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2015 Free Agency
Reshad Jones, Koa Misi, Jelani Jenkins - these three combined for 40 tackles, including 6 tackles for a loss. Reshad Jones had a good day in coverage, eventually picking off Geno Smith's last pass to seal the game. Jenkins and Misi also did a good job when called upon to blitz. These three players really stepped it up in the second half to shake the cobwebs on defense. Misi got a big sack on a blitz of Geno Smith and Jenkins had great coverage and deflected the pass that Jones eventually picked off. Most importantly, when the Dolphins FINALLY put Reshad Jones in the box, he destroyed several Jets running plays. He was the difference against the run today.
Lamar Miller - Underutilized all season long, Miller helped spark the comeback in the 2nd half with his quick, decisive running and the lone touchdown for the Dolphins.
Dion Sims - 4 catches on 4 targets for 58 yards, Sims has helped alleviate the absence of Charles Clay and is starting to develop into a nice pass catching tight end. He is also a terrific blocker, who helped keep Tannehill upright in pass protection, specifically on one play action pass where Sims ran from the left side of the line all the way to the right to block Calvin Pace, allowing Tannehill to hit Wallace for a 25 yard strike.
Jarvis Landry - He continues developing into a safety blanket for Tannehill. The rookie leads the team in receiving and caught 8 of his 11 targets.
Run Defense - The Broncos laid out the template and the Jets upgraded it, rushing for 277 yards by running right at the middle of the Dolphins defense. The past couple of weeks, teams have been pushing Randy Starks around. Once again, he was the lowest rated Dolphins defender according to PFF. He was also the lowest rated run defender. Starks had been having a solid season, but has really fallen off the last two weeks. Earl Mitchell didn't help the Dolphins cause, coming in rated as the 2nd worst defender and 2nd worst against the run. There is an issue here that is being exposed and the Dolphins need to fix it quickly.
Kevin Coyle - Again he runs a perplexing defensive scheme for most of the game. Here you are, facing one of the best running games in the league and one of the worst quarterbacks and receiving units in the league and the Dolphins come out with two deep safeties. I understand that you have a nobody starting at cornerback in R.J. Stanford, but you have Brent Grimes on the other side. Stack the box, cheat over to Standford's side and make Geno Smith beat you. It wasn't until the second half that Coyle adjusted and went to 8 men in the box by bringing up Reshad Jones. Is this guy so inept that he can't figure this out until the second half? Or maybe someone else had to figure it out for him? You have all week to analyze your opponent, there is nothing surprising about the Jets. You make Geno Smith beat you. This isn't rocket science.
Ryan Tannehill - 5 straight games completing over 70% of his passes, but that doesn't tell the whole story. This was Tannehill's worst game of the season. He should have had at least two more interceptions, but he was also one of the reasons the Dolphins came back to win it. In a way, it is actually encouraging that Tannehill can play an ugly game but still overcome struggles to win it. Some old habits crept back up as Tannehill started locking into his receivers and had shaky pocket presence. This is just evidence that pressure brings the worst out of quarterbacks. He did come out playing better and attacking downfield more in the second half.
Mike Wallace - Statistically, he had an OK game, but Mike Wallace has been clamoring for more big plays and when Tannehill finally hits him deep in stride, Wallace tries to one hand it and drops a sure touchdown. Talk the talk, Mike Wallace.
Offensive Line - I do admire this unit. They have been hit with significant injuries but they keep plugging along. Jawuan James had a good game, allowing no sacks or pressures, but in the first half, Tannehill was getting hit early and often. Things started looking bleak when Samson Satele went down, but Mike Pouncey slid right over to center and didn't miss a beat. The depth of this unit has been tested severely and while they haven't been terrific, they've been good enough to win.
This should be expected of a division rivalry game. The important thing is that the Dolphins won and are back in the driver's seat to make the playoffs. Tannehill didn't have his best game but the Dolphins were still able to win it. That's a great sign. Conversely, the run defense is a huge concern. You can be sure that Baltimore will be giving the Dolphins a heavy dose of Justin Forsett until the Dolphins prove they can stop the power running game. And with a real quarterback in Joe Flacco, and real wide receivers in Steve Smith and Torrey Smith, the Dolphins are not going to be able to just stack the box against the Ravens. Randy Starks and Earl Mitchell have to begin winning their match ups again. In fact, I'll go as far as saying those two players will decide the game for the Dolphins.
Get it together guys!
The 6-5 Miami Dolphins, coming off a tough 39-36 lost at Denver to the Broncos, travel to New Jersey to take on the 2-9 New York Jets, coming off a 38-3 lost on Sunday to Buffalo in Detroit. The game is a Monday Night primetime slot starting at 8:30, and it is a big game for Miami in hopes of keeping their playoff hopes alive. To put it bluntly, this is a game the Dolphins cannot afford to have slip away if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Let's take a look at the teams to see how they matchup.
Offensively, Miami comes into the game generating 345.2 yards per game, 220 yards coming via the pass game and 124.5 yards per game via the rush, which ranks 10th in the NFL. The Dolphins are scoring 25.9 points per game, which ranks 9th. They face a Jets defense that is giving up 324.8 yards per game, which ranks 7th in the NFL. 238.6 yards via the passing game, 86.2 yards via the run game, which ranks 4th in the NFL. The Jets are giving up 27.5 points per game, which ranks 30th in the NFL.
QB Ryan Tannehill, coming off a very solid game against the Broncos, is completing 66.1% of his passes for 2,582 yards, 20 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions He has also rushed for 276 yards. RB Lamar Miller leads the run attack with 673 yards and 5 touchdowns and a 4.9 yard per carry average. Rookie WR Jarvis Landry leads a bevy of WR with 49 catches for 450 yards and 5 touchdowns. Miami has 4 other receivers with 25 or more catches, which points to the spreading of the ball around. The OL suffered another injury during the Broncos game to OLT Ju'Waun James, although odds look good of him being back for Monday Night. Even with the injuries that the OL has suffered during the season, this group has been a very pleasant surprise and are a big part of the improvement in QB Ryan Tannehill play. They face a talented Jets defense led by leading tackler, ILB Demario Davis along with DL Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson. The secondary has struggled, and this is an area Miami will look to attack.
I have always preached balance and will continue to preach balance, as it helps keep this offense on schedule. But the Dolphins will also look to attack a very shaky Jets secondary and I think the Dolphins can have success against a good unit.
Defensively, the Dolphins are coming off what has to be their most disappointing performance of the 2014 year. They allowed 201 yards rushing, 167 to CJ Anderson. Peyton Manning passed for 249 yards and was only sacked once and was rarely pressured. Miami is giving up 315.9 yards per game, which ranks 9th in the NFL. They are giving up 211.7 yards via the pass and 104.2 yards via the rush, which ranks 4th and 11th respectively. Miami is giving up 19.9 points a game, which ranks 9th. They face an anemic New York Jets offense that is generating 310.2 yards per game, which ranks 29th in the NFL. The Jets generate 173.7 yards per game passing, 136.5 yards per game rushing, which ranks 32nd and 5th respectively. The Jets are scoring 16.1 points per game, which ranks 30th in the NFL.
LB Jelani Jenkins is the leading tackler and Cameron Wake is leading the team with 8.5 sacks, although he was pretty much invisible last week. CB Brent Grimes leads the secondary with 5 interceptions. QB Geno Smith the the starting QB again after Mike Vick got hurt in the Buffalo lost. To say Smith has struggled is being kind. He is only completing 57.6% of his passes and has thrown 7 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. RB's Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson lead a two pronged attack with 579 and 400 yard respectively. Eric Decker is the leading receiver with 47 catches for 513 yards and 4 touchdowns. TE Jace Amaro has 34 catches for 291 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The game plan here is quite simple. Stop the RUN, PERIOD. Contain the run game and force QB Geno Smith to throw the ball and the Dolphins will dominate this team. It is really that simple with this Jets team. The Dolphins defense is coming off a horrible game, so I would expect this group to bounce back with a big performance against a struggling Jets offense.
Dolphins need this game to keep their playoff hopes alive. It's that simple.
Let's Go Miami.