The Miami Dolphins finally appear to have a solid running back in Jay Ajayi. His popularity train is at an all-time high but should we all be buying tickets to ride it just yet?
Only four times in NFL history has a running back rushed for over 200 yards in back-to-back games. Earl Campbell did in 1980 and O.J. Simpson did it twice in his career. The 3rd person on the list is Ricky Williams who did while with the Dolphins.
It’s obviously a rare feat for any runner, especially for Ajayi who has not exactly had a booming season until two weeks ago.
The season started with Ajayi being benched. In fact he wasn’t just benched he was left home for the opening game. His attitude was his downfall and put him squarely in the Adam Gase doghouse. Ajayi didn’t like his demotion to 2nd string.
After that week one benching there was a lot of speculation that the Dolphins would try to trade the former 5th round draft pick or even possibly cut him. In other years that may have been the case but Arian Foster was injured and the Dolphins lacked the depth at the position.
Gase told reporters on Monday that Ajayi changed his approach and his attitude and it made a huge difference in his play. That may not entirely be true but it’s a nice try by Gase.
In his four games prior to his 200 yard breakout, Ajayi ran for 14, 28, 33, and 42 yards but more important were his carries. 5, 7, 6, and 13. In his last two games? 25 and 28 carries.
This is important because there are two factors to look at. One, Adam Gase finally decided to run a more balanced offense. Jay Ajayi’s sour carry totals threw his four games were because Gase wasn’t calling his number. He was pass happy. The other side of that however is on the offensive line.
Mike Pouncey’s return was important and in the last two weeks the Dolphins finally had the lineup they were hoping for to start the season. All of that combined, including Ajayi’s change in attitude has helped the Dolphins rushing production over two games.
The Dolphins will not play again for two weeks as they are on a bye. They will stay home to face the Jets. Regardless of why Ajayi has suddenly found his rhythm it’s now up to the Dolphins offense to continue pushing hard.
So is it time to jump on that train? Hard to say really because Dolphins fans know all too well that two games does not indicate a turnaround for the franchise and far more often than not fans are left wondering why the team slid back into their old routines.
For now, it might be better to reserve a ticket but holding off another couple of weeks before punching it might make you a little saner.