Miami Dolphins 2021 Season Recap

The Miami Dolphins were the definition of an up and down team this season. They opened up the season 1-0 after winning against the New England Patriots before going on a seven-game losing streak. Entering the second stretch of the season at 1-7, they went on a seven-game winning streak before finishing the season 9-8. Despite turning their season around and just missing out on the playoffs, Miami fired head coach Brian Flores in a shocking turn of events, leaving the fans upset with the decision. The Dolphins believe in quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who threw 16 touchdowns while also having 10 interceptions on the season. It is going to be an interesting offseason in Miami.

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Season Recaps.

What Went Right

After the season looked to be a failure, Miami turned it around, going on a seven-game winning streak, and competing for a playoff spot. Rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle had a tremendous first year, with 1,015 all-purpose yards and grabbing six touchdowns. His 1,015 yards were the second-most by a rookie this season. Tagovailoa and Waddle can be an excellent duo for Miami’s offense in the future and continue their success into next year. The defense also stepped up in the second half of the season, led by Jerome Baker and Xavien Howard. Baker led the team in total tackles with 92 while Howard was top-five in the NFL interceptions this season with five.

What Went Wrong

The Dolphins are heading in a new direction after firing Flores after just three seasons. The pressure is on to replace the head coach while building around Tagovailoa. However, starting wide receiver, DeVante Parker, can’t seem to stay healthy, playing in only 10 games this season. Myles Gaskin had an underwhelming season after taking over the starting job over Matt Breida and Jordan Howard. The Lynnwood, Washington native rushed for 612 yards, 34th in the NFL, while grabbing 234 receiving yards. As the season went on, he proved not to be as reliable as he once was. The good news is the Dolphins have him on an inexpensive contract but could look elsewhere in the offseason.

Team Award Winners

MVP – Christian Wilkins

Wilkins had one of the best seasons of his career young career. He recorded across the board with 89 tackles, 13 quarterback hits, and 4.5 sacks. He also added four passes defended, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a receiving touchdown. He’ll continue to play a part of this Miami defense and has a chance to be a defensive star.

Offensive Rookie of the Year – Jaylen Waddle

No surprise that Waddle takes the cake. Not only was Waddle the best rookie for Miami, but he was also arguably the best offensive player on the team. His 104 receptions were the most by a rookie this season and the most by a rookie in NFL history. The Alabama product has the skill set and abilities to be one of the top wide receivers in the league’s future.

Defensive Rookie of the Year – Jevon Holland

Miami’s second-round pick was a hidden gem for the defense this season. After adjusting to the NFL and getting off to a slow start, his game blended to the rest of the league. The Coquitlam, Canada native, finished his rookie season with 69 tackles, 10 passes defended, seven quarterback hits, three fumble recoveries, 2.5 sacks, and two interceptions. That performance was good enough to make PFF’s All-Pro Second-Team. The former Oregon Duck has a bright future in the NFL.

Biggest Surprise – Brian Flores’ Firing

The decision came abruptly, and many fans were unhappy with Flores being fired by Miami. It was rumored that Flores was high on trading for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and would strongly “tantrum” if the organization didn’t entertain the idea. Days later, Flores was released. Flores is rumored to be one of the hottest coaches available and will have his options as they come.

Biggest Disappointment – Tua Tagovailoa

While there were bright spots on the offense, with Waddle having a great year, Tagovailoa underperformed in his second season. It was debated whether he could be the guy under center all season. Tagovailoa threw 16 touchdowns while also having 10 interceptions on the season. He was impacted by lackluster offensive playcalling and a poor offensive line. He failed to perform despite the less than ideal situation. Tagovailoa had a very lackluster 2021 season.

One Burning Question

Who will be the Next Head Coach?

Jim Harbaugh (+1400) and Doug Pederson (+650) have taken the most bets among candidates to be the next Dolphins head coach. Harbaugh is coming off a Big Ten Championship and a playoff berth with the Michigan Wolverines. Harbaugh is rumored to be looking at my multiple NFL coaching staff, including the Dolphins. Pederson was fired following the 2020 season by the Philadelphia Eagles but has been a hot name target for several teams. Whoever is hired, they will have some tough decisions to make this offseason.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images