For a fourth consecutive game, the Dolphins had a quarterback sustain an injury.
The Dolphins lost to the Vikings, 24-16, at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.
Bridgewater, who once starred for Miami Northwestern High, saw Vikings running back Dalvin Cook of Miami Central provide the critical dagger.
Cook broke through for a 53-yard touchdown run for a 24-10 lead with 3:15 left.
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Bridgewater was driving the Dolphins as they trailed only 16-10. But receiver Jaylen Waddle fumbled inside the Vikings’ 30-yard line with 4:10 left.
That wasted a key fourth-down conversion on the drive from Bridgewater to Tyreek Hill, who posted 177 receiving yards.
Miami’s offensive line has serious issues. Bridgewater was sacked six times.
The last time Miami played Minnesota, in 2018, Ryan Tannehill was sacked nine times.
One player who excelled for the Dolphins on offense was tight end Mike Gesicki, who had 69 yards and two touchdowns. That should help boost his confidence.
Miami’s defense played very well on Sunday despite a slew of key injuries in the line and secondary. That Miami was in this game despite a ton of injuries overall was respectable.
But the facts are the facts. Miami began the season 3-0 and is now 3-3.
Here are five takeaways from Miami’s loss:
Every single NFL team has injuries.
Every single NFL team has to overcome the adversity of injury.
But this is ridiculous. Injuries are playing a massive role in Miami’s season.
The Dolphins entered this game without Tua Tagovailoa, Terron Armstead, Austin Jackson, Durham Smythe, Byron Jones and Kader Kohou.
But then in the first half alone on Sunday, Miami saw Skylar Thompson (thumb), Nik Needham (ankle), Keion Crossen (knee), Trey Flowers (foot) and Emmanuel Ogbah (back) all leave with injury.
In particular, Miami was in massive trouble at cornerback. Yes, the Dolphins had Xavien Howard back from a one-week absence due to an injured groin. But after that, they were left relying on Noah Igbinoghene and … safety/corner Elijah Campbell and safety Eric Rowe as available corners.
In the fourth quarter, Miami actually used special teams guru Justin Bethel on defense. And Bethel made the key play on a third-down stop.
At offensive tackle, Miami was forced to go with Greg Little and Brandon Shell. And, too often, it was not pretty. Little, in particular, allowed too much pressure.
The Dolphins were one of the least penalized teams in the NFL during the three-year Brian Flores era.
That trend has not continued in the first six games under coach Mike McDaniel.
While some coaches truly believe penalties are an overrated statistic, penalties are hurting this Miami team, especially on offense.
Consider a first-quarter drive that featured an NFL season-high five penalties. On three consecutive plays, offensive linemen Robert Hunt, Connor Williams and Liam Eichenberg were penalized.
The Dolphins entered play 25th in the NFL in fewest penalties. It’s going to be in their best interest to become at least a bit more disciplined.
Offensive line and cornerback woes
Dolphins general manager Chris Grier may need to seek an offensive tackle and/or cornerback to add to the roster, and quickly.
Trade. Waivers. Wherever.
With Terron Armstead out and Austin Jackson working to return from an injury, Little and Shell have struggled, allowing too many quarterback pressures.
At left guard, Liam Eichenberg has also allowed too much pressure over the course of Miami’s first six games. Could Robert Jones or Michael Deiter be a guard option?
We can’t say it’s totally the fault of Miami’s offensive line that Dolphins quarterbacks have been knocked out of four consecutive games. But they’re certainly played their part in the situation.
At cornerback, Miami is in trouble if Needham and Crossen have serious injuries. As soon as he entered the game, Minnesota went after Igbinoghene. Very quickly, Igbinoghene was called for pass interference.
“He’s nervous,” Fox broadcaster Jonathan Vilma said. “He panics.”
Igbinoghene did do a nice job with consecutive pass breakups in the third quarter.
Will Grier and McDaniel panic? Probably not. But they need to explore a move or two.
Solid defensive performance
The Dolphins entered this game having forced only three three-and-outs, last in the NFL.
Then Miami forced Minnesota to punt after three plays on their first four possessions.
This was a well-called game by defensive coordinator Josh Boyer.
The return of Howard was crucial. But Miami also got strong performances from Jaelan Phillips, Ogbeh, Elandon Roberts, Christian Wilkins, Raekwon Davis and Jevon Holland.
With so much turmoil on offense, Miami needs its defense to play at a level closer to where it was in the second half of last season.
The Dolphins created problems for Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins, who does not like pressure.
Among the Dolphins to record at least a half-sack were Roberts, Davis and Phillips.
Poor special teams
The Dolphins entered the sixth game of their season with a total of 3 punt returns for 12 yards. And then on the first punt return opportunity of this season, Jevon Holland fumbled.
It was recovered by Miami. Speaking of special teams, kicker Jason Sanders missed a 52-yard field goal in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, Clayton Fejedelem came up short on a fake punt attempt. The Dolphins also allowed a 25-yard punt return to the Vikings’ Jalen Reagor.
It hasn’t been a great start to the season for Danny Crossman’s group.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Miami Dolphins lose to Minnesota Vikings: Joe Schad’s 5 takeaways