Week 3 of the 2023 season is upon us and the Dolphins are hosting the Broncos for Miami’s home opener. So far, Denver has yet to win a game under new Head Coach Sean Payton. In his career, Payton has posted a 3-1 record against Miami. His only loss came in 2021 against a Tua-led Dolphins squad.
Payton will have his work cut out for him as the Dolphins offense has been stellar to start the season. Miami ranks 1st in overall offense with 329.5 yards per game. More specifically, they place 1st in passing (108 yards per game), 16th in rushing (107.5 yards per game) and are tied for 3rd in scoring (30 points per game).
Not only does quarterback Tua Tagovailoa lead the league in quickest Time to Throw at 2.35 seconds, he also leads the league in Average Completed Air Yards (CAY) with 8.5 yards. Not only has this led way to a very potent passing offense but it’s provided the added benefit of keeping Tua healthier- by the time the defense can reach the quarterback the ball has been already thrown. This is perhaps why in two games, Tagovailoa has only suffered two sacks.
The opposite can be said for Denver’s Russell Wilson. In two games, Wilson has been sacked 9 times from 66 passing attempts. This averages out to a sack every 7th passing attempt. He ranks second to only Zach Wilson in longest Time to Throw at 3.22 seconds.
Earlier this week, Sean Payton had criticized his team’s inability to get organized on offense. The team would burn time outs just to get players organized. Payton called for a ‘reduced verbiage’ to speed things up offensively. This systemic issue has clearly trickled down to Russell Wilson who’s slower execution has led to longer throwing times.
Despite Miami ranking 24th in overall defense, this unit has been able to make game changing plays. They are tied for 8th in sacks (7 total) and are ranked 11th in pressure rate (36.4%). Essentially they are able to reach the quarterback a third of the time. Wilson’s inefficiency in the pocket will only benefit this opportunistic defense.
Ultimately the key to a Dolphins victory lies in the efficiency and inefficiency of both offenses. If Tua can continue to dish it out at the same pace they’ll likely score tons of points. On the opposite side, if Wilson continues to mess around and hold onto the ball, this Miami defense will make the necessary plays that will further extend the lead.