After a 3 game home stretch Miami is back on the road. They face the San Diego Chargers. Miami has won 3 straight and are 2nd in the AFC East. Here’s what must happen if they want to continue their run.
1. Run the Ball
It’s simple. Hand the ball off to Jay Ajayi and let the Dolphins’ offensive line do the rest. By running the ball the Dolphins will control the clock and they will limit Melvin Gordons’ snaps who happens to be the best running back in the NFL right now.
2. Get After Rivers
The Dolphins’ defensive line is facing the NFL’s 6th worst offensive line. Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake lead a dominant attack last week against the NY Jets while Ryan Fitzpatrick spent most of the game on the turf. Fitzpatrick was manhandled. The Dolphins must take advantage of the Chargers’ week offensive line. Phillip Rivers continues to have a dominant season alongside RB Melvin Gordon. They must put pressure on Rivers and not allow Gordon to get hot.
3. Kick the FG
It is not easy to win in the NFL today period! And it’s even harder on the road. If the Dolphins are in FG range and it happens to be 4th and inches the Dolphins must kick the FG. When you’re on the road you take all the points you can get. Coach Gase made that mistake in Seattle the first game of the season against Seattle. Instead of kicking a FG they went for it on 4th down. They lost by 2 points.
Today is another big test for the Dolphins. They’re on the road and their run defense that has struggled at times will be tested against the NFL’s best runner Melvin Gordon. Their secondary will be tested as well as they face Phillip Rivers who has a QB rating of 96.2.
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.
Ndamukong Suh not only can throw around QB’s like rag dolls but he’s got some dance moves as well. #suhswag
Thanks to Alexander at Phinzology for the original video clip. Check out his site:
Jordan Phillips intercepts a pass from Jets’ Ryan Fitzpatrick and adds a little somethin’ as the Dolphins defeat the Jets.
The Miami Dolphins are on a roll. They’ve won the past 2 games and Jay Ajayi has found his niche in Miami as he rushed for 2 back-to-back 200 yard games. They have found their starting running back. The unicorns have been out in full force protecting Ryan Tannehill giving up only 1 sack in the past two contests. The defense is starting to find an aggressive identity lead by Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake making up for the loss of Pro Bowl safety Reshad Jones. Things look like they are starting to come together. Or will the Dolphins pull the carpet out from underneath its fan base like usual and say, “Gotcha!”?
Another division rival is coming to town and it’s the New York Jets. The Jets aren’t looking too hot. With the less than impressive play of starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick he was benched and Geno Smith was given another shot. Unfortunately, it ended early with an injury and Fitzpatrick was inserted back into the starting lineup. The only aspect of the Jets’ game that seems to be going their way is their rush defense. They are first in the NFL in fewest rushing yards allowed. It’s clear that Miami’s offense flows through the running game, but when the run game isn’t working the offense turns stale quickly.
1. Adam Gase
Coach Gase is blossoming before our very eyes. He left our arguably best running back Jay Ajayi at home when the team traveled to Seattle to begin the season due to behavior issues. If that doesn’t turn heads I don’t know what will. He’s more patient with the running game than before and it has paid off with Jay Ajayi’s spectacular two week performance. After half time two weeks ago Miami was trailing Buffalo. But, Gase made adjustments and Miami came away with a victory. Gase continues to learn on the job.
Now that Miami is playing the league’s toughest run defense what if they’re able to take away Miami’s secret weapon? We all know that the Jets’ defense is going to do everything in their power to stop Jay Ajayi. Gase must have an alternative game plan in order to beat the Jets. The emergence of Jay Ajayi has already happened. Now it’s time for Devante Parker to awaken. Miami is going to have to beat them though the air. But how?
2. Ryan Tannehill
Tannehill has been a solid quarterback for Miami the past 2 games. Only one interception has been thrown and he’s only been sacked once. This has given Ryan Tannehill more time to throw the ball (kudos to the “Unicorns”). Although, his numbers aren’t impressive (Avg. 228 yards the past 2 games) he’s making smarter decisions with the ball. In practice this week the coaching staff encouraged Tannehill to use his legs and athleticism more. Tannehill is one of the best QB’s when it comes to throwing on the run. If Miami is going to keep the Jets’ defense off balance we must see more play action, more running from Ryan Tannehill, and Parker needs to show up. The Jets will do everything in their power to make Tannehill be the one to beat them.
3. Don’t Get Marshed !
Brandon Marshall has been a nightmare for the Miami Dolphins for quite some time. Marshall is not an easy WR to contain due to his height, size, and physicality. It also doesn’t help that he seems to have a chip on his shoulder against Miami ever since he was let go by the Dolphins. You can bet that CB Byron Maxwell who has been inconsistent will have a bull’s eye on him all game. Maxwell will not be able to contain Marshall by himself. He will need lots of help from Miami’s safeties.
This is another important game for the Dolphins. They are 1 win away from tying the Bills for second in the division and being a .500 ball club. Look for the Jets to come after Miami’s rushing attack early. Ryan Tannehill must step up and get more involved in the offense. He must use his legs more when passing. Having to contain both Ajayi and Tannehill mixed with some play action passes Miami can win this game. Let’s see what Adam Gase has planned.
Even though this has been said about 100 times over the past week I felt the need to reiterate this once more. Both Ricky Williams and Jay Ajayi are only 2 out of 4 RBs to run for over 200 yards in back to back games in NFL history. Oh….and they’re both Dolphins. Must be the dreads.
RB’s w/ B2B 200 Yd. Games
2016,Jay Ajayi, (Miami Dolphins)
2002,Ricky Williams, (Miami Dolphins)
1980,Earl Cambell, (Houston Oilers)
1976 & 1973,OJ Simpson, (Buffalo Bills)