Dolphins offensive balance has been team’s greatest strength this season

2023 has been night and day for Mike McDaniel and his offense. The Miami Dolphins are one of the most balanced teams in the NFL.
Oct 1, 2023; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel looks on from the
Oct 1, 2023; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel looks on from the / Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Mike McDaniel’s Miami Dolphins have been the most explosive team in the league to date. After six weeks of play, the current AFC East frontrunners are averaging a league-best 37.2 points per game. The club leads the NFL in total offense (498.7 average) and is ranked first in both rushing (181.8) and passing (316.8) yards per contest.

Keep in mind that those numbers are certainly elevated by the team’s 726-yard performance in a 70-20 blowout of the Denver Broncos in Week 3. Then again, subtract that total for a moment and McDaniel’s offense averaged an impressive 453.2 yards per game in their other five contests.

What really stands out about the Dolphins’ attack this season, a unit that has produced 30 offensive touchdowns, is the balance. Miami has run 374 offensive plays, 168 running, and 206 passing. Those 30 offensive TDs are equally divided on the ground (15) and through the air (15). The offensive line has been more than capable, paving the way for a solid running game while allowing only six sacks in as many games.

The Dolphins’ depth at the skill positions was never more evident than last Sunday at home. With rookie sensation and team rushing leader De’Von Achane on injured reserve, veteran Raheem Mostert ran 17 times for 155 yards and two scores in the 42-21 win over the Carolina Panthers. Miami trailed 14-0 after one quarter but still finished the game with 424 total yards on 65 offensive plays. McDaniel’s offense finished the afternoon with 33 running plays and 32 passing plays.

This Sunday night in Philadelphia, the Dolphins face a very stiff test in the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles. The NFC East leaders have the league’s ninth-ranked defensive unit and only the Detroit Lions are giving up fewer yards per game on the ground (65.8).

This shapes up as an intriguing chess match in the City of Brotherly Love. Miami and Philadelphia rank 1-2, respectively, in total yards per game in the NFL. The Birds haven’t been super sharp to date but still own the same record as the Dolphins (5-1). Ironically, Nick Sirianni’s team has also scored just as many TDs on the ground (7) as through the air (7).

Let the battle begin. For Mostert, Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill, and the balanced Miami offense, that means keeping the Eagles’ defense off-balance.