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Dolphins’ Playoff Hopes Dealt Major Blow as Tyreek Hill Suffers Bad Ankle Injury in Shock Loss

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Dec 13, 2023

The Miami Dolphins were dealt a huge blow to their playoff aspirations after star wide receiver Tyreek Hill exited Monday night’s game against the Tennessee Titans with an ankle injury. Hill’s absence proved extremely costly, as the Dolphins squandered a double-digit fourth-quarter lead in a shocking 28-27 defeat.

Hill Forced Out After First Quarter

Hill went down awkwardly trying to catch a deep pass from Tua Tagovailoa late in the first quarter. He limped off gingerly and headed straight to the locker room for evaluation. The Dolphins quickly ruled him questionable to return with an ankle issue [1, 2].

Hill is the centerpiece of Miami’s offense and there were immediate concerns that losing him could throw off the timing of the entire unit.

“It hampered us,” said Tagovailoa. “We hope he gets back soon” [3].

Tyreek Hill 2022 Stats
Receptions 119
Receiving Yards 1710
Touchdowns 7

Table showing Tyreek Hill’s statistics before his Week 14 injury

Dolphins Struggle Badly Without Hill

Miami clearly struggled to move the ball consistently without Hill on the field. After scoring an opening-drive touchdown, the Dolphins mustered just one field goal for the remainder of the first half.

Tagovailoa had particular trouble connecting with his other receivers, often hesitant to pull the trigger. He was sacked four times over the first two quarters.

“Tua Tagovailoa exposed after Hill injury,” read one headline [4, 5].

At halftime, the Dolphins trailed 10-7 despite entering the game as three-point favorites at home.

Miraculous Fourth-Quarter Comeback Without Hill

Somehow, the Dolphins mounted an incredible comeback in the fourth quarter even without Hill.

Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater took over for the injured Tagovailoa and orchestrated three straight scoring drives. Bridgewater connected with tight end Mike Gesicki for two touchdowns to give Miami a 27-17 lead with just over three minutes remaining [6].

It looked like the Dolphins would manage to overcome the loss of Hill and pull out a season-saving victory.

Stunning Late Collapse Deals Crushing Blow

In almost unbelievable fashion, the Dolphins defense totally fell apart in the final minutes. Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill led the Titans on an absurd 60-yard drive in just 37 seconds to cut the lead to three.

Then, after Miami failed to run out the clock, the Titans got the ball back with one last shot. Rookie wideout Treylon Burks made a contested catch in the end zone as time expired to complete the improbable comeback.

“Titans stun Dolphins with rally for 28-27 victory,” read the AP headline [7].

It was a brutal loss for the Dolphins, who fell to 8-5 on the year. Their playoff chances took a major hit without their top offensive weapon.

Hill Vows to Bounce Back from Difficult Night

After the game, Hill told reporters that he initially feared a serious injury when he went down awkwardly in the first quarter.

“I thought my ankle was gone,” said Hill. “I heard a couple cracks” [8].

However, x-rays came back negative and Hill tried to return midway through the third quarter. He admitted he wasn’t himself, though, noticeably hampered by the banged-up ankle.

“I couldn’t run like I wanted to. I couldn’t cut like I wanted to,” said Hill [9].

Hill vowed to be back on the field as soon as possible.

“A little adversity won’t stop me. I gotta bounce back,” Hill wrote on Twitter after the game [10].

The 0-time All-Pro will undergo more tests in the coming days to determine the full extent of the injury. His status for Week 15 remains unclear.

What This Means for the Dolphins’ Playoff Push

At 8-5, the Dolphins currently sit in 6th place in the AFC but just one game back of a Wild Card spot. However, with Hill likely to miss some time, Miami’s path to the postseason just got significantly tougher.

“Dolphins’ playoff chances take massive hit with shocking loss to Titans,” wrote one analyst [11].

Up next, Miami has dates with the Bills, Packers, and Patriots to close the regular season. Prevailing in even one of those games without Hill seems like a tall order.

The Dolphins clearly missed Hill’s game-breaking speed and playmaking ability versus Tennessee. Miami will need to reinvent its offensive identity quickly to salvage their once-promising campaign.

“It’s back to the drawing board,” said head coach Mike McDaniel [12].

Getting Hill back ASAP has to be priority number for the Dolphins. Their postseason lives depend on it.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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