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Ryan Tannehill had his best game of the season. He played a really clean game, completing 70.8% of his passes and attaching downfield for a 10 yards per attempt average. He also had 2 TDs, 0 INTs and 240 yards passing. Both TDs were beautiful downfield throws. One to Kenny Stills for a 39 yards TD on a playaction play where Tannehill was about to get killed. The other was a beautiful touch pass to Damien Williams for 18 yards. Tannehill also had a 56 yard bomb to Devante Parker late in the game to put the team in scoring position. In a game where the running game was not dominant, this is what we needed to see from Tannehill, especially in the 4th quarter.
Cameron Wake continues to be a beast off the edge, with two sacks of Phillip Rivers. There was a stat put up during the game that said Wake gets pressure on 20% of his pass rushes and that is near the top of the league. Considering how his snaps have been limited this season, that is remarkable and he is still playing fresh.
Kiko Alonso's pick 6 reminded me of the type of play Zach Thomas would make. Alonso was lined up in the A gap showing blitz. Right before the snap, he shifted towards the left side of the offense. Seems like Phillip Rivers didn't see him. Alonso jumped the slant route and took the interception 60 yards for a TD. It seems as if Alonso knew the play and was disguising his coverage. Maybe I am giving him too much credit and he just happened to be in the right place at the right time, but it sure felt like he knew the play.
Tony Lippett, who has been struggling at corner as a second year player, had a monster game with two perfectly timed interceptions. The first was after a muffed punt by Jakeem Grant was recovered by San Diego in prime scoring position. Lippett made a nice read and beautiful interception in the end zone, effectively getting the Dolphins out of a very dire situation. The second pick was late in the game when the Chargers were trying to mount a comeback. The interception sealed the win.
Kudos to Byron Maxwell for another interception. It was good to see that offseason trade for Alonso and Maxwell pay off so huge in this game.
Man, Jakeem Grant had a rough game. On paper, he had two fumbles, one that was recovered by the other team. But he also had a third fumble in the end zone on a kick off that was considered a touchback. Why on Earth was he still in the game after two fumbles?
Bacarri Rambo - I was paying attention to him since we just picked him up and he is a known name. He was out of position quite a bit it seems. The scouting report on him is that he makes plays, but he plays very undisciplined. Hopefully, it was just a case of being new to the system.
Look, we have come a long way on defense. We're getting stronger against the run and we did pick off four passes. But at other times, when we were in zone coverage, Chargers receivers were running wide open in the middle of the field. That's unacceptable. I think Vance Joseph has done a good job of turning the defense around, but there shouldn't be massive gaps in the middle of the field when we're in zone coverage. This may go back to my previous comments about Bacarri Rambo. It could be that he missed a couple of assignments. Without carefully studying the film, it is hard to tell.
All credit continues to go to Adam Gase. The young head coach is really starting to impress. After starting 1-4, the Dolphins are now 5-4. The 4 wins have come against competitive teams. Maybe not elite, but competitive. Teams that are still in the playoff hunt. And guess what! The Dolphins are in the playoff hunt after that terrible 1-4 and some embarassing losses early on. It seems that Gase getting rid of some underperforming players has really sparked this team. Or maybe it's something else. Who cares!
We have a rookie head coach who is beginning to earn credibility with the players and the fans. It has been a long time since we've had something like this. Let's enjoy it while it lasts!