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Dolphins Week 18 report card: Grading every position in loss vs. Bills

The Miami Dolphins lost to the Buffalo Bills 21-14 on Sunday, as Mike McDaniel’s offense failed to score a point in the second half.

Miami started the game without several key players and lost more to injury during the contest. The Dolphins will travel to Kansas City to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs. 

But before we turn the page to the postseason, we took time to grade every position group from the Dolphins’ loss, from quarterback to special teams.

Quarterback: C-

(Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

Tua Tagovailoa had a shot to bring the Dolphins their first division title since 2008, but the quarterback wasn’t able to deliver, as he had a bad day for his standards. 

Tagovailoa finished 17-for-27 for 173 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He had a chance to tie the game on the last drive, but he threw an interception trying to get the ball to Chase Claypool in double coverage.

On the bright side, Tagovailoa did lead the NFL in passing yards this season.

Running Backs: B

(Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

Raheem Mostert was unable to play again due to injury.

De’Von Achane was a big factor for the Dolphins in the first half. Unfortunately, McDaniel only gave Achane two carries in the second half.

The former Aggie finished the day with 10 carries for 56 yards rushing and one touchdown. Jeff Wilson Jr. had nine carries for 45 yards.

Miami ran the ball well in the first half, but they were unable to stay on the field in the second half. Hopefully, the Dolphins will get Mostert back for the playoffs. 

Wide Receivers: C+

(Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

The wide receivers struggled for a second consecutive week. The group lacked explosiveness outside of Tyreek Hill, who had seven catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. 

If the Dolphins want to win a game in the playoffs, they’ll need Jaylen Waddle to come back. If Waddle doesn’t return against the Chiefs, Cedrick Wilson Jr., Braxton Berrios or Chase Claypool will need to step up. 

Wilson had one 24-yard catch, and Berrios had two catches for a total of nine yards.

Tight Ends: B

(Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

The tight ends didn’t record a touchdown for the Dolphins this season, but the group has performed well all year. 

Durham Smythe had three catches for 30 yards, and Julian Hill also had a catch for two yards.

Offensive Line: A-

(Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
(Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

The offensive line was the only group on offense to receive an “A” grade. 

As the offensive line is finally starting to get healthy, they didn’t give up a sack on Sunday. It’s easy to not allow a sack when your quarterback throws the ball as quickly as Tagovailoa does.

Robert Hunt’s return helped bolster the running game, as the Dolphins averaged over five yards per rush on Sunday.

Defensive Line: A-

Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The defense did all they could to keep the Dolphins in the game on Sunday.

Christian Wilkins finished his incredible regular season with a crucial strip-sack of Josh Allen in Dolphins’ territory. He had five tackles and three quarterback hits in total.

Zach Sieler had seven tackles, a half-sack and two quarterback hits.

Sieler and Wilkins have dominated the interior trenches throughout the season, and they’re a few of the only healthy defenders left for Miami.

Linebackers: B+

Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday’s loss was another game highlighted with injury for the Dolphins defense. Standout linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel suffered a season-ending foot injury in the contest, and by the end of the night, the Dolphins only had two available edge rushers active. 

David Long Jr. led the team in tackles with 10.

Jerome Baker returned from injury and had nine tackles, but he suffered a wrist injury that’ll keep him out for the remainder of the season. 

Melvin Ingram and Emmanuel Ogbah played well. Ingram had five tackles, 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hits while Ogbah had four tackles and a tackle for loss.

Cornerbacks: B-

(Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
(Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Jalen Ramsey was rarely noticed, which is a good thing for cornerbacks. He had four tackles on the day. 

Eli Apple was targeted many times on Sunday, as he got exposed in coverage. He did have an interception on Allen deep in Dolphins territory. His most notable play came on the last play of the first half when the cornerback helped stop Bills running back Ty Johnson on the 5-yard line as time expired.

Safeties: B

(Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
(Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Jevon Holland barely played because of the knee injuries that he’s been dealing with this season.

Brandon Jones made several crucial plays, as he finished with eight tackles and two tackles for loss. He’s been great in most of his opportunities this season. 

DeShon Elliott was tied for the team lead in tackles (10) and he had a pass defensed.

Special Teams: D

Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The only relevant play from the special teams was when the group gave up a 96-yard punt return touchdown. This play tied the game, and the Dolphins couldn’t recover. Special teams can’t negatively impact your team in a pivotal game.

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Story originally appeared on Dolphins Wire