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Dolphins Digest Week 2: Comeback for the Ages

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For most of the game, the Miami Dolphins looked terrible. Their defense was abused, their special teams allowed a touchdown on the opening kickoff, and the offense looked sluggish as Tua Tagovailoa had two interceptions. Down 21 at the half and 21 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Dolphins scored four touchdowns to stun the Baltimore Ravens, winning 42-38. Tua had a brilliant second half and an exceptional fourth quarter as he matched the franchise record with six touchdowns, four of which went to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, who combined for 361 yards. Waddle scored the game-winning touchdown with 14 seconds left, while Hill, battling cramps, scored on a pair of long touchdown receptions to tie the game. 

The game had a disastrous start as Devin Duvernay had a 103-yard kickoff return to give the Ravens a 7-0 lead. The Dolphins got the ball into Baltimore territory before a bad pass from Tua led to a Marcus Williams interception. The Ravens got the ball and marched down the field with a time-consuming drive. Baltimore held the ball for more than ten minutes, carrying over to the second quarter as it appeared Lamar Jackson scored on a one-yard sneak. However, replay showed he was down at the one, as the Dolphins defense turned the Ravens away on fourth down. 

The Dolphins made the tremendous goal-line stand pay off, scoring on a 94-yard drive to tie the score. Jaylen Waddle caught a six-yard pass, but the key play was a 59-yard pass reeled in by Waddle to get Miami into Ravens' territory. The good vibes from the touchdown were quickly erased as the Ravens scored on their first play from scrimmage with Lamar Jackson connecting with Rashod Bateman on a 75-yard pass, leaving Xavien Howard in the dust. After a quick Dolphins possession, the Ravens extended the lead to two touchdowns, going 66 yards in six plays as Mark Andrews caught a one-yard pass against a confused Miami defense. Late in the second half, Tua Tagovailoa was picked off again by Marcus Williams. The Ravens made the Dolphins pay as they went 80 yards in six plays, with Demarcus Robinson catching a 12-yard pass with 29 seconds left in half. 

Down 28-7, the Dolphins needed a good drive to start the second half. Making some significant adjustments after trying to play fast in the first half, the Dolphins began running the ball to open up the passing game. After crossing midfield, the Dolphins' offense went the wrong direction and faced 2-and-24 from the 49. An 11-yard pass to Jaylen Waddle made it third and manageable, as Tua completed a first down pass to Alec Ingold to keep the drive alive. The Dolphins would find the end zone as Mike Gesicki made an excellent jumping catch in the back, keeping both feet in bounds. 

The following two drives resulted in punts before Lamar Jackson broke up the middle late in the third quarter and had a 79-yard touchdown run to stretch the lead to three touchdowns. It was the third big play that the Dolphins had allowed during the game, as it appeared that game was lost, with their defense needing to answer for what happened. 

As the fourth quarter began, Miami was down 35-14 and had the ball. Showing no quit, the Dolphins scored early in the fourth quarter as  River Cracraft caught a two-yard pass from Tua. Looking to put the game on ice, the Ravens got the ball down to the Miami 40 and attempted to get a fourth down conversion when Lamar Jackson was thrown for a one-yard loss, giving the Dolphins the ball and, most importantly, hope. 

The Dolphins wasted no time capitalizing on the new life given to them by the fourth down stop, as Tyreek Hill caught a 48-yard pass to make it a one-touchdown game. With the momentum in the game turned in favor of Miami, the Dolphins got the ball back quickly on a three and out, as the Ravens were now appearing to be hurried. The Dolphins would tie the game as Tua again connected with Tyreek Hill on a 60-yard reception. Before the fourth quarter, Hill was reportedly doubtful to stay in the game as he dealt with cramps. 

With the game tied 35-35, the pressure switched to the Dolphins' defense. The defense allowed the Ravens to get the ball in Miami territory quickly. With time winding down, the Ravens appeared to go conservative as they ended up settling for a 51-yard field goal by Justin Tucker to take a 38-35 lead. With two minutes left, Tua Tagovailoa had the game in his hand. He got the Dolphins into Baltimore territory. The drive was run to perfection, as they not only went down the field, they ate up the clock. Chase Edmonds, who had just five yards rushing, broke down the middle and took the ball to the Ravens' seven on a 28-yard run up the middle. Two plays later, Jaylen Waddle reeled in the game-winning touchdown with 14 seconds left. 

The Ravens would have a chance, but Lamar Jackso's Hail Mary fell short, allowing the Dolphins to claim a miraculous 42-38 win. Tua Tagovailoa shook off a bad first half and passed for 469 yards with six touchdowns, equaling the franchise record held by Bob Griese and Dan Marino. He spread the ball equally between Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, as both receivers had 11 catches and two touchdowns, with Hill accounting for 190 yards while Waddle had 179 yards. The 21-point comeback is the largest fourth quarter comeback in Miami history. 

The Dolphins will face another big test next week at home against the Buffalo Bills. They would need a much better effort from their defense, as the three big plays they allowed are somewhat concerning despite the comeback. Wins like this don't happen every day and show that the team has heart and character. The game could also be the day remembered as when Tua Tagovailoa proved he is an NFL quarterback and has the arm strength to put up big numbers on the board.