This was what we wanted to see. Complete domination. The Dolphins beating the Jets upside down, winning in about every possible area, and in the process further validating the undeniable truth after a 3-3 start: This team is growing up in a hurry.
The 24-0 victory over the Jets was sweet on so many fronts, but the biggest headline was cemented late into the fourth quarter when Tua’s Time finally arrived, at least for a series that ended with the clock on zero.
Admit it, you were smiling when he trotted on to the field. I know I was. We finally got to unwrap this prize gift, at least enough to see what’s inside. We saw two completions. We saw nice movement. We saw Ryan Fitzpatrick waving his arms, urging the crowd to roar for Tua. We even saw Tua back on an empty field long after the game was over, still in unform, wanting to facetime his parents right where his first drive ended. This was a moment to always remember, the first of what promises to be many.
But while Tua’s arrival stole the day, it couldn’t remove any of the glitter from what happened in the three hours or so before because anyone who knows this rivalry well will tell you that there’s nothing sweeter than beating the Jets in this manner.
Ironic isn’t it that this was against the same Adam Gase who after his tenure with the Dolphins ended said he didn’t want to be a part of a massive rebuild anyway. Well, we’ve got a newsflash for you, Adam. The Jets need a massive rebuild.
And the Dolphins are about two-thirds of the way through with theirs.
Clearly, they are not a finished product. But what we have seen over this first six-pack of games is an indication that, barring major injuries, this team could be competing for the playoffs well into December.
They’ve got so much you are looking for. Strong up front on both sides. Solid play at quarterback with Fitzpatrick. Two shut down corners in Xavien Howard and Byron Jones. An outstanding kicking game. And a head coach in Bryan Flores who keeps this team hungry.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, have now beaten the 49ers and Jets by a combined score of 67-17. They are doing it on both sides of the ball, but against the Jets I was most impressed with the defense in general and the secondary in particular. I wasn’t sure what to make of this group when the season started. But you’re starting to see fewer mistakes and more impactful plays.
Now with the bye week here there is a chance to take a deep breath, to savor these impressive back-to-back victories and maybe to let your mind wander just a little about what the next chapter of Tua Time will look like.