MINNEAPOLIS (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins arrived in Minnesota riding high.
Fresh off last week’s miracle win over the New England Patriots, the Dolphins came into Sunday’s game against the Vikings with a 7-6 record, tied for the AFC’s final playoff spot.
Then the game started.
Minnesota scored three touchdowns on their first three drives, helping the Dolphins tie a franchise record for largest first quarter deficit at 21 points.
Surprisingly, considering the absolute disaster of a start, Miami was able to battle back and make a game of it thanks to a pair of big plays.
A defensive touchdown and historic run, both by rookies, kept the Dolphins briefly within striking distance.
Unfortunately it wasn’t enough as the Vikings ran away with the game in the second half and took down the Dolphins 41-17, all but ending Miami’s chances of making the playoffs.
Aside from the two aforementioned big plays, Miami had very little to offer in this one.
Ryan Tannehill’s road woes continued as the Dolphins quarterback struggled mightily from start to finish.
He completed just 11 of 24 passes for 108 yards.
It certainly didn’t help that he was sacked a ridiculous nine times, but when five offensive lineman (and often times a running back or tight end as well) consistently can’t block a four-man rush, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Thanks to all the sacks, Miami’s passing game was credited with just 37 yards gained. That’s…pretty bad.
With the offense struggling so much, the defense desperately needed to pick up the slack.
That certainly didn’t happen.
Instead, Miami gave up at least 30 points for the sixth time this season and at least 400 yards for the ninth time.
VIKINGS RUN WILD
Minnesota’s ground game kept the Vikings in control for much of the afternoon.
Dalvin Cook led the way with 136 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.
As a team the Vikings gained a whopping 221 yards while averaging 5.7 yards per carry.
Ageless wonder Frank Gore came out of the game during the first quarter with an ankle injury.
Gore struggled to get anything going, like the rest of Miami’s offense, picking up just 14 yards on 5 carries before the injury.
There was some hope that Gore would reach the 1,000 yard mark this season for the tenth time in his career, but now that seems highly unlikely.
He currently has 722 rushing yards this season.
With Gore out, rookie Kalen Ballage led Miami in rushing, carrying the ball 12 times for 123 yards.
His 75-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half was the longest by a Dolphins rookie in 40 years.
Ballage came into the game with just 8 carries for 11 yards this season.
Rookie defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick got Miami on the board Sunday, intercepting Kirk Cousins and returning it for a touchdown midway through the second quarter.
It was the first pick six of Fitzpatrick’s young career.
Miami selected him with the 11th pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
Miami’s playoff hopes are all but destroyed.
Not only did Dolphins lose, but every team they were tied with in the standings (Baltimore, Indianapolis and Tennessee) all won.
Heading into the final two games of the season, Miami currently sits in ninth place in the AFC.