The Dolphins’ five-game winning streak came to an end with a 33-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on Sunday.
Here’s a look at who’s hot — and who’s not — after the defeat.
▪ Tyreek Hill: The wide receiver continues to inch closer to rewriting the Dolphins’ record book. With a nine-catch, 146-yard performance Sunday, Hill is just 9 yards from breaking the franchise’s single-season record for receiving yards. His 45-yard touchdown brought the Dolphins to within six points early in the fourth quarter and his motion cleared the way for wide receiver Trent Sherfield’s 75-yard catch-and-run touchdown on the opening play. With Hill inevitably set to pass Mark Clayton for most receiving yards in a season by a Dolphins player, the question again remains whether Hill can do enough to achieve the NFL’s first 2,000-yard receiving season. He’s currently on pace for 1,953 yards, which would come just short of Calvin Johnson’s 1,964-yard season in 2012 (Johnson did it in 16 games, while Hill will have an extra game). Hill’s 114.9 receiving yards per game currently ranks ninth in NFL history.
▪ Christian Wilkins: On a defense with flashier players, Wilkins remains as solid as they come. Despite an up-and-down performance for the unit against seventh-round pick Brock Purdy at quarterback, Wilkins recorded a team-high 12 tackles, and eight of them were solo stops. With some injuries along the defensive line this season, Wilkins’ workload has increased. He’s playing a career-high 81 percent of the defensive snaps and putting together another productive season as a run defender.
▪ Tua Tagovailoa: In the third-year quarterback’s worst game of the season, Tagovailoa had an uncharateristic outing, missing his pass-catchers on multiple routine throws. He also turned the ball over three times, including interceptions on consecutive passes. It was Tagovailoa’s first interception since Week 4, ending a franchise-record 193 passes without a pick.
His first pass, a short toss to Sherfield that he took 75 yards for an opening-play touchdown, was everything Tagovailoa had shown throughout the Dolphins’ five-game winning streak: decisiveness, accuracy and confidence. But after that play, he appeared rattled behind an offensive line playing two backups and facing a relentless 49ers pass rush. Tagovailoa also appeared to aggravate an ankle injury that was listed throughout the lead-up to the game on the injury report, although he was never limited in practice. Tagovailoa was taken out for the final drive but said he was “as good as I can be coming off a game.”
▪ Rushing offense: After putting together a season-best 195-yard rushing performance against the Cleveland Browns, the Dolphins have failed to find any semblance of a ground game in the past two games. One week after rushing for 66 yards against the Houston Texans, Miami only had eight carries for 33 yards against the 49ers, both season-low marks. Running the ball against a stout San Francisco defense was always going to be a tough ask — especially with the injuries on the offensive line — but the lack of attempts only compounded issues on a day when Tagovailoa was off passing the ball.