Dolphins Defeat Giants

On Sunday the Miami Dolphins were the Goliaths compared to the New York football Giants, who contrary to their name, were playing the role of David in the matchup. Miami returned to their winning ways in just their 2nd home game of the season and it was a much needed return to the win column for the marine mammals who are now back on top of the AFC East at 4-1 thanks to a loss by the Buffalo Bills at the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars that was secured right before the Dolphins’ Jason Sanders kicked off at 1 PM ET. The Dolphins offense returned to its dominant self after an off week against the Bills and the Dolphins defense acquitted itself in a much better manner than it did a week prior albeit to a team of lesser stature, but this is the NFL and a win is a win. We will take the W.

The Miami offense got the party started early after the Dolphins won the opening coin toss and deferred possession to the 2nd half. The Dolphins defense got the obligatory stop and the Dolphins offense proceeded to play good complimentary football and drive the length of the field punctuating their first red zone visit of the day with a Tua to Waddle touchdown. Jaylen Waddle finally caught his first touchdown pass of the season to open up Miami’s scoring account for the day. This game was a bit of an odd one because it felt like Miami was in control for the entire game. However, there were moments where Tua made uncharacteristic mistakes that kept the Giants in the game. A lot of those mistakes were made in moments where Tua was trying to force the ball into Jaylen Waddle when the play was not there. It felt like Tua made a conscious decision before the game that he was going to get Waddle going as the Penguin has not gotten off to a great start statistically this season. I can certainly understand the need for Miami to get Waddle involved more as this will certainly allow the offense to operate more efficiently. However, I also believe that this needs to happen within the flow of the offense to minimize mistakes.

This Dolphin offense is certainly historic and has the most yards after 5 games in the history of the NFL with 2568 yards. Tua also has the most passing yards through 5 games of any quarterback in the history of a franchise with 1,614 yards. Tua is on pace to break Marino’s team record of 5,084 and the NFL record of 5,477 yards in a season set by Peyton Manning in 2013, but turnovers are the great equalizer and turning the ball over against a better opponent could cause lots of trouble ahead. The Dolphins definitely need to clean that up moving forward. Tua needs to throw less interceptions (especially the pick six kind) and the running backs (Mostert and Achane) need to protect the ball better when they are running on the edges. This offense has been brilliant but the guys have been putting the ball up for grabs and on the ground at an alarming rate the last two games. This could be a concern if the trend continues.

De’Von Achane is a revelation. He is one of the fastest running backs this league has ever seen. I watch him turn the corner on swing tosses where the Dolphins don’t even bother blocking the rush edge and his pace alone eliminates those defenders as he hits corners with the ease of a graceful gazelle but with the bad intentions of a getaway driver hittin’ them corners after a bank robbery. The diminutive rookie sets his blocks up well and hits the holes with precision. Achane is not a workhorse back, but he is a homerun hitter of the highest order. Any touch of the ball is a potential house call. McDaniel wanted Achane on this team so badly during the draft that he was lobbying Grier to take Achane as our 2nd draft pick at number 51 overall. Grier did not agree and took Cam Smith instead. Thankfully, McDaniel did not drop the fight and turned up the pressure to take Achane who luckily was still available in the 3rd round when our pick was up at number 84 overall. To think, we could have been talking about not getting Achane because we took Cam Smith in a similar way that Dolfans recall Grier taking Noah Igbinoghene instead of Jonathan Taylor in the 2020 pandemic draft. McDaniel would not allow the team to make the same mistake twice and now we are seeing McDaniel flex his run game coordinator muscles to the tune of 185.8 yards rushing per game which is 1st in the league.

The Dolphins passing game is not too shabby as well with 327.8 yards per game, which is also tops in the NFL. When it is a blowout game like both home games have been this season, I am uncomfortable with handing Achane the ball off a bunch of times in the row with the defensive line teeing off on him. Yes it was great to watch the Dolphins physically impose their will on the Giants defense on their final touchdown drive of the day, however, we can’t forget that Achane is only 5’9” 187 lbs. He is not built to carry the ball like a battering ram. Achane is a high end Lamorghini that we need to pull out when it’s time to go F1 racing. I believe the Dolphins need to bring out the Ford tough truck when we need to keep running the ball to eat up clock in a blowout game. That Ford truck could be Jeff Wilson when he returns fully healthy or the other rookie running back Chris Brooks.

Tyreek Hill had another big game with 8 catches for 181 yards and a touchdown. It felt good for the Cheetah to catch that 69 yard bomb to start the 2nd half after he got caught from behind on what looked like a sure touchdown in the first half after a long catch and run. I have never seen Tyreek Hill get caught from behind on a play like that. Every other time I can remember Hill in a situation like that, his two fingers were going up to make the peace sign as the defenders chased his shadow and still got left in the dust. However, running that fast does eat up a lot of energy and considering how many yards Cheetah actually traveled coming across the full width of the field from the nearside boundary in motion all the way to the other sideline while negotiating traffic and then trying to pull away after making the catch, it makes sense that he simply ran out of gas. That is what allowed him to be caught. Tyreek was on fumes after that play and we did not see him return to the field the rest of the first half. However, after eating a senzu bean at halftime, Hill came out to start the 3rd quarter absolutely bombing away. Tyreek Hill now has 651 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns in 5 games which puts him on pace for 2,213 yards and 17 touchdowns. Cheetah is simply prolific in this offense. There is no doubt about it. After being pushed by Achane’s top speed numbers, Tyreek has reclaimed the number one top speed mark in the NFL, breaking the 22 miles per hour threshold in Sunday’s game against the Giants.

The Dolphins defense made some good strides in this game. After being summarily thumped by the Bills and giving up historically bad numbers in the first four games, the Miami defense only allowed the Giants to gain 185 yards passing and 85 yards passing on the day. These are impressive numbers in the NFL no matter who you are playing against, especially when you consider that the defense achieved this in spite of the fact that the Dolphins offense was scoring on quick drives fueled by big plays. Which means that the Dolphins defense did not have a long time to catch their breath after making stops. The Giants ran almost 70 plays as a result and had an 11 minute advantage in time of possession,  but the Miami defense did a great job of stopping the run with their front four and blitzing to stop the run when it needed to. The Dolphins blitzed more often in general than they had in the previous four games, and allowed Wilkins and Seiler to twist, stunt, and attack instead of just eating up blocks and playing gap sound. You could tell that they were playing more and thinking less. This attacking mindset paid off huge dividends as it caused havoc and created lots of negative plays for the Giants. Negative plays kill drives more often than not.

Andrew Van Ginkel had another big game and the Dolphins pass rush succeeded in their timely blitzing. Seven sacks is a lot, I am not going to say that I am expecting seven sacks every game, but this is the amount of pressure and havoc that needs to be created to maximize this defense’s potential. I am aware that blitzing is more of a feast or famine strategy and we can get burned at times while bringing pressure. There were times today where Daniel Jones beat the blitz with a throw in behind it. However, I am willing to live with that if the sacks and tackles for loss that are generated in other plays can blow up enough drives to allow our offense to win the game for us. The Dolphins have a very dominant offense capable of scoring on anyone, the defense just needs to be solid and this team will have a chance to win a lot of games. What the Dolphins did Sunday against the Giants is the recipe of complimentary football that needs to be employed moving forward minus the turnovers. Next up, the Carolina Panthers in another home matchup at Hard Rock Stadium. Fins up!

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