Dolphins lose to the Packers in crusher, 26-20

MIAMI GARDENS — Tua Tagovailoa threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter as the Dolphins lost to the Packers, 26-20 Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.

Miami lost four straight games to drop to 8-7.

It was the second coldest home game in Dolphins history, 110 degrees for a Christmas kickoff.

Miami is still in AFC playoff position. The Dolphins can also officially qualify next week if they defeat the Patriots and the Jets lose to the Seahawks.

The Dolphins had been 11-1 in their last 12 home games.

In the second half on Sunday, Packers kicker Mason Crosby made a 46-yarder and a 26-yarder. But Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders missed a 48-yarder.

Tagovailoa’s interceptions were intended for Tyreek Hill, Raheem Mostert and Mike Gesicki.

The Packers are 7-8.

Yours, Waddle, Hill great plays

Jaylen Waddle entered Sunday’s game leading the NFL in receiving yards, at 18.0.

In the first quarter, Waddle caught a short pass from Tagovailoa and burst 84 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown, causing one player to lose.

GAME SUMMARYMiami Dolphins and Tua Tagovailoa faced Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers

The Future of Jaylen WaddleThis huge leap may precede stardom

In that run, Waddle hit 21.68 miles per hour. He even outruns Waddle’s season-high of 21.11 mph on a 67-yard touchdown run in Buffalo on Dec. 17.

Waddle recorded more than 140 total receiving yards Sunday.

December 25, 2022;  Miami Gardens, Florida, USA;  Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) makes a catch before running for a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

December 25, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) makes a catch before running for a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Tagovailoa has found his deep touch.

In the second quarter, Tua finds Hill 52 yards on a perfectly placed bomb.

Aggressive fourth down decisions

The Packers converted 3 of 5 fourth down attempts in the first three quarters.

Then in the third quarter, Miami coach Mike McDaniel went for it on a 4th and 1 from the Miami 34-yard line with the score tied 20.

Raheem Mostert gained 9 yards to center.

This is not your father’s NFL. These coaches, including McDaniel and the Packers’ Matt LaFleur — two longtime friends and former coaching colleagues — are ultra-aggressive.

Because these two coaches are offensively minded, the thinking is exacerbated.

The Packers went into the game just 8 of 23 in fourth place, 34.8%. That was the fourth worst percentage in the league.

Miami went into the game 9 of 18, which was half the league.

Solid defensive performance, but…

The Dolphins defense entered this game much maligned.

But against future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers, they played well.

Defensive players who made key plays included: Zach Sieler, Christian Wilkins, Raekwon Davis, Eric Rowe and Kader Kohou.

A drive led by defensive coordinator Josh Boyer forced this streak after the Packers first two drives: down, punt, punt, field goal, touchdown, interception, field goal.

Miami held Green Bay to a 2-of-12 start on third down.

The Dolphins controlled the Packers’ rushing game.

Unfortunately for Miami, the defense allowed the Packers to drive 56 yards on nine plays in four minutes for a field goal and a 26–20 lead with two minutes left.

Special Teams Update

This has been a terrible season for the Dolphins on special teams.

One player who has turned the tables after a slow start is kicker Jason Sanders.

Sanders made two field goals in the first half, extending his hitting streak to 12 made.

But in the third quarter, Sanders missed a 48-yard field goal to make the score 20.

Miami allowed a 93-yard kickoff return to Dynamo Keisean Nixon in the first quarter.

On the next kickoff try, Miami squirreled but it didn’t work out as expected with the Packers driving the ball close to midfield.

One positive came in the second quarter, when Davis stuffed a fake punt attempt by the Packers.

This that

Mike Gesicki had a 24-yard completion in the first half on a first-and-20. But other than that, Gesicki barely played. Miami started tight end Durham Smythe and fullback Alec Ingold, two strong blockers. … Center Connor Williams has been very good this season. But he had a bad catch and snap on consecutive plays in the second quarter. … Raheem Mostert fumbled in the first half. Mostert had fumbled just once in his last 22 games from 2020 to 2022. … Christian Wilkins had a pass breakup and a tackle on back-to-back plays in the second quarter as he continues to emerge as a consistent disruptor. .. The Dolphins have not had a great season deciding which plays to challenge or not. It looks like they could have challenged a key deep catch in the third quarter by Marcedes Lewis. Miami entered the game 0 of 3 in the challenges. … Kader Kohou had his first career interception. … Jaelan Phillips was called out for bullying the passer on another poor interpretation of National Football League rules. Phillips simply tapped Rodgers late in the game.

Joe Schad can be reached at jschad@pbpost.com

This article originally appeared in the Palm Beach Post: Miami Dolphins Lose to Green Bay Packers: Schad’s Instant Takeaways

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