Dolphins fail to show up vs. Chiefs, eliminated from playoffs

The Miami Dolphins started the year 11-4 through the first 16 weeks of their 2023 campaign, but they dropped their final three games, including Saturday night’s battle with the Kansas City Chiefs 26-7, which officially eliminated them from the postseason.

Miami’s offense had been of the best in the league for a majority of the season, but they fell off hard down the stretch, and that didn’t stop in this game.

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completed just 51.2% of his passes for 199 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The cold weather clearly affected the signal caller, but he’s been just a tick off over the last month.

Tagovailoa’s only big play was a 53-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill. Hill was, once again, Miami’s most-targeted pass-catcher, as Tagovailoa threw to him seven times. Outside of the long touchdown, the Dolphins’ weapons couldn’t do much of anything else.

That includes the running backs, who rushed for just 42 yards on three yards per carry. In fact, Tagovailoa was the team’s second-most efficient rusher, as he averaged 8.3 yards on his attempts.

Defensively, the Dolphins were without six key players (Xavien Howard, Bradley Chubb, Jaelan Phillips, Jerome Baker, Jevon Holland and Andrew Van Ginkel), and it showed. They were beaten up and down the field by Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice, who brought in eight catches for 130 yards and a score.

Patrick Mahomes didn’t play his best, but he still finished the night throwing for 262 yards and a touchdown.

The weather was a factor defensively as well, as the defenders seemed like they were unwilling to tackle, especially on a couple of scrambles by Mahomes which should’ve been easy hits. They may have held the Chiefs to just two touchdowns, but they allowed them to consistently get to the red zone for easy field goals.

It wasn’t just the two main phases that struggled though on Saturday. Punter Jake Bailey had far from his best game, as his punts were routinely short. He benefitted from some lucky bounces, but he wasn’t putting his defense in the best position to succeed.

This loss makes it five postseason losses in a row for the franchise, as their last win came in 2000 over the Indianapolis Colts. Head coach Mike McDaniel is 0-2 in the postseason, and he, along with general manager Chris Grier, will have many decisions to make in the coming weeks.

Story originally appeared on Dolphins Wire