The Miami Dolphins played a football game on Sunday as week two of the NFL kicked-off but for the Dolphins it was really week one.
While many are clearly hung up on the bad portions of the game on Sunday and there were quite a few, some players stood out and had very solid games. Jay Ajayi ran for over 100 yards on the day, Jarvis Landry continued to dominate the catch totals, and Ndamukong Suh had another stellar game on the defensive line.
We expect those players to contribute at a high level but sometimes it’s the players we want to excel that step up and make a difference. Five players stood out that are not your typical headliners and their play on Sunday contributed in a big way.
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James may have had his best game as a pro. He lined up opposite Joey Bosa and kept Bosa in check the entire game. James looked like he finally got what being a right tackle was and his play on Sunday paved the way for a very good Jay Cutler effort and a better day for Jay Ajayi.
James has been dogged in the past for being inconsistent but on Sunday he was consistent throughout the entire day.
Allen didn’t play a lot of snaps on Sunday but that was because of the scheme that the Dolphins were running. When he was on the field, he actually made plays. Allen was quick to pursue and made tackles at the point of contact. He didn’t make any major mistakes and looked like the same Allen the Dolphins saw in pre-season. For an undrafted rookie finding out that he would be starting the morning of game day, he did well.
While Davis didn’t get the start on Sunday, Anthony Steen did, the two rotated throughout the game. Davis only saw 22 plays or 32% of the snaps while Steen saw 68% on 46 snaps. Yet when Davis was in the game there was no question why the Dolphins are high on him. He stood out and handled his assignments well.
For his part, Steen played very well too. It appears that the Dolphins are still allowing the two of them to compete but as long as the running game is producing the Dolphins will only get better at left tackle. A position that many had question marks about.
Parker was expected to play well especially with Jay Cutler at quarterback. All off-season we continued to hear about Parker having a breakout season. I wouldn’t call Parker’s performance on Sunday a breakout but we finally got a chance to see what he can do when he uses his body to take on defenders. Parker was target often but only caught four passes and did not score but overall his performance showed what is to come and his play was spot on when the team needed him to make a play.
Hayes was everything that was billed on Sunday. He was solid in run defense and put pressure consistently on the quarterback pocket. Including one sack. Statistically Hayes doesn’t appear to have had a great day but his ability to keep the outside edge and push plays back inside is what a run stopping defensive end is supposed to do and on Sunday he did very well. Hayes played the least amount of snaps of the DE’s. He played 25 to Charles Harris’ 27. Andre Branch put in the most with 43 of the 58 plays while Cam Wake logged 33 plays on the day.
Harris made the most of his opportunity.