After Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw his third touchdown in a 43-17 blowout win against the Super Bowl LIV runner-up San Francisco 49ers, rookie Tua Tagovailoa jumped into his arms in celebration. It was a perfect picture of what the Dolphins love about their quarterback room, and a near-perfect game from Fitzpatrick should quiet talk about Tua Time while also showing the rookie a perfect glimpse of how to lead a team.
This was clearly the most complete performance by the Dolphins in the coach Brian Flores era. They stomped and paraded over the 49ers on their home field, and Dolphins fans should be pumped about their play at this stage of the franchise’s rebuild.
Fitzpatrick reached 3,000 career completions on Sunday, becoming the 27th player in league history to do so. There aren’t many quarterbacks who have had a career like Fitzpatrick has in 16 seasons. Also, the Dolphins’ defense forced three turnovers, had five sacks and held the 49ers to 259 total yards.
Flores doesn’t have to indicate that Fitzpatrick will remain the Dolphins’ starter this week because the quarterback’s play did. So while everybody might be looking ahead to 2021, the Dolphins’ performance Sunday screamed they’re still playing for 2020.
The Dolphins (2-3) face the New York Jets at home next thanks to a remade schedule, and there is a good chance for them to get back to .500 headed into their Week 7 bye week.
QB breakdown: Fitzpatrick became the second Dolphins player to total 350 passing yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. The first? Dan Marino four times. Yes, Fitzpatrick is now in that category. This was also Fitzpatrick’s 12th game with 300-plus yards and three-plus touchdowns in his career, more than Pro Football Hall of Fame QB John Elway. Fitzpatrick finished 22-of-28 for 350 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 154.5 passer rating. Perfect is 158.3, and Fitzpatrick was nearly that Sunday.
Buy/sell on a breakout performance: Welcome to the 2020 season, Preston Williams. I’m buying the wide receiver’s breakout game — four catches, 106 yards and a touchdown. Expectations were high of Williams coming off his impressive injury-shortened rookie season, but his 2020 season started slow as he tried to regain explosiveness following a November ACL tear. When Williams is playing well, the Dolphins’ offense is next level. Get ready for more of DeVante Parker, Williams and Mike Gesicki making plays the rest of the season.
Promising trend: Cornerback Byron Jones returned Sunday, and with it so did the Dolphins’ strong passing defense. The Dolphins held the 49ers to 128 passing yards and nabbed two interceptions (Xavien Howard, Bobby McCain). They also forced a benching of 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo at halftime. This cornerback group had potential to be one of the NFL’s best, and after an injury-plagued and rocky opening month, Sunday’s game shows they can still be that. The Dolphins’ pass rush got involved too with its best performance of the day — all of which adds to a promising trend for the Dolphins’ defense.
Punching first and never stopping. The Dolphins’ 30 first-half points were their most since October 2015, and they did it by playing complementary football. Two first-half interceptions of Garoppolo combined with Fitzpatrick having one of the best halves of his career (15-of-20, 251 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 150 passer rating) gave us a glimpse of what this Dolphins team can be when hitting on all cylinders.