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NFL Week 12 grades: Resurgent Dolphins get an ‘A+’ for blowout win, Tom Brady and Buccaneers get an ‘A’

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Through the first eight weeks of the 2021 season, the Miami Dolphins were viewed as one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL, but after an undefeated November, the resurgent Dolphins have suddenly scraped their way back into playoff contention. 

The Dolphins put a giant exclamation point on their undefeated month with a 33-10 blowout win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday and this victory might have been their most impressive one yet. The Dolphins played nearly perfect football in all three phases of the game: They got big plays from their offense, they got big plays from their special teams and they got a dominating performance from their defense. 

Basically, this was the Dolphins team everyone thought we were going to get in Week 1 and after seemingly going through an identity crisis through the first eight weeks of the season, the Dolphins seem to have finally figured out who they are. 

Tua Tagovailoa seems to be getting more comfortable every week and a big reason for that is because of his chemistry with Jaylen Waddle. Tua threw for 230 yards in the game with 137 of those going to Waddle, including the play you see below, which ended up being a 57-yard gain. 


That pass set up a 3-yard TD run by Myles Gaskin in the second quarter and even that short play was indicative of how much Miami has improved on offense. 

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The Dolphins proved that they’re going to empty the playbook every week and the Panthers found that out the hard way when Gaskin scored on a wildcat play. 

The Dolphins seem to have an energy right now that they lacked through the first two months of the season and that energy was on display early in the game. After the Panthers were forced to punt on their opening possession, Duke Riley blocked the kick for the Dolphins and Justin Coleman returned it for the game’s first score. 

The rest of the team seemed to feed off the energy that the special teams touchdown created. 

Defensively, the Dolphins absolutely suffocated the Panthers’ offense. Not only did they tally five sacks, but they also picked off three passes. If you want to know what Cam Newton’s day was like, just watch the play below. 

That was one of three sacks from Jaelan Phillips

The swarming Dolphins defense didn’t let the Panthers anywhere near the end zone after the first quarter. 

The Dolphins still have a long road to travel if they want to make the playoffs, but it doesn’t feel as impossible as it did four weeks ago. Although their 5-7 record barely has them in the playoff conversation, there’s no reason to think that they won’t be able to improve upon that. Over their next three games, the Dolphins will face the Giants, Jets and Saints, which are all winnable. If they can come away with three wins, that would push them to 8-7 and at that point, anything could happen. 

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Alright, let’s get to the grades for every game from Week 12. If you want to check out the grades for the six teams that played on Thanksgiving, then be sure to click here.

Miami 33-10 over Carolina

Panthers-Dolphins grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Atlanta 21-14 over Jacksonville

Falcons-Jaguars grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

N.Y. Jets 21-14 over Houston

Jets-Texans grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Cincinnati 41-10 over Pittsburgh

Steelers-Bengals grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Tampa Bay 38-31 over Indianapolis

Buccaneers-Colts grades by Patrik Walker (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

N.Y. Giants 13-7 over Philadelphia

Eagles-Giants grades by Cody Benjamin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

New England 36-13 over Tennessee

Titans-Patriots grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

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