Miami Dolphins vs. Washington Commanders Observations: 4 Things We Learned in Week 13

The Miami Dolphins took another step toward their first AFC East title in 15 years with a 45-15 thrashing of the Washington Commanders.

The Miami Dolphins blistered the Washington Commanders 45-15 Sunday to improve to 9-3 on the season and take a three-game lead over the idle Buffalo Bills in the AFC East.

The Dolphins took the lead on their first offensive possession and never looked back to win for the fourth time in five games.

Miami Dolphins vs. Washington Commanders Instant Observations

New Life for Tua Tagovailoa MVP Candidacy?

After a brilliant start to the season, Tua Tagovailoa was the MVP frontrunner for a time. That talk cooled significantly over the last month, thanks in no small part to Tua throwing just three more touchdowns (9) to interceptions (6) from Weeks 7 through 12.

He deserves a second look after a dazzling day against the Commanders, when he completed 18 of 24 passes for 280 yards, two touchdowns, and — most importantly — no interceptions. Tagovailoa put together that impressive stat line on just 46 snaps.

Tagovailoa, as of the 3 p.m. hour Sunday, had the fifth-shortest MVP odds in the league (+950), behind only Jalen Hurts (+150), Patrick Mahomes (+380), Lamar Jackson (+450), and Dak Prescott (+475).

Tagovailoa will have the opportunity to improve those odds with two more head-to-head matchups against other candidates. The Dolphins host Prescott’s Cowboys in Week 16 then visit Jackson’s Ravens in Week 17.

Tyreek Hill Cannot Be Denied

One award can probably go to the engraver now. Unless he gets hurt, Tyreek Hill is going to win Offensive Player of the Year honors.

According to the betting public, it’s technically a two-man race (Hill is -175, San Francisco’s Christian McCaffrey is +130), but another game or two like Hill had Sunday and those numbers will more closely resemble reality.

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Hill had another 157 yards on five catches Sunday — numbers largely built on two deep touchdown passes from Tagovailoa. Hill is simply incredible. He is now just 519 yards shy of 2,000 with five to go, which means he needs to average 103.8 yards over the season’s last five weeks to reach that benchmark.

Phillips’ Replacements Shine

The Dolphins know that no one player can replace Jaelan Phillips. But they think they can do so in the aggregate, getting increased production from Andrew Van Ginkel and Emmanuel Ogbah.

So far, so good.

Van Ginkel had a pick-six, multiple quarterback hits, and batted down a pair of passes. As for Ogbah, he recorded a sack in a marvelous first half of football by Vic Fangio’s defense.

As a whole, the Dolphins sacked Sam Howell three times and limited him to 127 passing yards on 12 of 23 attempts.

Injuries Are Mounting

The problem with games that are decided before halftime is that all 60 minutes must still be played — which means there’s nothing but downside for the team that’s ahead.

The hope is you just get through regulation without any major injury.

The Dolphins on Sunday were not that lucky.

Three more starters left and did not return: linebacker Jerome Baker (knee), offensive tackle Terron Armstead (ankle), and guard Rob Hunt (hamstring).

Baker got hurt by friendly fire. Teammate Brandon Jones accidentally drilled the side of Baker’s leg while both players were attempting to make the tackle.

Of the two, Baker’s injury seemed the most significant, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Armstead has to miss time — again.

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