For the second week in a row, the Miami Dolphins find themselves in the win column. At this point, who would’ve thought Miami would be sitting in playoff contention almost halfway through the season?
At 3-3, the Dolphins are one game behind the Buffalo Bills for the AFC East lead. Miami realizes this and is even making a quarterback change to Tua Tagovailoa. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we need to take a look at something the Dolphins did last weekend.
Dolphins Defense Finally Winning Games “They’re Supposed To”
In recent years, Miami has lost many games it should have won. But the Dolphins came out of the locker room fired up for the second week in a row and didn’t play around with the winless New York Jets. They made a statement early, scoring three first half touchdowns and earned their first shutout since 2014.
Miami’s hard work is paying off.
There were individual guys who had great games defensively. Sure, we can talk about the 10 tackles safety Eric Rowe had in the win. Or the play that defensive lineman Christian Wilkins had that saw a monstrous sack to go along with five total tackles and two batted down passes. Maybe defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah’s sack of 26 yards? But I think we need to talk about the defense as a whole.
Miami Forces New York to 2.8 Yards Per Play
The Jets got to hold the ball a total of eight times in the first half. During those eight times they got to run 32 plays. Those plays racked up only 93 yards and just five first downs. Miami’s defense went 8-for-8 when it came to getting off the field on third down. They were able to really limit New York to just 2.8 yards per play in the first half.
That same momentum got carried into the second half as Miami limited the Jets to 263 yards of total offense (115 rushing and 148 passing). The Dolphins made sure to extend that losing streak for them and move forward in competing for a spot in the playoffs this season.
Flores Commends Dolphins On Playing a Full 60 Minutes
“We got contributions from a lot of guys and they played for 60 minutes,” head coach Brian Flores said during the post-game press conference. “I’m proud of that effort and that’s the focus we need throughout the week.”
The defense made up for the two interceptions QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw on Sunday. It went out onto the field and handled its business and got the offense back onto the field for a full 60 minutes straight — something it hasn’t done in many seasons. Playing a complete game is something Flores has visited multiple times since taking over for the club. We may have witnessed a turn of the corner for the first time in his era.
Miami Secondary Still Going Up From Here
Getting Back-to-back wins, and back-to-back convincing wins at that, came as a result of the Dolphins’ strong defensive play. The players on the team however realize that they still have to work in order to be a contender.
“I would say we’re still a work in progress but we’re definitely heading in the right direction,” Fitzpatrick said during the post-game press conference. “I think we brought in the right kind of guys and I think everybody’s meshed really well. To get a couple in a row and sitting at 3-3 going into the bye is a good feeling, and I think we’re coming together as a team.”
The Dolphins are riding a different wave of momentum unseen by them for some time as they enter their bye week. After the bye week however, Miami will be at home on Nov. 1 to welcome the Los Angeles Rams and will look to move above the .500 mark with a win at home for the first time in two seasons.