Rookie Jaylen Waddle Scores First Touchdown in Victorious Dolphins Opener

Jaylen Waddle runs the ball during a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons last month.
Jaylen Waddle runs the ball during a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons last month. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images
It wasn't always pretty. It definitely wasn't all that pleasant to witness. But in the end, it was a Miami Dolphins win. And any Dolphins fan will take an ugly win over a pretty loss any Sunday.

A win is a win, and certainly, no one will remember how ugly the win was when assessing the Dolphins' playoff chances in December.

Sunday was far from the most thrilling Dolphins game ever. But undeniably, the most enjoyable moment in the season-opening 17-16 win over the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, was first-round 2021 draft pick Jaylen Waddle's first career touchdown.

Waddle finished the game with four catches for 61 yards and what wound up being the game-deciding score: Tua Tagovailoa to Waddle — the Alabama Crimson Tide connection reunited in the Magic City.
While Waddle made a splash in his NFL debut, the rest of the team left much to be desired.

On defense, the Dolphins allowed Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones to go 29-for-39 for 281 yards and a touchdown.

On offense, Tagovailoa looked pedestrian for most of the game and threw an ugly interception late in the fourth quarter that would have cost the Dolphins the game, if not for a Pats fumble deep in Miami territory.

All buts and what-ifs aside, the Dolphins won and are now 1-0 and in first place in the AFC East.

As for Tagovailoa and Waddle? This appears to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
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Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.
Contact: Ryan Yousefi