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Reigning Champs Dissect Dolphins

Wildcard Round Dolphins Vs. Chiefs Recap


by Oscar Pinto

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) runs with the ball during the first half against the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wild Card Playoffs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, in Kansas City, Missouri. (David Eulitt/Getty Images/TNS)

Despite a promising start to the season, injuries and poor clutch play abruptly ended the Dolphins season in their Wild Card game versus the defending champions, the Kansas City Chiefs with a final score of 26-7.


Quarter 1

In the game's opening moments, the Dolphins kicked off this wild card matchup, and the Chiefs advanced to the 31-yard line for a first down. Three minutes later, Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco executed an impressive 23-yard run, setting the stage for a remarkable play, and giving the Chiefs the first touchdown making the score 7-0, with the extra point scored. 


However, as the first quarter neared its ending, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's pass turned into an unfortunate interception, allowing the Chiefs to score off the turnover. In the final minutes of the quarter, Mahomes showcased his skill with an exceptional pass to Rice where he covered ground from the 47 to the 35, maneuvering through several Dolphin players trying to take him down. After this dynamic play, which ended the first quarter, the Chiefs led 7-0.


Quarter 2

To start the second quarter, the Chiefs scored a 28-yard field goal, adding to their lead to 10-0. Almost immediately, Tua unleashed a 43-yard pass, expertly caught by Tyreek Hill, who navigated through the Chiefs defense to secure the Dolphins' first touchdown, closing the gap to 10-7. 


On a crucial 4th and 4, the Chiefs opted to go for it rather than punting the ball. Mahomes, unable to find an open receiver, made a decisive choice to run, resulting in an impressive 38-yard gain and granting the Chiefs 1st and goal. The following play saw Rice advancing 9 yards for a touchdown, momentarily expanding the Chiefs' lead, but a ten-yard penalty nullified the score. Faced with limited options, the Chiefs settled for another field goal, pushing their lead to 13-7. The final moments of the first half witnessed yet another successful field goal from the Chiefs, to conclude the quarter with a score of 16-7 in favor of the Chiefs.


Quarter 3

In the third quarter of this wildcard, the matchup was rather dull but, the Chiefs showcased their dominance with successful plays, particularly doing well in converting field goal opportunities. Midway through the quarter, they capitalized on another chance, making them 4 for 4 in field goals. Mahomes displayed remarkable accuracy throughout the game on key moments. Additionally, Rice delivered an exceptional performance not fumbling one ball and receiving 130 yards, which is double what Hill received. As the third quarter concluded, the Chiefs led with a score of 19-7.


Quarter 4

The final quarter of the matchup commenced with an exceptional pass from Mahomes, covering nearly 40 yards. Within minutes, the Chiefs capitalized on a 1st and goal opportunity, with Pacheco scoring a touchdown to extend their lead to 26-7, successfully adding the extra point. 


In the closing minutes, the Dolphins exhibited a determined effort for a comeback, gaining significant yardage but ultimately came up short. 


Game Stats

Dolphins Team Stats

  • Time of Possession: 25:55

  • Interceptions Thrown: 1

  • Penalties-Yards: 8 (62)

  • Sacks allowed: 2

  • 3rd Down Efficiency: 1/12

  • 4th Down Efficiency: 3/6

Chiefs Team Stats

  • Time of Possession: 34:05

  • Interceptions Thrown: 0

  • Penalties-Yards: 5 (45)

  • Sacks allowed: 0

  • 3rd Down Efficiency: 6/15

  • 4th Down Efficiency: 1/1

Total Stats

  • Total Yards: 409 Yards (Kansas)

  • Passing Yards: 262 (Kansas)

  • Rushing Yards: 147 (Kansas)

  • Yards Per Play: 5.5 (Kansas)

Coach Thoughts

Dolphins Head Coach - Mike McDaniel

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel expressed a mix of disappointment and acknowledgment in a post-game interview. Despite the team being fully committed and fearless with the belief of winning, McDaniel admitted to feeling a deep sadness over the loss. He credited the Kansas City Chiefs, acknowledging their superiority in the game by stating, "Hats off to the Kansas City Chiefs; they beat us, outplayed us, outcoached us." McDaniel acknowledged the opponent's excellence while reflecting on the Dolphins' commitment and effort in the face of an unfortunate outcome.


Chiefs Head Coach - Andy Reid

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid expressed his satisfaction with his team's overall performance, highlighting a particular aspect—the defense's impressive third-down conversion ratio of 1/12. Reid emphasized the significance of this statistic, acknowledging it as a notable achievement. Additionally, he extended congratulations to individual players whose standout efforts caught his attention, notably praising the performance of Rice. Reid went on to express his disbelief at the rookie's capabilities, stating, "It's hard to believe he's a rookie." Overall, the coach conveyed a sense of pride and appreciation for both team-wide achievements and exceptional individual contributions.


All in All

In a showdown at Arrowhead Stadium, the Kansas City Chiefs came out victorious against the Miami Dolphins with a dominant final score of 26-7. The game showcased the Chiefs' offensive strengths, with Mahomes delivering outstanding passes and Pacheco securing a crucial touchdown. Coach Andy Reid acknowledged the team's exceptional defensive performance, specifically highlighting their impressive 1/12 third-down ratio. On the other hand, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, while expressing sadness over the loss, acknowledged the Chiefs' superiority, conceding to being outplayed and outcoached. 


The Chiefs may be on another path to a Super Bowl and the Dolphins need to re-evaluate their team.



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