MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Another week, another quarterback replacement for the Miami Dolphins.
And yet, another loss.
Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes, Dalvin Cook iced the game with a 53-yard touchdown run and the Minnesota Vikings improved to 5-1 with a 24-16 win over the Dolphins on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.
Dolphins quarterback Skylar Thompson, a third-stringer starting in place of Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater, left Sunday’s game with a right thumb injury. While Tagovailoa and Bridgewater have been evaluated for concussions in recent weeks, it was the fourth straight game the Dolphins were affected by a quarterback injury.
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Bridgewater played in relief of Thompson, but did not fare well until the fourth quarter. That was before a costly turnover swung the pendulum in this game.
Turning point of the game
The Dolphins were charging down the field in the fourth quarter, shortly after pulling within six points, until their comeback ended abruptly.
Second-year Dolphins receiver Jaylen Waddle caught a 14-yard pass over the middle, and was tripped by Vikings safety Harrison Smith, causing a game-altering fumble.
The turnover sucked the air out of the Dolphins’ home stadium, while it gave the Vikings all the energy they needed to pull out the victory.
To make matters worse, Waddle left the game with a shoulder injury with 2:22 remaining.
Dalvin Cook puts the game away
Cook, the Miami native playing his first NFL game in his hometown, was bottled up by the Dolphins defense for much of the night.
But Cook scored a 53-yard touchdown to give the Vikings a 24-10 lead and effectively put the game away. He had less than 20 yards for most of the game until he broke free after Waddle’s fumble.
Cook, who starred at Miami Central High School and played in this stadium several times as a Florida State standout, finished with 77 yards rushing.
Stars of the game
While Vikings star Justin Jefferson was a big-play threat on the other sideline, it was Dolphins star Tyreek Hill with the best individual performance.
Hill finished with 12 catches on 15 targets for 177 yards, while tight end Mike Gesicki had six catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns for Miami.
Jefferson’s biggest play of the day went for 47 yards. He finished with six catches for 107 yards.
Dolphins can’t wait for Tua Tagovailoa to come back
The Dolphins offense wasn’t a sight to see in this game because of a lack of continuity.
Thompson spent the week preparing with first-team repetitions, while Bridgewater cleared concussion protocols on Saturday and played most of this game. It was quite the opposite last week when Bridgewater left after one play and the unprepared Thompson led Miami on the road against the Jets.
Tagovailoa cleared concussion protocol on Saturday and could return for Miami’s Week 7 game against the Steelers on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Football.”
But it’s clear the Dolphins, who started 3-0 and are now 3-3 under new coach Mike McDaniel, miss their starting quarterback.
Vikings are a conundrum
The Vikings offense won this game despite nearly 200 fewer yards gained offensively, only two conversions on third down, and 11 instances where it went three and out.
The Vikings might be one of the most confounding teams in the league.
Yet, they have a 5-1 record, and took a two-game lead over the Packers in the NFC North.
Not bad for first-year coach Kevin O’Connell.