Throw the previous week nine matchup against the New York Jets out of the window. Now 8-5 the Miami Dolphins are on the verge of their first playoff birth since the 2008 season with a new quarterback at the helm.
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All eyes will be on how the offense ticks after losing quarterback Ryan Tannehill to an ACL/MCL sprain. Tannehill, as we all know by now, was injured late in the 3rd quarter when Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Calais Campbell fell into his knee.
Many feared the worse for Tannehill: torn ACL. The look on the former Texas A&M Aggies face once returning to the field in the fourth quarter wasn’t encouraging. Although no knee injury is good news it looks positive moving forward.
Next man up is Matt Moore. A quarterback that hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass since the 2012 season. Coincidentally, that touchdown came against the Jets.
Moore’s last win as a quarterback? You guessed it. The Jets. Moore came in for an injured Tannehill and was did just enough passing for 131 yards on 11 completions. His touchdown pass went to tight end Anthony Fasano.
That was over four years ago. Moore has thrown eight passes in the regular season since then.
It’ll be up to head coach Adam Gase and how much he trusts Moore in his offense as the regular season comes to an end.
The matchup bodes well for Moore and the rest of the Dolphins offense this weekend. The Jets have struggled mightily on the defensive side of the ball this season allowing four yards per carry and 7.6 yards per pass. They rank 31st, 28th and 25th in turnover ratio, points and yards differential, respectively.
Ajayi found success against the Jets defense in week nine. He carried the ball 24 times for 111 yards and one touchdown. The receivers, however, were less than spectacular. Tannehill’s most reliable target on the day was none other than tight end Domonique Jones. Jones had three catches for 42 yards against New York; in the games since then Jones has one catch for seven yards.
Landry, Stills, and Parker will be forced to step up. Although Miami came away with the victory six weeks ago it won’t be good enough this week. Remember, it was Kenyan Drake’s kickoff return late in the 4th quarter that ultimately won the game for Miami.
Miami will need Moore’s supporting cast to stay in the 2016 playoff race because without it they could be on the outside looking in.