolphins, the top two seeds in the AFC, has been one-sided so far. — Safid Deen

Kansas City defensive touchdown: Chiefs 21, Dolphins 0

Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie stripped Dolphins star receiver Tyreek Hill after a catch, the ball was picked up by Mike Edwards, who lateralled it and safety Bryan Cook returned it 59 yards for a touchdown in the final minute of the first half to give Kansas City a 21-0 lead just before halftime.

The Dolphins went to their four-minute offense and were charging down the field until Hill was stopped in the backfield and fumbled to his former team. — Safid Deen

Jerick McKinnon touchdown: Chiefs 14, Dolphins 0

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are now up two scores on the Dolphins in Germany.

Mahomes found trusty running back Jerick McKinnon underneath for a 17-yard catch-and-run touchdown to help the Chiefs take a 14-0 lead with 2:31 left in the first half.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was a decoy on the play, freeing up space for McKinnon to roam freely into the end zone.

A penalty by Dolphins edge rusher Bradley Chubb early on extended the Chiefs’ drive to 13 plays and 95 yards. The Dolphins offense has yet to answer in this game. — Safid Deen

How legit are the Dolphins?

Miami and its top-ranked offense came into Sunday's game with a 6-2 record, good for first place in the AFC East and second overall in the conference. But how good are the Fins? Really?

That's been the major question this year, all six of the Dolphins' wins coming against sub-.500 teams, their average margin of victory 18.2 points per game. However they're 0-2 against bona fide playoff contenders like K.C., blown out by the Bills and Eagles by an average of 21 points. Consequently, Miami has only cracked the top five in USA TODAY Sports' NFL power rankings once this season, following Week 3's memorable 70-point outburst against Denver. But, currently, the Dolphins sit in the ninth spot, behind clubs like the Chiefs, Jaguars, Bills and Ravens.

Today is another important litmus test for Miami's legitimacy going into January … though it's worth noting, following a Week 10 bye, the only opponent with a winning record on the Dolphins lineup before Christmas Eve is the AFC East rival New York Jets (4-3), twice. — Nate Davis

End of first quarter: Chiefs 7, Dolphins 0

Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs down the field on the first drive of the game. And that was all the offense we’ve seen in the first quarter.

The Dolphins defense settled into the game on the Chiefs’ next two drives, resulting in punts. But the Dolphins offense has gotten off to a slow start. A penalty and missed block by left tackle Terron Armstead on third-and-15 ending Miami’s second drive. The Dolphins have punted twice.

Chiefs receiver Rashee Rice caught Mahomes’ first touchdown pass of the game, while star tight end Travis Kelce has two catches for 7 yards. Star Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill has two catches for 17 yards to start the game. — Safid Deen

Dolphins' Jaylen Waddle returns

After leaving the first drive, Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle was back on the field for Miami's second possession. He took an end around 12 yards and later caught a 17-yard pass that was nullified by a penalty. — Nate Davis

Dolphins' Jaylen Waddle injured

Dolphins receiver Jaylen Waddle was injured on the second play of Miami’s first drive.

Waddle appeared to be caught under a tackle when running back Raheem Mostert ran toward the right side for no gain on the play.

Waddle was announced to have a knee injury and is questionable to return. He started the drive with a 15-yard completion from Tua Tagovailoa. He has been dealing with a back injury in recent weeks. — Safid Deen

Rashee Rice touchdown: Chiefs 7, Dolphins 0

Well, the Chiefs don’t appear jetlagged.

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense blazed down the field, and are on the board first in this one.

Mahomes found receiver Rashee Rice for an 11-yard touchdown on a wide receiver screen one play after a touchdown was taken off the board. Mahomes nearly has an 11-yard touchdown to Justin Watson, but the ball hit the field as Watson finished his catch.

The Chiefs needed just seven plays and 75 yards to reach the end zone on the opening drive of the game. — Safid Deen

No European vacation

The Chiefs and Dolphins have taken drastically different travel approaches to this game, and that's always a fascinating (and highly parsed) component of International Series games played across the Atlantic.

The Chiefs are 2-0 in international matchups, both occurring during HC Andy Reid's tenure. They beat the Lions in London in 2015 and defeated the Chargers in Mexico in 2019. Coming off a Week 8 loss in Denver's mile-high altitude, Reid opted to let his AFC West leaders recuperate in Kansas City before arriving in Germany on Friday.

Conversely, the Dolphins – they're 2-4 internationally, losing the first-ever regular-season game in London to the New York Giants in 2007 – landed in Germany on Tuesday. Coach Mike McDaniel wanted his first international game with Miami to double as a bonding experience for his players while also giving them sufficient time to adapt their bodies to the local time zone.

Who did it better? Verdict in about three hours. — Nate Davis

Chiefs get opening kickoff

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense will be on the field first.

NFL picks Week 9

The NFL is back, its 104th season set to kick off, and USA TODAY Sports’ panel of resident NFL experts have made their Week 9 picks. Check them out here.

Chiefs-Dolphins inactives

These players will not be in uniform today, no huge surprises.

NFL's international outreach expanding to Brazil and Spain?

Germany has joined England, Canada and Mexico among international countries where the NFL has staged regular-season games since 2007. Sunday morning, during an interview with NFL Network, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league plans to expand to a new nation in 2024 – Brazil and Spain vying for the honor. — Nate Davis

Hello, Deutschland!

Today's matchup between Kansas City and Miami – both divisional leaders with 6-2 records which currently own the AFC's top two projected playoff seeds, respectively – marks the NFL's second regular-season game in Germany. Last year, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Seattle Seahawks 21-16 in front of approximately 70,000 very spirited fans in Munich.

The Chiefs and Dolphins will meet in Frankfurt, not an hour from where I graduated from high school on a U.S. Army base. Back in the day, Germans very much backed the Frankfurt Galaxy in the old World League of American Football (aka NFL Europe). As I wrote two years ago when the NFL revealed its intention to expand to the German market, "I was witness to a passionate base of Frankfurt Galaxy fans … even if their enthusiasm for American football often outstripped their education – extra points and punts often drawing far more cheers than first downs or touchdowns. I still can't unhear those ardent chants of 'Goooo, Galaxy' tinged with the local accent. And European fashion being what it was at the time, not unusual to see a local wearing green and purple knockoff Los Angeles Raiders gear, the NFL Properties police opting not to cross the Atlantic to crack down on such unofficial merchandise." — Nate Davis

NFL Week 9 odds

Our guide to the NFL betting odds, picks and spreads has you covered with Thursday Night Football odds, Sunday Night Football odds and/or Monday Night Football odds.

If you’re new to sports betting, don’t worry. We have tips for beginners on how to place bet online. And USA TODAY readers can claim exclusive promos and bonus codes with the online sportsbooks and sports betting sites. — Richard Morin

All odds provided by BetMGM

Chiefs vs. Dolphins in Germany: Predictions, picks and odds

The Chiefs are favorites to defeat the Dolphins, according to BetMGM NFL odds.

  • Spread: Chiefs (-1.5)

  • Moneyline: Chiefs (-125); Dolphins (+105)

  • Over/under: 50.5

USA TODAY Sports’ staff picks for this game:

  • Lorenzo Reyes: Chiefs 29, Dolphins 23

  • Tyler Dragon: Chiefs 28, Dolphins 27

  • Safid Deen: Dolphins 31, Chiefs 28

  • Victoria Hernandez: Dolphins 32, Chiefs 27

  • Jordan Mendoza: Dolphins 29, Chiefs 27

Is Taylor Swift going to Chiefs-Dolphins game in Germany?

Travis Kelce declined to discuss Taylor Swift’s status for Sunday’s game in Germany.

The Chiefs tight end spoke Friday at a news conference but wouldn’t say whether the pop star plans to attend the game against the Dolphins at Deutsche Bank Park.

“When I mention or everybody knows that she’s at the game, the Vegas, the over under on my catches kind of goes up and down, the spread goes up and down,” Kelce joked. “I don’t want to mess with any of that stuff, so I’m just going to keep it to myself.” — The Associated Press

Tyreek Hill stats: Dolphins WR in midst of historic season

Dolphins All-Pro WR Tyreek Hill enters his first game against the Chiefs, the club which drafted him in 2016, leading the NFL with 1,014 receiving yards (and 8 TDs). He is the first player in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to be on the receiving end of 1,000 yards in a season's first eight games. And with nine more contests on the docket, he's on pace to finish with 2,155 – that would shatter Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson's single-season standard (1,964 yards in 2012) – and achieve Hill's avowed goal of becoming the league's first 2,000-yard receiver. Rams WR Cooper Kupp is the only other man to exceed 1,900 in the regular season, doing so two years ago. — Nate Davis

Chiefs' Travis Kelce season stats: Taking aim at another 1,000-yard year

The Chiefs superstar tight end won't be surpassing 2,000 yards this season ... or probably ever (his career high being 1,416 yards in 2020, a record for a tight end). Kelce, who missed Week 1 with a knee injury, is currently tracking toward 1,333 yards for 2023 -- and if he eclipses 1,000, it would be the eighth consecutive year he's managed that. Greg Olsen is the only other tight end to turn the trick even three seasons in a row. — Nate Davis

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Chiefs-Dolphins score: Highlights, top plays, more from Germany game