MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — In a sea of blue and red Sunday, Miami Dolphins emergency starter Skylar Thompson will see at least a few friendly faces.
His dad Brad is making the 1,000-mile drive from Kansas City to Buffalo to see his son try to shock the world — beat the Buffalo Bills, on the road, as a rookie quarterback.
Brad Thompson will probably be one of the very few people in the stadium who thinks his son can pull off the upset of the year.
Miami Dolphins Turn To Skylar Thompson
Thompson is in line to make his third NFL start with Tua Tagovailoa in concussion protocol and Teddy Bridgewater dealing with a lingering finger injury.
When news broke Wednesday that Tagovailoa would miss his third straight game, the line swung violently toward the Bills, who were 13-point favorites per Caesars as of mid-afternoon.
“It was electric last time we were there,” Thompson said. “And we expect nothing less now. … It’s going to be rocking. I know that. They have a great fan base, a great atmosphere. You can tell they feed off that.”
He’ll need to be his best for the Dolphins to have any chance of quieting that crowd. Thompson, in seven appearances, has looked every bit like a seventh-round rookie.
Of the three Dolphins quarterbacks to see the field this year, he’s third in completion percentage (57.1), third in touchdown percentage (1), last in yards per attempt (5.1), and last in passer rating (62.2).
But those numbers do need some context. The Dolphins barely tried to stretch the field against the Jets in Week 18, believing that field goals would probably be enough to beat a very limited New York team.
The circumstances couldn’t be more different this Sunday. Thompson acknowledged Wednesday that that almost certainly won’t be the case Sunday against the Bills.
“We didn’t score a touchdown, and that’s obviously the goal every time we touch the football,” Thompson said. “But all we needed was a field goal to win it. That became a reality for me on that last drive. I put us in a position where we could kick a field goal and trusted Jason [Sanders] that he would hit it. That’s what I did.
“But obviously, we want to score every time we get the ball, especially against a team like this,” he continued. “Very good football team. Very good offense, very good defense, all around. Any chance you get to score touchdowns you have to capitalize and do it.”
Can Skylar Thompson Shock The World?
If there’s a silver lining to Sunday’s game, it’s that Thompson has already experienced a win-or-go-home scenario. But that game was at Hard Rock Stadium. The environment will be far different Sunday.
“I’m not sure if anyone really, really understands the gravity of what he was able to accomplish against the Jets,” McDaniel said. “He’s banking on reps that he’s doing individually after practice in the indoor, every single day. Some scout-team reps and then a bunch of stuff in the preseason.
“So to jump in with a fully operating machine and to do it and — very aware of the score — but you’re talking about no turnovers, I think one sack and believe the offense had, I think, had more yards than this offense had against Buffalo earlier in the season when the team did win.
“… it was no easy test,” McDaniel added. “Skyler thinks, he hopes, that’s the worst game that he ever plays. … The mental fortitude, the composure, that’s something that should be praised because it’s pretty impressive and not easy to do.”