In rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's first NFL start, the Dolphins forced four turnovers and scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams -- all before halftime.
The Rams fall to 5-3. The Dolphins improve to 4-3.
Now the Rams must enter a Week 9 bye wondering exactly who they are and what they're capable of this season after sweeping the NFC East, but falling to the Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers and now the Dolphins. The Rams' only victory over a team with a winning record was their 24-10 win against the Chicago Bears in Week 7.
Their schedule entering the second half of the season offers no relief. The Rams, in Week 10, play host to the Seattle Seahawks, and then in Week 11 they must travel to Florida again -- their fifth trip to the East Coast this season -- to take on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2).
QB Performance: An ominous start that included three tipped passes at the line of scrimmage rapidly devolved into a disastrous first half for Goff, as the fifth-year quarterback threw two interceptions and was strip-sacked twice. When under pressure in the first half, Goff completed 4-of-12 passes for 32 yards with two interceptions and two sacks that included two lost fumbles. Goff developed some rhythm in the second half as he orchestrated a 10-play, 89-yard drive that culminated in a 11-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods, who scored the Rams' only other touchdown in the first half when he walked in for a 4-yard score. Goff finished 35 of 61 for 355 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions.
Running back rotation: Despite success running the ball through most of their early-season games, the Rams shied away from relying on the run Sunday. Darrell Henderson started and rushed for 47 yards on eight carries, but the second-year pro could not finish the second half after he suffered a thigh injury. Rookie Cam Akers, who has played minimal snaps since returning from a rib injury that sidelined him in Weeks 3 and 4, took over and rushed for 35 yards on nine carries. Veteran Malcolm Brown was mostly utilized in pass-protection situations, but rushed for 40 yards on 10 carries.
Troubling trend: Special teams blunders. Dolphins returner Jakeem Grant dodged several tackles on his way to returning a Johnny Hekker punt 88 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to give Miami a 21-7 lead. Late in the fourth quarter, kicker Kai Forbath, who the Rams signed ahead of releasing rookie Samuel Sloman, missed a 48-yard attempt as the Dolphins led, 28-17. The Rams must play cleaner on special teams if they want to make a run in the NFC West.
Silver lining: Aaron Donald and the Rams' defense. Donald welcomed Tagovailoa to the NFL on his second play from scrimmage, as the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year quickly made his way into the backfield to strip-sack the rookie quarterback. Later in the first half, safety Taylor Rapp forced Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin to fumble and cornerback Troy Hill recovered. The defense held the Dolphins to 145 total yards of offense. Tagovailoa completed 12 of 22 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.