The dust has now settled from Miami’s Week 12 trouncing of the Denver Broncos by a score of 35-9. With that said, we are now able to look at the game in a more objective light. A blowout win is certainly worth getting excited about, but it is important to be able to look at things after the initial excitement has worn off. Below you will find out top three takeaways from Miami’s Week 12 victory:
Defenders or Pretenders?
Miami’s defense was absolutely dominant at home this past week. What they were able to accomplish was nothing short of spectacular. Especially considering how the wheels had fallen off in the five games prior. Ever since getting destroyed by Baltimore, the defense has looked lost and has played without discipline.
All of that changed this past Sunday. The Dolphins were able to turn things around with a performance for the ages. It was the first time in franchise history where the defense was able to record two safeties in one game.
The Dolphins recorded three sacks, and three interceptions as well. One of which was returned for a touchdown. It was a day where the defense feasted. They flew around out there and only had two coverage breakdowns, neither of which went for scores.
However, before getting too excited, it’s important to keep something in mind. The Miami Dolphins had the benefit of playing Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian. The Broncos have a serious lack of talent at quarterback this year. This was a key factor that led to Miami’s defense licking their chops all day long.
Siemian made errant throws all day, along with poor decisions and bad ball placement. His lack of ability led to corners jumping routes and playing more aggressively overall. When a defense isn’t kept honest that’s what tends to happen.
Let’s wait and see what happens when the Dolphins are faced with a more talented quarterback. So far this would be the only time that a subpar quarterback wasn’t made to look like a superstar on a Sunday against the Dolphins.
Signs of Life
Another key takeaway from Sunday’s matchup was how much fire the team was able to play with in all facets of the game. Some were speculating that head coach Adam Gase had lost the locker room prior to this week’s game.
It seemed as though the Dolphins had nothing left to play for. They entered the game with a 4-7 record and had lost five in a row. The playoffs seemed out of reach. Fans had begun thinking about the benefits of tanking. After all, if the season had ended after Week 11 the Miami Dolphins would have owned the 8th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
This, of course, was all speculation headed into the game. However, the Dolphins proved everyone wrong. They did have life and they did want to be there. It was obvious that they had not given up on the season and that they had not given up on Gase.
For some fans, this was encouraging. For others, it was annoying. Many had begun to get excited about the thought of a top draft pick. With a win last Sunday, Miami got one step farther away from that becoming a reality.
Due to this, many were calling Miami’s victory a “pointless” one. However, one can argue that there are benefits to be had by earning a statement win like that. It certainly helps to lift the locker room. Just like that Miami is back in the thick of things, as the AFC playoff race is so messy that even a 5-7 Dolphins team isn’t completely out of it.
Kenyan Drake is going back-to-back
Running back Kenyan Drake was under a fair amount of pressure in Week 12. In the week prior, running backs Damien Williams and Senorise Perry had fallen to injuries. With that said, Drake was the only one left with any real experience able to suit up for Week 12.
It’s fair to say that all eyes were on Drake, as he was going to have to carry a huge load. Prior to the Week 12 matchup he had never carried the ball more than 15 times in one game.
He had fumbled in key moments twice in recent memory. Not only that, he was up against the league’s fifth-toughest defense in terms of yards allowed.
Despite all of this, Drake turned in a stellar performance. He toted the note 23 times for a total of 120 yards on the ground and ripped a spectacular 42-yard touchdown. He was even able to haul in three receptions for 21 yards.
Week 12 marked the second time in as many weeks that Drake was able to find the endzone. He protected the football and was able to run all over one of the league’s most feared defenses, led by superstar outside linebacker Von Miller.
What’s interesting is that Drake also turned in a great performance against the Carolina Panthers, who have the league’s sixth-ranked defense in terms of yards allowed. During that game Drake rushed seven times for 82 yards and one touchdown.
With all that said, Drake is proving himself to be the real deal. When the lights came on and all eyes were on him he definitely rose to the occasion. Look for him to continue to gain Gase’s favor going forward. Days where he gets more than 15 carries may be much more commonplace going forward.
- Isaih Battiste is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Dolphins. He covers the Miami Dolphins 365 days a year. Be sure to follow @FPC_Dolphins on Twitter and Full Press Dolphins on Facebook!