After losing to the Dolphins on Sunday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said he thought the game was fairly even outside of two big plays by Miami in the first half.
The first of them was a strip-sack of Mac Jones that Dolphins edge rusher Melvin Ingram recovered for a touchdown and the second came on a fourth down in the final seconds before halftime. The Dolphins were on the Patriots’ 42-yard-line and needed seven yards while holding a 10-0 lead when head coach Mike McDaniel decided to go for it.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw a slant to wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and Waddle broke loose for a touchdown that extended the Dolphins lead before halftime. Had the play not worked, the Patriots wouldn’t have needed much yardage to set up a field goal try and Waddle’s fellow wideout Tyreek Hill complimented McDaniel for making a gutsy call when he spoke to reporters after the game.
“He’s going to need a wheelbarrow for his nuts to carry around, because he’s got a lot of cojones,” Hill said, via David Wilson of the Miami Herald.
McDaniel wasn’t the only first-time head coach to try for a big reward rather than avoid the possibility of negative consequences on Sunday and the aggressive approach won Brian Daboll the confidence of his Giants players as well. Not every decision will pay off so handsomely as their coaching careers continue, but swinging big out of the gate proved to be the right call in both cases on Sunday.