The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


Fins Crumble at Home, Forced to Travel for the NFL Playoffs

The Miami Dolphins failed to clinch their division after a disappointing loss to their rivals, the Buffalo Bills.
Andres Rodriguez
Venturing into the NFL playoffs, the Miami Dolphins’ first stop is in Kansas City as they face sub-zero degree temperatures.

Hard Rock Stadium was bustling prior to the showdown between the Dolphins and the nemesis Buffalo Bills. This American Football Conference matchup would determine the winner of the AFC East, one the divisions that was yet to be clinched. Playing under the lights, this game contained serious implications for both franchises and their playoff seedings. 

Receiving significant attention from the media, the game was set to take place Sunday, Jan. 7; Kkckoff occurred at 8:20 p.m. 

The Dolphins were in control of the AFC East, one of the eight divisions in the National Football League. Boasting a 7 to 1 home record (the third best in the league), the Dolphins aimed to clinch the division, the number two seed in the AFC and home-field advantage for at least two games. 

“The Dolphins had a lot of slip-ups this year, especially on the road. They should have had the home-field advantage. I don’t think it’s their year to go to the Super Bowl yet,” junior Jason Hurtado said. 

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On the opposing sideline, the Bills squashed the Dolphins in their previous matchup on Oct. 1, winning 48 to 20 at Highmark Stadium. Bills quarterback Josh Allen owned a 9 to 2 career record against the Dolphins going into the game. 

In the second quarter, rookie De’Von Achane managed to avoid multiple tackles and run the ball into the endzone, for a Dolphins touchdown. The Dolphins also scored with 1 minute and 43 seconds left in the first half, as quarterback Tua Tagovailoa flinged his only touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill

Throughout the first half, the Bills sustained lengthy drives and dominated the time of possession. The scoreboard indicated otherwise. Allen threw interceptions in back-to-back drives, giving the Dolphins defense crucial stops. 

Injuries plagued the Dolphins after halftime. 

Dolphins edge rusher, Andrew Van Ginkel, left the field in the third quarter due to a foot injury. Dolphins linebacker, Cameron Goode, was also sidelined and carted off the field in the fourth quarter. The defense and special teams went downhill from there. 

In the third quarter, the Dolphins allowed a 96 yard punt return for a touchdown. Tagovailoa and the offense remained stagnant and could not score the entire second half. Tied at 14 points, the Bills scored the go-ahead touchdown on a pass from Allen to tight end Dawson Knox. The Bills pulled away as 21 to 14 victors, securing the division. 

“Honestly, I think I saw [the punt return] coming. We weren’t playing at the level we should have been playing at, and it wasn’t surprising when we got scored on the way that we did,” senior Christopher Perez said.

Following the unfortunate loss, the Dolphins now fall to the number six seed in the AFC bracket. They will face the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 13, in freezing temperatures. Earlier in the season, the Chiefs beat Miami with a score of 21 to 14. 

“I feel that the Dolphins matchup with the Chiefs is probably the best matchup that we could have gotten out of the entire field of playoff teams […] because the Bills at the end of the game, had our number […] I definitely don’t want to face the Bills until the second or third round,” assistant principal Mr. Martinez said. 

The Dolphins defense faces a catastrophic reality as four starting linebackers have undergone season-ending injuries. On the offensive side of the ball, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and running back Raheem Mostert are both questionable for this playoff showcase.

“They have no shot this year…zero chance. They are Dolphins doing Dolphins things,” Mr. Ricardo Gonzalez said. 

The weather forecast indicates that this playoff game will commence in temperatures ranging from a high of 7 degrees Fahrenheit to a low of 8 degrees. If that is the case, the game could potentially be one of the coldest games in NFL history.  

Head coach Mike McDaniel responded to the press on Wednesday, claiming that the frigid temperatures could energize the Dolphins locker room in preparation for the Wild Card round. 

Both teams square off to keep their Super Bowl dreams alive. The game will be telecasted on Peacock for the national audience and on National Broadcasting Company channel 6 for Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

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About the Contributors
Andres Rodriguez
Andres Rodriguez, CavsConnect Sports Editor

Andres Rodriguez is a junior and retains the title of CavsConnect Sports Editor. Studying in the International Baccalaureate program, Andres is looking forward to this year for many reasons. He runs for the boys cross country team and is focused on breaking 19 minutes and 15 seconds for a five kilometer race. His Catholic faith, family and teammates are what drives him in his races or casual runs whenever he has time. On campus, Andres is also part of the International Baccalaureate Honor Society and the National Spanish Honor Society boards. As far as extracurricular events, Andres hopes to attend pep rallies and possibly Homecoming. The IB classes and assessments will be time consuming but Andres still intends to hangout with friends, volunteer at mass and take his dog, Max, on more walks. Some skills Andres wants to refine are driving and cooking. Finally, Andres continues to embody this Bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” -Philippians 4:13. 

Anthony Fajardo
Anthony Fajardo, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Anthony Fajardo, a junior in the International Baccalaureate magnet program at Coral Gables Senior High School, is gearing up for his third year as a writer for CavsConnect. With a strong passion for journalism, Anthony is excited to continue contributing to the school's publication. Beyond his writing pursuits, he is an active member of various clubs including the International Baccalaureate Honor Society, National Honor Society, Interact and Future Business Leaders of America. He is always looking to help those around him to the best of his ability. An ardent sports and music enthusiast, Anthony finds joy in supporting his Miami teams and is also a fan of FC Barcelona. As Anthony enters this new school year, he is ready to give it his all and bring positivity to those around him.
Santiago Rodriguez
Santiago Rodriguez, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Santiago Rodriguez is a current freshman entering the International Baccalaureate program here at Coral Gables Senior High. He hopes to pursue his interest in running by joining the Cross Country and Track and Field team. Despite his love for running, his biggest opponents are mosquitos. If you find him outdoors, bug spray is his best friend. He has big hopes for his future in Gables such as joining the National Honor Society, International Baccalaureate Honor Society, Science National Honor Society and possibly becoming Editor in Chief of CavsConnect. His favorite seasons are summer and fall for the many reasons of sports, weather and vacation. Wanting to continue to be a above average student, Santiago works harder, taking multiple Advanced Placement classes during high school. Hoping he has a great year at Gables, he is eager to be working in CavsConnect.
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