Five things worth noting after watching the Dolphins game versus the Jets.
The Miami Dolphins won their second game in a row against a winless New York Jets team and now find themselves sitting in 2nd place and at .500.
Dolphins fans rejoice! Your team has had convincing victories the past two weeks that didn’t require any sweating in the fourth quarter. After this latest victory, there are some things (good and bad) worth noting as you treasure this winning feeling.
1. The Dolphins played ‘complimentary football’.
As an analyst/fan I get tired of watching the Dolphins show up on one side of the ball but fail to perform on the other side. In week one the Dolphins held New England to 21 points on defense but could only manage 11 on offense. The next week their offense came alive and scored 28 but allowed 31 to the Bills. This week, the Dolphins outgained the Jets 220 yards to 77 in the first half (which could easily be considered 55 because the Jets gained 22 yards in the last 22 seconds of the half). But…..
2. The team basically stopped playing after halftime.
For the second week in a row, the Dolphins seemed to forget to come out for the second half. The Dolphins did have an 8-play, 53 yard field goal drive. Besides that? The other five drives in the second half totaled 25 yards; including four ‘3-and-outs’ and an interception. Some of this is due to execution but mostly Chan Gailey and Brian Flores have abandoned what worked in the first half and just bashed into the line. That will work against the hapless Jets but won’t cut it versus the likes of the Rams, Raiders, Chiefs, etc.
3. Welcome back Xavien Howard!
Howard got off to a slow start this season as he was still recovering from offseason knee surgery but, since the Jacksonville game, Howard has arguably been the best cornerback in football over the last month. Sunday was the fourth straight game that Howard has recorded an interception; setting a franchise record with four straight games in a single season with an INT. (Terrell Buckley did it over two seasons.)
Byron Jones is beginning to look more like the player he was in Dallas but still continues to be content batting down balls while Howard is getting the game/field-changing plays that scares opposing quarterbacks.
4. The Dolphins pass rush was on a rampage for the second week in a row.
If fans and analysts thought last week’s punishment of San Francisco QB Jimmy Garrapaulo was strictly due to his return from injury they might want to ask Jets QB Joe Flacco how he feels. The Dolphins defense was constantly sacking, hitting, and just straight out harassing Flacco from start to finish. While free-agent signee Shaq Lawson hasn’t yet lived up to his contract, it’s safe to say that Emmanuel Ogbah is outplaying his. With 5 sacks in his last five games, Ogbah is looking right at home in Brian Flores’ hybrid scheme. I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention second-year player Christian Wilkins who had a sack and also batted down two Flacco passes.
5. Let “Tua Mania” begin!
With 2:27 left in the game, Brian Flores gave Dolphins fans what they have been clamoring for since the season began. A week after being barraged with questions about not playing Tua in a blowout victory over San Francisco, the head coach must have decided that giving Tua “garbage time” reps at home was the right time to unleash his new QB. With a bye this week, expect a lot of fanfare and speculation about the possibility of Tua starting two weeks from now. Don’t count on it; especially with the 3-3 Dolphins having a chance at the postseason.