Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Undefeated Dolphins look poised to give Patriots real test next week after electrifying win against Oakland

Alex Reimer
September 23, 2018 - 5:22 pm

It was easy to roll your eyes and dismiss the Dolphins’ first two wins of the season. Their first one was an interminable slog against the Titans that was delayed multiple times due to rain storms and they beat the lowly Jets last week, who became the first team to lose a game to the Browns since December 2016.

But with an electrifying 28-20 win over the Raiders Sunday, the undefeated Dolphins look like they’re for real, just in time for an impending matchup against the Patriots next week at Gillette Stadium.

The biggest thing that stands out about the Dolphins is their big-play ability. Wideout Albert Wilson channeled the explosive Tyreek Hill in the fourth quarter, dashing to the end zone with a 74-yard run following a toss from Ryan Tannehill. He also tossed a 52-yard touchdown pass on a double reverse, nailing Jakeem Grant, who was streaking down the right side of the field. It was Grant’s second touchdown of the day. 

While two of Ryan Tannehill's three touchdown passes were simple tosses –– Wilson and Grant –– he connected with wide receiver Kenny Stills for a 34-yard TD grab in the first half. Through three games this season, Tannehill has completed 73.25 percent of his passes. The Patriots better be prepared to disrupt Tannehill in the backfield, or Miami could rattle off several massive gains. Danny Amendola has been a solid contributor, too, catching 11 passes for 100 yards –– 42 of which came against Oakland.

On the defensive side of the ball, Xavien Howard is turning into a lockdown corner, intercepting Derek Carr twice Sunday, including once in the end zone. 

The 0-3 Raiders are facing lots of apparent turmoil themselves, with reports trickling out on a regular basis about Jon Gruden's horrifying mismanagement. This week, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Gruden is only listening to a handful of close confidants who are isolated from the rest of the organization, including a scout who once tweeted that Von Miller is overrated and Jake Locker should’ve been the No. 1 pick in the draft. 

But still, Carr remains a real quarterback and Adam Gase deserves credit for his shrewd play-calling. The Dolphins are looking like legitimate competition for the Patriots in the AFC East, at least in September.