Just consider the first two weeks preseason.
The Miami Dolphins many inside the building expected in 2020 finally showed up — just a little late.
A devastating, overwhelming, physical evening by the Dolphins’ offense — and yes, even their defense — resulted in a 31-13 victory Thursday.
Season just beginning?
And as for that Tua talk?
Tagovailoa will remain on the bench ... at least for now.
There’s simply no rationale for pulling Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Not after he completed 12 consecutive passes (including two touchdowns) to start the game, and 21 straight dating back to last week.
Not after he fired up his sideline with bulldozer-type runs — and even blocks. (He put the game away with a 1-yard touchdown plunge late in the third quarter.)
Not after he won the Beard Bowl, out-classing his much, much junior headliner, Gardner Minshew.
Not after he went 18 of 20 for 160 passing yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 38 on seven carries in what might be the final prime-time start in his long career.
Not after he threw the ball, ran the ball and even caught the ball (off a deflection).
Not when the Dolphins have a positive season point differential for the first time since Week 3 of the 2018 season.
And not with the Dolphins a just half-game out of the playoffs.
Fitzpatrick rightly will get the bulk of the credit. And he should.
But don’t ignore the work done by Miami’s offensive line, which has improved in each of the first three weeks. Right tackle Jesse Davis said this week he wants his group to be respected and feared.
Keep up what we’ve seen the last two weeks and it’ll happen.
Can the same be said for Kyle Van Noy and the Dolphins’ defense?
After a brutal first two weeks, Josh Boyer’s bunch was much improved Thursday, and Van Noy — with a strip sack and several WWE-worthy hits (except they were real) — was the driving force.
It was a complete team win.
And it started from Play 1.
Highlights at halftime after the best two quarters the Dolphins have put together this season:
▪ A perfect slant pass from Fitzpatrick to Preston Williams, resulting in a three-yard touchdown. (Williams roasted overmatched safety Josh Jones in coverage).
▪ Fitzpatrick serving as a lead blocker on a long run by Myles Gaskin (who’s without a doubt the Dolphins’ No. 1 running back, going for 95 all-purpose yards Thursday).
▪ A leaping touchdown catch by Mike Gesicki, who has seven scores since Thanksgiving 2019 (most in the NFL).
▪ A full-house backfield formation at the goal line, with Jordan Howard (one of three backs on the field) plunging in from 1 yard out.
▪ A well-timed blitz by Kamu Grugier-Hill, who planted Minshew for a sack on fourth-and-6 at the Dolphins’ 36.
▪ Twelve straight completions to start the game by Fitzpatrick, who put together a streak of 21 straight dating back to the Bills game. That’s the second-longest stretch without an incompletion in team history.
It was a smackdown — both on the field and in the box score reflected it. The Dolphins outgained Jacksonville 218-131. They had an astounding 17 first downs on 32 plays. They controlled the ball for 17 minutes, 48 seconds. And even the Dolphins’ defense hung in there, limiting Jacksonville to just one scoring drive and 4.9 yards per play.
But the big story, of course, was the play of the offense, which flipped a switch at halftime of the Bills game. In their next nine drives, they gained 508 yards and 41 points on 76 plays.
And after Fitzpatrick put Miami up three touchdowns late in the third quarter, only one question remained:
Would Tagovailoa make his NFL debut in garbage time?
Can’t get everything you want, Dolphins fans.