Miami Dolphins defense needs to make amends for loss to Bills against the Giants

Sep 24, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA;  Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (43)
Sep 24, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (43) / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins’ offense has been the talk of the league. No team has scored more points (150) and no club has totaled more yards. Mike McDaniel’s club leads the NFL in rushing and passing. The offensive unit has run for 10 scores and the passing game has produced an equal amount (10) of touchdowns. The numbers are certainly boosted by the Dolphins’ 70-point, 726-yard explosion vs. the Broncos in Week 3.

As for new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s unit, that has been a bit of a different story.

In the Week 1 victory over the Chargers at Los Angeles, Miami gave up a whopping 234 yards on the ground and 433 total yards overall. The Dolphins escaped with a 36-34 win.

The stagnant New England offense didn’t offer much in Week 2 and the Denver Broncos dug themselves quite the holes. Last Sunday, the Buffalo Bills rang up 414 total yards on 56 offensive plays, a disturbing 7.4 yards per play.

Bottom line

Four games into 2023 and the 3-1 Dolphins are tied for 26th in the league in yards per game allowed (374.5). Fangio’s unit is giving up 123.5 yards per game on the ground (22nd) and 251.0 yards through the air (25th). Entering Week 5, only four teams had allowed more points (119) this season. The defense has already given up 13 offensive touchdowns, six of those in the 48-20 setback at Orchard Park last week.

Right opponent at the right time?

So, what can be expected from Miami’s defense on Sunday at home against the struggling Giants? One of the big issues for Brian Daboll’s team has been pass protection. Entering Week 5, New York had allowed the second-most sacks (23) in the league. Quarterback Daniel Jones has been under constant duress and hasn’t responded positively. There have been two TD passes, six interceptions and another turnover on a lost fumble.

Another has been slow starts. The Giants have not come away with a first-half touchdown and have been outscored a combined 77-9 in the first 30 minutes of play. All told, Jones has seven of his team’s eight turnovers. Daboll’s squad is averaging an NFL-worst 11.5 points per contest.

New York’s defense is 25th vs. the run, which could mean big things for the league’s top-ranked running attack. Could Raheem Mostert and rookie De’Von Achane have big afternoons?

A week ago, the Dolphins spent the entire afternoon playing catchup and never had the lead at Buffalo. Pouncing early on a team that has had its first-half issues may be a great way to eliminate the taste of last week’s bitter loss quickly.