On a usually sunny day in South Beach, the Miami Dolphins offense exploded in most uncommon – and historic -- fashion.
Following yet another eye-popping De'Von Achane touchdown and Jason Sanders' subsequent extra point, the Dolphins became just the third NFL team to reach 70 points in an NFL regular-season game as they defeated a befuddled Denver Broncos squad, 70-20.
"This doesn't compare to anything I've seen or been a part of," said Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who had four touchdown passes to bring his season total to eight in three games. "It just talks about the resilience of our team. Although we were up going into halftime, I'm very proud of the guys and the way they continued to play. No one took their foot off the gas. Everyone continued to play and that's the result that we got."
The result was a 70-point showcase for the Dolphins (3-0) that tied them for the second-most points scored in a regular-season game, matching the 1950 Los Angeles Rams and trailing the 1966 Washington squad that scored 72 points.
The Dolphins were in position to attempt a 44-yard field goal that would've given Miami an all-time record 73 points with 33 seconds left. Instead, head coach Mike McDaniel had backup QB Mike White kneel and let the Broncos run out the clock.
McDaniel had zero regrets foregoing the record.
"I will be fine getting second-guessed by turning down NFL records," McDaniel told reporters after the game. "That's fine. I'm very OK with the decision. And I think the team, notably the leaders of the team, supported it."
One of those leaders was Tagovailoa, who emphatically supported his coach's decision.
"Nah. Nah," Tagovailoa said when asked if there was any enticement to set a new record. "I think in this league and around the league, it's about respect in the NFL. As we went out there, I feel like that's what we got, we got respect. We're not trying to go out there and humiliate teams, that's just what it happened to look like."
For McDaniel, setting regular-season records just isn't on his list of goals. Simply stated, it's not what he's about.
"I try to think through all of my decisions and hold them with the importance that they do have," McDaniel said. "It felt like chasing points and chasing a record, that's not what we came to the game to do. That doesn't have a bearing on the overall season outcome. I saw it as, 10 times out of 10 you can see a kneel down in those situations. Because there was an attainable record, that was cool, but the message that I thought it would send isn't really in line with how I view things.
"I think it was the most points since '66 or something. I think that's awesome. For a regular-season record, you can have that and then suffer the same fate as we had last year. I don't care about that regular-season record. It would've been cool, but what we're trying to do I think that would be talking out of both sides of my mouth if we would've tried to send the field goal team on and squeeze in an extra three. It's not really what I'm about."
Miami limped into the postseason a year ago with Tagovailoa sidelined by a concussion and was bounced in the wild-card round by the Bills. So, McDaniel's also hoping to build up a little cosmic good fortune if he can.
"I would hope if the shoe was on the other foot the opponent would feel the same way," the second-year Dolphins coach said. "That's called karma. Try to keep good karma with the Miami Dolphins."
The other foot in Sunday's shellacking was had by head coach Sean Payton and his 0-3 Broncos squad.
Though he's in his first year with Denver, he's in his 16th as a head coach and took his first NFL coaching job in 1997. Despite nearly three decades of experience, he was taken aback at what he saw.
"I'm at a loss for words," Payton said, via The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider. "Every once in a while in the NFL you get your butt kicked, but this was different."
It was different from the start, as Tagovailoa connected with Tyreek Hill for a 54-yard touchdown on the game's third play from scrimmage. Miami never looked back, scoring touchdowns on five of its first six possessions.
Though the team's 70 points was the most eye-popping stat of all, there was hardly a shortage of individual statistical splendor for the Fins:
- Tagovailoa completed 23 of 26 passes for 309 yards, four touchdowns and a 155.8 rating
- White was 2 of 2 for 67 yards, a touchdown and a 158.3 rating
- Achane had 203 yards on 18 carries (11.3 yards per carry) and four total touchdowns in his second NFL game
- RB Raheem Mostert had three TDs and 82 yards on 13 carries and a receiving TD
- Hill had nine receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown
When the dust that the Dolphins left the Broncos in cleared, they had racked up 726 yards of offense, averaging an astronomical 10.2 yards on 71 plays. Along the way, Miami became the first team in NFL history to total 350-plus passing yards and 350-plus rushing yards in a game, per NFL Research.
Said Achane: "Seventy points is crazy. That's like video-game like stuff."
The Dolphins are 3-0, seemingly have good karma on their side, boast the top offense in the NFL and all is sunny in South Beach.