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Do Dolphins Have NFL’s Best WR Duo Ever?

  • Jack McKessy
  • November 1, 2022
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Name a more iconic duo than Miami Dolphins wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. I’ll wait.

With the way this season is going for the Dolphins’ dynamic receiving duo, I might be waiting forever. Hill and Waddle are on pace to not only be the best receiving tandem in the NFL this season but the best receiving tandem in a single season in NFL history.

When the Dolphins traded for Hill early in the offseason, they immediately created one of the most exciting and high-ceiling receiving tandems in the NFL. Waddle, a blazing-fast receiver himself, was already in Miami as their first-round pick in 2021, and adding Hill to the mix meant that the Dolphins would have an especially speedy leading receiver tandem. The only questions that remained were how new head coach Mike McDaniel would get them both involved and whether quarterback Tua Tagovailoa would be able to maximize their production.

Through eight weeks of the 2022 season, all questions and concerns have been answered and put to rest. Hill and Waddle have been dominating opposing defensive secondaries like no receiving tandem has done before. Hill is on pace for 2,042 receiving yards this season, which would break the all-time single-season record. Of the eight games he’s played with Miami, Hill has recorded four games with more than 160 receiving yards. The rest of the NFL has only put up five 160-yard games all season. Waddle is on pace for 1,545 yards himself, which would put him just in front of Victor Cruz’s 2011 season for the 38th most all-time and 10th most productive season of all active receivers.

The Dolphins’ Week 8 comeback win over the Detroit Lions presented yet another dominant performance by the duo and helped the two set a new NFL record. Hill torched Detroit for 188 receiving yards on 12 catches while Waddle put up 106 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches. With those performances, Hill and Waddle officially broke the record for most receiving yards by a wide receiver tandem through eight weeks of an NFL season with 1,688 combined. Oh, by the way, they played two and a half of those games without their starting quarterback, including a (nearly) complete game with only their third-string rookie quarterback.

The fact of the matter is it’s nearly impossible to defend against both receivers. Not only are they both so fast and create natural separation with their quickness, but they’re also just two really good receivers with great hands and fantastic ball skills. Tagovailoa made a couple of throws to Hill on Sunday that were underthrown, and Hill made adjustments to both throws on the fly to come down with the catch both times for huge chunk yardage.

On top of their skills as receivers making things difficult for defenders, having both of them on the field at the same time helps open up opportunities for each individual receiver. For instance, Waddle’s second touchdown on Sunday was so wide open on the outside because of Hill drawing extra defenders over the middle.

As Hill ran his drag route right across the middle of the field, one of the safeties dropped down to help the cornerback defend him and prevent Miami from converting on third down. But because the safety on the left side came down, the cornerback playing man defense on Waddle was left without any help over the top in a one-on-one situation against one of the NFL’s fastest receivers. The second-year receiver blazed past his man easily on a delayed release right behind Hill’s cut inside and hauled in a nice over-the-shoulder catch for an easy touchdown. It’s route concepts like that that allow Hill and Waddle to feed off of each other’s presence and make them especially hard to defend.

If both receivers keep producing the way they have this season—and given what they’ve been able to do so far, there’s no reason to think they won’t, barring an injury—they’ll have a strong case for being the best receiving tandem in NFL history. They’re already the best tandem through half of a season production-wise, and there’s a real case to be made for Hill to be this year’s league MVP. 

If nothing else, Hill and Waddle have made the Dolphins a really fun team to watch in 2022 and will continue to dominate the competition together as long as they’re in Miami, no matter who they have at quarterback.