Miami Dolphins vs. Kansas City Chiefs Observations: 5 Things We Learned in Playoff Debacle


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Miami Dolphins have been frozen out of the Super Bowl race. And a cold offseason awaits.

Their offense was invisible, their defense overmatched, and their coach facing a long offseason of tough questions after Saturday’s 26-7 Wild Card round loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Dolphins’ once-promising season ends with three straight losses. Miami is now 3-13 all time in road playoff games.

Miami Dolphins vs. Kansas City Chiefs Instant Observations

Mike McDaniel Overmatched

Steve Spagnuolo ate Mike McDaniel’s lunch, dinner, and dessert Saturday night.

The Chiefs defensive coordinator had a season’s worth of tape on how to slow the Dolphins’ offense down, formulated a game plan to expose those flaws, and executed it to perfection.

The Dolphins Saturday night managed just one touchdown, 264 yards, and 13 first downs to lose in the Wild Card Round for the second straight year.

Tua Tagovailoa completed 20 of 39 passes for 199 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

The Dolphins did average 4.2 yards on their 18 carries.

Over their final four games — all against playoff teams — the Dolphins averaged 15.5 points per game.


Major changes are needed this offseason, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

Terrible on Third Downs

The Dolphins’ late-season collapse on offense — particularly against good teams — has been well-documented.

The biggest root of their late-season swoon?

Terrible play on third downs.

The Dolphins converted just one of their 12 opportunities Saturday night after going 10 of 25 in their final two games of the regular season (against the Ravens and Bills).

The narrative is right: Against the good teams, McDaniel’s offensive vanishes.

Pressure-less Pass Rush

We’ll never again see the combination of Emmanuel Ogbah, Melvin Ingram, Justin Houston, and Bruce Irvin rushing the passer for any team — let alone the Dolphins — again.

And that’s a good thing.

In a development that should have surprised no one, the Dolphins were unable to replicate the pressure brought by Bradley Chubb, Jaelan Phillips, and Andrew Van Ginkel with a bunch of guys off the street.

Patrick Mahomes had nothing but time in the pocket when the Dolphins rushed with four. And when they blitzed, he shredded them or got a first down on a roughing the passer call.

MORE: Miami Dolphins Depth Chart

Mahomes had 27 dropbacks in the first half. The Dolphins didn’t have a sack and just two quarterback hits in their first two quarters.


Things got no better after halftime. The Dolphins didn’t sack Mahomes all night. Credit their hodge-podge cast of characters for hanging in as long as they could against the defending champs.

Wicked Weather

The forecasters were spot on.

This was the unspeakably cold game everyone expected.

More specifically, this was the coldest game in both teams’ history and the fourth-coldest NFL game played — regardless of team — ever.

The announced temperature at kickoff: four degrees below zero, with a windchill of minus-27.

The wind had a real impact on the kicking game, with both teams electing to squib instead of booting deep.

Hill Homecoming

Back in the place where he spent the first six years of his career, Tyreek Hill wanted to put on a show.

The elements didn’t exactly allow for that, but he still had the only meaningful play in the first half for the Dolphins’ offense.

Hill beat Trent McDuffie’s coverage and Trent McDuffie’s interference on the same play, adjusting for an underthrown deep ball that he turned into a 53-yard touchdown catch.

Hill on the night had 62 yards on five catches, and for long stretches of the game, was the entirety of the Dolphins’ offense.

Want to predict the results of the 2023 NFL postseason with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? How about looking into in-depth breakdowns of team depth charts or the NFL playoff schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with all that and more!


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