Don’t try to understand this. Forget grasping it.
Because craziness and excitement allow little explanation. And the ebb and flow of an NFL game taking you from utter pain to unspeakable glory are really hard to describe to someone who didn’t see it.
Plus no one involved in the whole affair was all that eager to provide detailed explanations late Saturday night, anyway.
Just understand this:
“That was probably the most fun game I’ve ever played in my life,” said Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin, who scored a 59-yard touchdown on an outlet pass that gave the Dolphins a lead with 3:08 to play in the game.
That amazing play was still a heartbreak and then a miracle comeback away from telling this game’s story.
“We needed a spark to win the game. If we got to go to a relief pitcher in the ninth, that’s what we’re going to do,” said Dolphins coach Brian Flores, who benched an ineffective Tua Tagovailoa in the fourth quarter for the second time in six games and was rewarded with a victory because of it.
Ryan Fitzpatrick took over for Tagovailoa and threw for 182 yards and a touchdown in less than one quarter. But just before he got that fateful call in the proverbial bullpen, he said he had this terrific need to go relieve himself.
He said it was the first time in his 17-year career he had to go pee during a game, so he went into the tunnel and when he came back out, Flores told him he was going in.
And that was probably the third or fourth strangest thing that happened to Fitzpatrick.
The strangest was having his helmet grabbed by the facemask as he was making a desperation heave to receiver Mack Hollins along the left sideline. The pass was complete for 34 yards and the 15-yard face mask was added on afterward.
“I know I’m late, but best no look pass of all time,” Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the king of no-look passes, tweeted.
That improbable, otherworldly pass was enough to put the Dolphins, trailing by two points with 19 seconds to play, in field goal range.
Jason Sanders then kicked a 44-yarder with one second to play.
And so, more than anything, understand this:
This one was Sea of Hands without the big crowd in the end zone at the end. And without the Raiders victory.
It was one where both teams complimented each other for playing well afterward when both made so many mistakes and played so terribly at times.
This game was the depth of pain.
And the height of euphoria.
And don’t expect this column written in 45 minutes to capture it fully.
But know this: The next few days are going to be filled with a lot of debating and hand wringing among Raiders and Dolphins fans.
The Raiders faithful — and there’s a lot of them — are going to want somebody’s head for this loss. Because coach Jon Gruden had the team that played better most of this game and still managed to lose.
His team had the ball inside at the Dolphins 1-yard line with 1:05 to play and somebody decided not to try to score a touchdown.
Like, on purpose.
The point was to kill time off the clock getting ready to kick a field goal that would give Las Vegas a 25-23 advantage with less than 30 seconds to play instead of scoring the touchdown, take a 5-point lead, and go for a 2-point conversion.
That would have given the Dolphins the ball with about a minute to play but needing a touchdown to win rather than a field goal.
On the Dolphins side, you might guess there will be lots of second-guessing about Flores and how he handles Tagovailoa and Fitzpatrick.
And some of that is warranted because the Dolphins coach is insisting Tagovailoa is his starting quarterback and will be in the season-finale against the Buffalo Bills. This while he’s insisting he’s doing everything he can to help the team win and everyone can see Fitzpatrick runs the offense much more efficiently.
Flores said Tagovailoa’s performance was “up and down,” and somehow found the charity to add that he “made plays.”
That simply wasn’t the case this game.
Tagovailoa completed 17 passes for 94 yards in three quarters as the Dolphins offense wheezed and coughed like a car needing a tune up.
And, yes, the Dolphins need more talent at receiver. They need more playmakers.
But the unit looked much better with Fitzpatrick playing. Even Tagovailoa admitted it.
“The call him FitzMagic for a reason,” Tagovailoa said.
So there will be talk about whether Tagovailoa should sit if the Dolphins make the playoffs. There will be a conversation whether games like this suggest rough days ahead in years ahead with Tagovailoa at quarterback.
And I suggest you not involve yourself in such talk now because the reality is the Dolphins are kind of developing a wacky and admittedly uncomfortable quarterback dynamic.
Tagovailoa, the more talented player, is learning on the job and struggling at times. So he continues to start because he’s the future.
Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, has all the experience and the brings a spark everyone sees when he enters the game. Gaskin called it “a different energy.”
So it’s natural to be somewhat frustrated that the Dolphins need two quarterbacks to fill the role of one elite quarterback.
But, again, there is no logic that can explain how to make this better before next season. Tagovailoa needs to play to gain experience. Fitzpatrick is good enough getting his “seven warmup tosses,” before going in to save the day.
And the Dolphins are still in the playoff hunt.
Is it sustainable? Is it without problems?
Of course not.
It’s filled with problems and completely unsustainable. But that’s only if you’re talking sense. Or logic.
We’re not dealing with that now. The Dolphins were providing lunacy Saturday. It was their friend.
And who needs logic and sense when you’ve got a crazy comeback victory?