On a hot and steamy night in Miami Gardens, the Miami Dolphins did something that fans of the team have not seen in a while: they looked like a team that can make a deep playoff run this upcoming season.
Yes, it was just the second preseason game of 2021...and yes, it was against an Atlanta Falcons team that might be one of the worst in the NFL this year.
With all that being said, there is no way to look at the 37-17 drubbing of the Falcons this past Saturday inside Hard Rock Stadium and not feel that things could end very positive for the Fins this season.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who may have the most pressure on him to perform this season, met the challenge by going 16 for 23 passing for 183 yards and a touchdown - part of a passing game that completed 26 passes to 12 different receivers and got three touchdowns.
Perhaps the offensive MVP of the game was running back Myles Gaskin, who got 10 touches rushing and receiving for a combined 71 yards and scored two touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Sam Eguavoen (who was literally activated off the COVID list on Friday) finished the game with 11 tackles, four sacks and a safety when he tackled former UF quarterback Feleipe Franks in the third quarter.
As for bad things in the game...well...Jason Sanders missed his only field goal attempt? The Fins were outscored 14-7 in the fourth quarter? Those might really be the only two "mistakes" on the surface from Saturday.
Now, no one in aqua and orange is going to rush out after just one preseason win and buy tickets to Super Bowl LVI (taking place February 13th, 2022 on NBC), but there has to be real hope of a potential playoff run at this point.
Head coach Brian Flores knows the reduced preseason schedule means the August 29th finale against Cincinnati will be his final chance to get things in order - after three games against teams who went a combined 16-31-1 last season.
Flores may not want to hear it, but playing like they did on Saturday could have the Fins playing deep into the postseason at this rate.