Ladies and Gentlemen we are officially in the second half of the 2020 season.
After nine weeks of football the Miami Dolphins, yes those same Dolphins that picked up win number five during the season finale against the New England Patriots in head coach Brian Flores’ first year of coaching in 2019 have already matched that same win total in just eight games in 2020. The last time they had a 5-3 start was 2014 and the last time Miami had a four-game win streak before now was in 2016.
Their win in Arizona last Sunday was the first time since 1996 and came off the foot of Mr. Reliable, kicker Jason Sanders, with 3:35 remaining in a back and forth battle that finally saw the Dolphins earn key defensive stops and even a defensive touchdown.
For the first time in back-to-back games, Miami has scored a defensive TD…can its defense propel the team into the playoffs with its offense continuing to take hits weekly?
Just How Good is this Dolphins Defense Getting?
After nine weeks of football Miami’s defense is ranked 22nd in the NFL with an average of 384.2 against, 25th in rushing yards with an average of 131.8 yards against, and 21st with 252.5 average passing yards against per game. However, the defense overall is ranked fourth in points per game allowing just 20.1.
Last season, Miami was statistically last in nearly every category and was in the bottom third of the league in all, but in the offseason, went out and made moves in free agency to help correct some of its woes. The biggest splash it made is defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah who came over from the Super Bowl winning Kansas City Chiefs. Through the first few games, it didn’t look like Ogbah fit the scheme, but oh what a diamond in the rough Flores has found.
Who is Emmanuel Ogbah?
Ogbah, who is having a career year, is making a name for himself the last two games. He has produced a strip sack resulting in another member in the defense returning the loose ball for a TD against the Rams and Cardinals. Ogbah is also the first player since former DE Cameron Wake to produce a sack in five straight games. He already has seven sacks with the Dolphins through the team’s first eight games, a new career high for him in a single season, and we still have half a season to work. In his eight games for the Dolphins, Ogbah also already has 25 tackles (15 solo) tackles.
“I like to say all phases work together. When offense is down, the defense has got to pick them up. When the defense is down, the offense has got to pick them up,” Ogbah said. “We work hand-in-hand. Also special teams, too, has been big for us. I’m just grateful to have teammates that trust each other and just go out there and play for each other.”
Across the Board Records Are Being Broken
Ogbah isn’t the only Dolphin defender on a rampage for records. Across the board on offense, defense and special teams many Miami players are stepping up and writing their names in record books.
Sanders for example is now the franchise’s record leader in field goals made to start a season without a miss (20) and is still perfect on the season.
Secondary Doing Things Differently
The secondary as a whole are also showcasing newer formations, like cover-zero’s more often, or disguise blitz packages to get to opposing quarterbacks, something we didn’t see in 2019 when Miami was next to last in QB pressure in the league.
The Dolphins defense has been relatively healthy so far this season, and if they can remain that way, a wild card spot is already within grasp and the Buffalo Bills better feel a little warmth on that AFC East seat cushion.