It wasn’t pretty. However, a win the NFL isn’t easy to pull off. The Miami Dolphins are now 4-4 and 2nd in the AFC East.
Miami knew going into Sunday’s contest against the NY Jets that they would be hounded by the Jets’ first ranked run defense. We had just started to learn that the team’s offense flows through the run game, but the Jets were going to counter Miami’s rushing attack lead by Jay Ajayi. It was clear that the Dolphins would have to beat them through the air. How were the Dolphins going to respond?
The biggest advantage of playing the Jets is that Ryan Fitzpatrick is their QB. You do not need a 5 star defense to beat them. Eventually, he will make a mistake. The defense just needs to be patient and capitalize which is exactly what Miami did. The Dolphins defense had a season high of 2 interceptions. One of the highlights of the game was when Miami’s 300+ lb lineman Jordan Phillips intercepted Fitzpatrick and hurdled his way to the red zone. Bobby McCain iced the game when he caught Fitzpatrick’s bullet to the end zone.
The Jets’ offensive line is also depleted which opened up the gates for Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh. The defensive line had a field day with Fitzpatrick. He was under pressure all game long. Cameron Wake tallied 2 sacks and Ndamukong Suh had 1. Towards the end of the 3rd quarter Fitzpatrick had to take a breather because of the beating he was taking from Miami’s defense. Fitzpatrick joins a long list of other QB’s this year that have felt the sting of Miami’s defense.
Jay Ajayi continued his dominant reign as he ended the game with 24 carries, 111 yards, and 1 rushing TD. And it was done against the league’s top rushing defense. Ajayi is averaging 6.9 yards per carry. If the NFL’s leading rush defense can’t stop Ajayi who will? Let’s not forget the “Unicorns” were out in full force once again. Miami is now 3-0 this year with Albert, James, and Pouncey in the lineup.
Ryan Tannehill looked solid once again and threw zero interceptions. Tannehill did not have much to work with on the receiving end. Kenny Stills or Devante Parker had to step up during this game. Unfortunately, Stills did not return to the game due to illness and once again Devante Parker was silent. Luckily the journey man TE Dominique Jones who was just activated on October 3rd stepped up. It seemed like whenever Miami needed a conversion Jones was right there as a safety net for Tannehill. The tight-end position has been non-existent in Miami for quite some time, but Jones made the most out of his debut.
When the Jets took the lead with 5:24 left in the game it looked as though Ryan Tannehill would have to lead Miami to a game winning drive. But, Kenyan Drake ran back a 96 yard kick off and Miami never looked back.
Despite the countless penalties, a fumble by Matt Darr late in the game, and the loss of Stills Miami once again found a way to win. This is what good teams do. In the NFL game plans change by the week. It is up to the coaching staff and players to adjust. The Dolphins have taken advantage of home field during this 3 game stretch. Most importantly they have molded themselves an identity which is something that was absent at the beginning of the season. The identity is ground and pound and play smash mouth football.