FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Until the Miami Dolphins win the big games, coach Mike McDaniel knows the same questions will be asked.
Miami brought the NFL's No. 1 offense to Germany and goes home with an 0-3 record against teams with winning records this season after losing 21-14 to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at Deutsche Bank Park.
“We knew going into the game that if we’re going to lose what the narrative will be, and that’s fair,” McDaniel said. “We shouldn’t feel entitled to high opinions from the masses. We have to earn that confidence.”
The Dolphins, who are 6-3, mounted a comeback after a dismal performance on offense in the first half.
Patrick Mahomes threw two touchdown passes and Bryan Cook took a fumble return 59 yards for a score to go into halftime with a 21-0 lead.
Cedric Wilson Jr. caught a 31-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter and Raheem Mostert ran for a 13-yard score to put the defending Super Bowl champions under pressure.
But consecutive miscues with the game on the line proved costly for the Dolphins in a matchup that could have AFC playoff implications down the line.
Tua Tagovailoa had a miscommunication with Wilson on an incomplete pass on third-and-10 from the Kansas City 31. On the next play, Tagovailoa couldn’t handle a snap from the shotgun formation, and the Dolphins turned it over on downs.
Tagovailoa accepted the blame for both — which McDaniel said is why his teammates support him — and lamented their slow start. Miami hadn’t been shut out in the first half of a game since Week 2 of the 2021 season.
“The game is not played in two quarters — it’s played in four quarters,” Tagovailoa said. “It’s always tough if you go against a team like that. Those guys know a thing or two about big games.”
The Dolphins converted just three of 12 third downs and amassed 292 total yards — well under their average of 453.3 yards coming into the game.
Tagovailoa finished 21 of 34 for a season-low 193 yards.
Miami has also lost to Buffalo and Philadelphia — both on the road.
“It’s going to be hard for me to sleep on the flight home,” McDaniel said. “It’s going to be a long time until we play our next game.”
The Dolphins have a bye next week before hosting the Las Vegas Raiders.
“NFL games — each and every one of them is tough,” McDaniel said. “I think people undervalue poor records. It’s hard to win in this league.”
The second-year coach remains “very confident" that they'll get better.
“As long as you continue to get better, ultimately that narrative will subside,” he said. “That’s on us collectively from coaches and players alike. If you want the narrative to change, change the narrative.”
Miami’s defense took Tyreek Hill’s advice on who to smother. Tight end Travis Kelce had just three catches for 14 yards and was targeted only four times.
“They were aware of him,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “We always try to get him the ball and we try to do it quickly. There wasn’t a lot of space there for him, breaking in or out.”
Hill finished with eight receptions and 62 yards — his third-lowest receiving yards this season.
“It’s our job to come out here and win these games, especially the way that our defense played today,” said Hill, who was stripped of the ball on Cook's scoring play. “If we want to say that we’re the No. 1 offense in the league, we’ve got to be able to make plays when it counts.”
Reid credited cornerback L’Jarius Sneed for keeping the former Chiefs wide receiver in check.
“Sneed’s ability to match up most of the day on Tyreek was big,” Reid said. “Tyreek is a heck of a football player. He made a couple of real nice plays in there too.”
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