Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle broke the NFL rookie receptions record during Sunday’s win over the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium.
With an early, simple 5-yard catch on an out route to the sideline, Waddle recorded his third catch on Sunday, breaking Anquan Boldin’s mark of 101 established with the Arizona Cardinals in 2003.
Miami coach Brian Flores denied he would potentially try to get the record out of the way early in the game this past week, but Waddle got the third reception on the Dolphins’ fourth play from scrimmage and only had one catch outside of the opening series.
“A lot of the credit shouldn’t even go to me. I credit the [offensive coordinator], quarterback, the other wide receivers,” said Waddle, who watched Boldin growing up. “He definitely was a baller growing up. Anquan definitely a Hall of Famer.”
Waddle capped the opening series with a 7-yard touchdown catch. He finished Sunday with five receptions for 27 to end up at 104 receptions and 1,015 yards in his rookie campaign.
“I was actually very happy that we ended that drive with a touchdown for him,” said quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Although Waddle needed the extra 17th game of the regular season that was added this season, he broke the record in 16 games. He missed the Dolphins’ Dec. 5 win over the New York Giants on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
His reception total ranks third in Dolphins’ history, trailing only Jarvis Landry, who had 112 in 2017 and 110 in 2015.
Boldin played high school football at Pahokee and collegiately at Florida State.
Week 18′s draft impact
The Dolphins’ draft position in the first round of the upcoming draft was not affected by the team’s own result in Sunday’s season finale against the Patriots, but it was by the San Francisco 49ers’ overtime win over the Los Angeles Rams.
Remember, there were two trades with the Philadelphia Eagles and 49ers last offseason that moved Miami off of the 2021 draft’s No. 3 pick, which was previously acquired from the Houston Texans, back to No. 12 and then up to No. 6, where Waddle was eventually selected.
In the trades, the Dolphins’ 2022 first-round pick went to the Eagles, while Miami’s position is tied to the 49ers’ finish.
After the Dolphins finished off their win against the Patriots, the San Francisco win at Los Angeles got the 49ers into the the NFC playoffs.
That means San Francisco’s pick going to the Dolphins will be upward of No. 18, and it could go very deep into the end of the first round if San Francisco is then able to pull off a wild-card round upset. If the 49ers win a playoff game, the pick going to Miami will be 25 or worse.
The Dolphins’ pick that goes to the Eagles is set at 15.
Dolphins’ 2022 opponents
The final Dolphins opponent on the 2022 schedule was settled on “Sunday Night Football” with the Las Vegas Raiders’ win over the Los Angeles Chargers in overtime
With the Raiders winning, 35-32, the Chargers will host the Dolphins next season. This is because AFC East teams play against an AFC West team that finished in the same position in its division next year. Miami was No. 3 in the East, and with the loss, Los Angeles became the third-place finisher of the West.
The same concept goes for the AFC South, as the Dolphins will host the Texans, who finished third in that division.
The rest of Miami’s schedule: The annual home-and-home against AFC East foes the Patriots, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills; the entire AFC North with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns at home and Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens on the road; the entire NFC North with the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings at home and Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions on the road; and the extra 17th game of the regular season will be a trip to San Francisco to take on the 49ers, who finished third in the NFC West, like the Dolphins did in the AFC East.
If Chargers-Raiders game had ended in a tie, as it nearly did, Las Vegas would’ve finished behind Los Angeles and the Raiders would’ve hosted the Dolphins in a regular season game for a third consecutive season.
Dates for all matchups are yet to be announced.
If the Dolphins are willing to let Mike Gesicki walk in free agency because they feel rookie Hunter Long is ready to step up in the tight end rotation, they’ll have to base it off of mostly practice reps for Long.
Long was one of the five healthy inactives announced by the Dolphins prior to kickoff, along with running back Salvon Ahmed, wide receiver Preston Williams and linebackers Vince Biegel and Darius Hodge. No Dolphins players entered Sunday with an injury designation, while cornerback Noah Igbinoghene and safety Sheldrick Redwine were the only two on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Long was inactive for 10 games in his rookie year. He played seven, started two and finished with one reception for 8 yards.
The Patriots had two key defenders already announced as out prior to Sunday, safety Kyle Dugger and linebacker Dont’a Hightower. The only three other inactive players for New England were quarterback Jarrett Stidham, tight end Devin Asiasi and running back J.J. Taylor. …
Rookie undrafted free agent Robert Jones started at right tackle on Sunday in place of veteran Jesse Davis.
“It was amazing going out there playing against a good team and finally being able to showcase, show myself. During the week, I knew it was a chance I could start, but I didn’t know for sure,” Jones said. “Credit to Jesse. He stuck by my side, and he just kept guiding me.”