The Miami Dolphins can finally say they are not a team to lose during this 2021 season.
It’s been a long road, but courtesy of Sunday’s 31-24 win over the New York Jets, for at least a week, the Dolphins are back at 7-7 on .500 in the year.
Another win and the Dolphins are legitimately in the mix for an AFC playoff berth in the final games of the regular season.
Here are some more facts from Sunday’s win over the Jets:
Dolphins .500 . come back to
It’s been a long two months since digging themselves out of a 1-7 hole that created a seven-game losing streak, but it appears the Dolphins are finally on the verge of winning the season lead. With Sunday’s win, the Dolphins have an opportunity to set a winning record and be included in the playoff mix if they can beat the Saints at Monday Night Football in New Orleans on December 27. — Omar Kelly
Tua Tagovailoa returns to business
The last time Tagovailoa threw a poor interception was in mid-November’s Miami win over the Jets, and it looks like Robert Saleh’s defense brings out the Dolphins’ worst in the Dolphins’ second-year quarterback. Tagovailoa’s first pass on the second possession of the game was thrown to the right of safety by Ashtin Davis, which allowed the Jets to begin the drive at the 25-yard line. The Jets converted that turnover to 3 points. And then in the fourth quarter, Tagovailoa threw a pick-six to Jets cornerback Brandon Echols, leveling the game 24-24.
dolphins jet on the ground
Miami recently committed to the run game, averaging 28 carries per game during the team’s six-game winning streak. Against the Jets on Sunday he saw the fruits of his labor as the Dolphins produced a season-high 183 rushing yards on 42 carries. Sunday’s performance was the fifth time the Dolphins have gained more than 100 rushing yards this season, and surpassed Miami’s previous high of 133 rushing yards, which was set in an overtime loss to the Raiders.
Christian Wilkins has epic TD celebration
It’s not often that a defensive lineman gets a chance to celebrate a touchdown, but Wilkins’ 1-yard touchdown catch gave Miami a 24-17 lead early in the fourth quarter, prompting an epic celebration. Not only that, the 6-foot-4, 310-pounder celebrated with fans by jumping into the end zone. But when he returned to the field he did the worm, and then concluded his celebration with a windmill break dance move.
Nick Needham works at Free Security
Needham, a third-year cornerback who has played several roles for the Dolphins since joining the team as a free agent, serves as a replacement for Jevon Holland in deep defense against the Jets. Filled in and helped Miami’s secondary recover from the loss of their leader. end of defense. It wasn’t the first time Needham had played safety this season, but he had never handled so many snaps in this position. Needham finished the game with five tackles.
Duke Johnson resumes his career
Johnson, a former Miami University standout who grew up in the Miami Gardens in the shadow of Hard Rock Stadium, received a call to the 53-man roster due to the COVID-19 outbreak flowing through the tailback unit. Even though Miles Gaskin and Salvone Ahmed were cleared to play, the Dolphins went with Johnson as featured back and produced the season’s best fast, scoring 107 yards on 22 carries and two Rushing scored a touchdown. Johnson also caught a pass for 20 yards.
Isaiah Ford compensates for Jaylen Waddell’s absence
Ford replaced Waddell as the Dolphins’ slot receiver and turned in one of his best NFL appearances, contributing 51 yards on three catches. Some of those welcomes were highlight-reel-worthy plays for Ford, a former seventh-round player who has repeatedly made his way from the practice squad and survived being bitten by the Dolphins multiple times.
Dolphins need to shop for returners
The emergence of Tommy Lewis as Miami’s comeback specialist in a week where Waddle and Holland, two players who have handled punt returns since Jackiem Grant was traded to Chicago in October, signify that Miami will have to play the off-season. Need to add returner to wish list. Neither Waddell or Holland have been effective in that role, and both rookies are also very valuable to offense and defense and run the risk of being injured on return.
Dolphins allowed 100 rushing yards
The Dolphins had become a skimpy run defense since Raekwon Davis returned from a knee injury that sidelined them for the first month of the season, but the Jets made their way against Miami’s defensive front on Sunday morning. The Jets finished the game with 102 rushing yards on 24 carries, and scored two rushing touchdowns. The Jets became the second team this season to join the Buffalo Bills twice in a 100-yard run against Miami.
Jerome Baker is turning into sacked artist
One of the least-utilized aspects of Jerome Baker’s game is his ability to blitz effectively, timing snaps properly and shooting gaps to opposing quarterbacks. Baker, who produced seven sacks last season, is able to explode more often now that Miami is using him more as an outside linebacker. On Sunday, he registered two sacks against the Jets.
Comeback keeps 10-win season likely – and playoff alive
The Dolphins got an amazing rally from both their defense and run games after a stellar first quarter on the back of a dominant offensive line performance and kept their playoff hopes very alive. According to Fivethirtyight.com, a 10-7 finish by Miami would give the Dolphins a 75% chance of making the playoffs. Damage to the jets would have resulted in actual elimination (0.6%). A loss in New Orleans would result in a loss, but at least if Miami finishes 9-8, there will be many more tiebreak scenarios with that flaw that will work for them. — Steve Swekiso
Meet Brian Flores, Mr. Holidays
If the Dolphins only played during the Thanksgiving and Christmas months, they might have already won a Super Bowl for Coach Flores. With the win over the Jets, the third-year coach went 8-3 in December, which comes on the heels of his 10-3 in November. Of course, he needs to figure out how to prepare his team for the warmer months, because for the rest of his coaching career, he’s crappy 4-18.
Dolphin run defense keeps humming along
The Dolphins extended their club-record streak of most consecutive games to nine with 102 or fewer rushing yards in a game, further extending the franchise’s previous best such streak of six, established in 1999. During that streak, Miami has won. An elite-level game of 87.1 yards. Entering Week 15, the Dolphins were ranked eighth in the NFL, allowing a game for 103.8 yards. That number was reduced to 103.7 with a 102-yard allowance to Gang Green.
Zach Sieler packs a lot of punch per snap
In his typical spot duty, Seeler smashed a touchdown pass, forced a fumble, logged a sack and hit an extra hit on Jets QB Zach Wilson. While the Jets felt they had something going against the defense in a loosely played first half, he was a necessary standout.
Emmanuel Ogba sees the sign of the bat again
After not getting a paw on a pass against the Giants, breaking a seven-game streak of getting at least one batting pass, Ogba beat Wilson in the second half on Sunday to set a career high for a season. rejected for. While with the Browns in 2018, Ogba led the league with eight.
Tua Tagovailoa needs to make a divisional statement
Outing on the Jekyll-Hyde Sunday, where Tagovailoa had a terrific four turnover-worthy plays (one interception, a fumble at RPO Meshpoint and two other imperfections that hit two of Jet Defenders’ hands), Miami plays one against teams Most of the times the run continued without motivation. In his seven careers, starting against teams from the AFC East, Tagovailoa has scored a passer rating of below 80 (75.5 against the Jets on Sunday) in six of them. The offense’s best-scoring output in those games has been 31 points on Sunday and 26 against the Bills in the 2020 season finale, but even that has been marred by an offense awarding a touchdown each on a pick-six. . Tua will also have a big opportunity in the playoff-mix Patriots in the season finale.
Opponents’ strength is about to freeze
The bottom line is, it’s hard to fully evaluate the quarterback position Miami has completed its schedule under Tagovailoa’s lead. The opponents he has faced, especially since his early 17–16 season victory in New England, have been largely atrocious.
For context, the team with the weakest opponent win% was the Tennessee Titans, at .427, who topped Week 15. Entering the 4 p.m. window in Week 15, opponents facing the Dolphins posted a putrid .370 win percentage with Tua taking the snap, hitting the 3-11 Jets twice and the 9-5 Patriots, 8-6 bills, consisting of 2. -12 Jaguars, 6-8 Falcons, 5-9 Panthers and 4-10 Giants, briefly half the game, played between their outings against the 8-6 Ravens and Bills at Hard Rock Stadium, in those 34 minutes against Baltimore the lion’s share . The below-median 94.3 passer rating is overwhelming against that schedule.
As it turns out, backup Jacobi Brissette played against the teeth of the schedule so far, with that rival win percentage (6-7 Raiders, 8-6 Colts, 10-4 Buccaneers, 3-11 Texans and his half of 8). – against 5) Baltimore) so far at .520. next? Three teams with a combined 25-17 record (.595) with two games on the road.
Lamar Jackson has never been the same since playing the Dolphins
Entering the November 11 contest at Hard Rock Stadium, Broward and the former Palm Beach County youth star MVP were in talks as he added a 96.2 passer rating to just 97 carries (6.19 yards per run) with a flimsy 600 rushing yards . He was being dismissed at the rate of three times the game. However, including Dolphins matchups – where Jackson was held in 238 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception, and was dismissed four times in a 22–10 Miami win – Jackson has received a 65.8 passer rating, 3.5 times from a game. Was dismissed, walked only 167 yards on 36 tots (4.64 yrs). Also, he has missed games against Bears and Packers. The NFL season is a long road.
Dolphins actually broke the losing streak on Sunday
Miami broke a four-game skid while wearing his aqua jersey and aqua pants as an ensemble. The Dolphins went all-aqua for the first time in 2002, a 27–9 Monday Night Football win over the Chicago Bears. After a 22-9 win over the Bills in a Thursday night game in 2014, Miami was 3-1 in the combo. Since then, however, Miami has gone 0-4. So, Sunday’s win saw the Dolphins improve to 4-5, following suit in the All-Aqua.
On Deck: New Orleans Saints, Monday, December 27, 8:20 p.m., Mercedes Superdome
The Saints would be coming out of a game without their head coach Sean Payton, who was sidelined by a positive COVID test. The Dolphins haven’t beaten the Saints in 16 years, when Nick Saban took his squad to his old stomping ground and lost 21-6 at LSU due to Hurricane Katrina. Miami once won the Superdome 35 years ago, when Dan Marino, with his running back and tight ends, struck a 31-27 victory with 161 yards and three touchdowns.