Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel did an incredible job in his first year as a lead man. He got quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to turn the corner, and also set new wide receiver Tyreek Hill up to have a career year. However, with him being a first-year head coach and working with a third-string rookie quarterback on the road in a playoff game, .
Trailing the Buffalo Bills, 34-31, with 2:28 remaining in the fourth quarter and zero timeouts, the Dolphins were facing a third-and-2 from their own 48-yard line. Salvon Ahmed took a handoff to the left side, and it appeared he came close to the first down, but was ultimately ruled short. Now facing a fourth-and-1 with the game on the line, the Dolphins failed to get a play off in time, which resulted in a delay of game penalty and pushed Miami back five yards.
Check out what happened here, and keep an eye on the play clock.
So, what in the world happened? This looks like a terrible mistake made by a young head coach. McDaniel said after the game that it was communicated to him that the Dolphins had picked up a first down on Ahmed's third-down rush. When he realized Miami did not move the chains, he had to reset.
"There was some communication that we'd gotten first down," McDaniel said, via ESPN. "So then we were deploying a group of players for the first-and-10 call. Then it was articulated that, no, it was fourth down ... I had gotten convicted information that it was a first down; I don't really know exactly who it was from. It's probably the first time all year that that had happened. You try to do your best. As it was, I thought we had a fourth-and-6 opportunity we were unable to come up with.
"You just have to adjust to any variables out there, and I thought we had a chance at fourth-and-6, as well."
On the ensuing fourth-and-6, Skylar Thompson failed to connect with Mike Gesicki on the right side of the field, and the Bills took over on downs. With the Dolphins having no timeouts remaining and 2:22 left, Buffalo needed just one first down to run out the clock -- which they got on third-and-7 thanks to a Devin Singletary run.
It was a bizarre ending to a bizarre game, and certainly a learning experience for coach McDaniel.