Victory Strategy: Andy Reid’s Masterful Game Plan Against the Dolphins as Patrick Mahomes Defies Playoff Predictions

The Miami Dolphins haven’t played well in cold weather games. Heading into Saturday’s Wild Card Game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Dolphins had lost 10 consecutive games in cold weather. Miami extended that streak to 11 games with a 26-7 loss in Arrowhead Stadium.

The Dolphins spent the week practicing in Miami, where the temperature was around 86 degrees on Friday. During the game in Kansas City, the temperature was minus-4 degrees, making it the fourth-coldest game in NFL history.

Miami’s players never looked comfortable with the 90-degree difference in temperature, and they struggled to get anything going on offense. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa connected with receiver Tyreek Hill for a 53-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter but failed to get Miami’s offense in position to score for the rest of the game. He finished the game completing 20-of-39 pass attempts for just 199 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception, resulting in a 63.9 passer rating.

Chiefs' Andy Reid reveals Patrick Mahomes surprise that caught Dolphins off  guard

Still, the Chiefs looked a lot more comfortable in the elements, despite head coach Andy Reid having icicles in his mustache by the second quarter and quarterback Patrick Mahomes shattering his helmet in the third quarter. Kansas City finished with 409 yards of total offense and scored on six of their 10 drives.

“Cold’s cold. For you, me — it’s cold,” Andy Reid said. “But you go do your thing. That’s how you go play.”

In frigid temperatures and heavy wind gusts, moving the ball through the air becomes a lot tougher. Inclement weather typically produces low-scoring affairs that are dominated by the run game and defense. The general consensus was that Kansas City would pound the ball with running back Isiah Pacheco, especially given the struggles of their passing attack this season.

Patrick Mahomes leads Chiefs to 26-7 playoff win over Dolphins in  near-record low temps – NewsNation

The Chiefs, however, came out of the gate slinging the ball — their first three offensive plays were all passes, and they scored their first touchdown through the air, when Mahomes connected with rookie receiver Rashee Rice on an 11-yard pass less than five minutes after kickoff.

Mahomes completed 23-of-41 pass attempts for 262 yards and a touchdown, resulting in a 83.6 passer rating.

After the game, Reid mentioned that Miami may have been caught off guard by the Chiefs aerial attack.

Pat had a had a nice day right from the get-go. I don’t think they anticipated us throwing the ball quite as much as we did — but we were able to come out and sling it. A lot of quarterbacks can’t do what he did in that kind of weather.”

Reid likely focused the game plan around the passing game because Miami was without their top three edge rushers — Bradley Chubb, Jaelan Phillips and Andrew Van Ginkel. The Dolphins defense attempted to compensate for those losses with heavy blitz packages. They ran a Cover 0 blitz on 18 snaps, the most in an NFL game since 2018.

Despite the pressure, Mahomes finished the game without a sack. The Dolphins couldn’t get home, but Kansas City’s pass rushers swarmed Tagovailoa, who was sacked twice and threw an interception while facing pressure.

“We knew that our opponent didn’t want to be out here in this cold as much as we did,” receiver Rashee Rice said. “We took it to the chin and showed our love for the game.”


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