20 issues we discovered in Miami Dolphins' 20

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Within the span of the previous two months the Miami Dolphins have reworked from one of many NFL’s worst groups to one in all its hottest.

Miami’s 20-9 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday wasn’t fairly, however the end result prolonged the Dolphins’ successful streak to 5 video games.

Listed below are some extra takeaways from Sunday:

Dolphins again in playoff image

You possibly can argue it’s the caliber of opponents or expertise stage of the opposing quarterbacks the Dolphins have confronted the previous 5 weeks, however don’t undermine the truth that Miami has performed complementary soccer for the previous month. That’s the primary motive Miami has received 5 straight video games. Regardless of the way you slice it, Brian Flores took a crew that had a seven-game shedding streak and has them again within the playoff hunt at 6-7 heading into this week’s bye. — Omar Kelly

Tua Tagovailoa continues to be environment friendly

Tagovailoa wasn’t sharp, however he was ok to ship a victory Sunday. Tagovailoa accomplished 30-of-41 passes for 244 yards and threw two touchdowns. He completed the sport with a 104.1 passer ranking, making this the fourth consecutive sport he’s had a 100-plus passer ranking, and the fifth time within the 9 video games he’s performed.

Dolphins return sport struggling

Miami had a powerful particular groups unit the primary two seasons below Flores, however the unit seems to be watered down this season for varied causes. Since buying and selling Jakeem Grant to Chicago for a 2022 sixth-round decide two months in the past, Miami’s return sport has been nonexistent, irrespective of who’s again there — Jaylen Waddle or Jevon Holland — to deal with kickoffs and punts. A part of the problem may very well be the crew’s blocking, which has been subpar.

DeVante Parker had an impactful return

Parker missed a month’s value of video games due to a hamstring harm, however returned to the offense in opposition to the Giants and was one in all Tagovailoa’s go-to-targets to maneuver the chains. Parker, who was taken off injured reserve on Saturday, completed the sport with 5 receptions for 62 yards.

Jaylen Waddle units new Dolphins rookie receptions document

Waddle’s 9 receptions for 90 yards allowed him to surpass Jarvis Landry’s document for receptions by a rookie in a season. There was a scary second when he left the sport with an harm, nevertheless it turned out to be cramps and Waddle, who has 86 catches this yr, returned for the ultimate offensive drive. Which means Anquan Boldin’s NFL document of 101 receptions for a season is inside attain for Waddle.

Dolphins’ protection stored Saquon Barkley in examine

Barkley hasn’t precisely been tearing the NFL up this season, and was enjoying in his third sport again since struggling a severe ankle harm. However the Dolphins protection ought to be praised for limiting him to 55 yards on 11 carries. The Giants completed the sport with 91 speeding yards and have become the seventh opponent the Dolphins have held to fewer than 100 speeding yards.

Jaelan Phillips units Dolphins rookie document

Phillips, the Dolphins’ second of two first-round picks in 2021, recorded two sacks within the third quarter, prolonged his streak of getting produced a minimum of half a sack in 5 straight video games. Phillips’s 8.5 sacks on the season set a brand new Dolphins rookie document, surpassing the mark Invoice Stanfill held since 1959. Phillips in fact has seven sacks through the win streak, however it’s so way more. Phillips additionally has piled up a half-dozen tackles for loss and 10 quarterback hits previously 5 video games. That’s an All-Professional third of a season.

Xavien Howard continues to ship turnovers

Xavien Howard pulled down his fourth interception of the season, selecting off a Mike Glennon deep ball to Darius Slayton. To date this season Howard has pulled down 4 interceptions, pressured two fumbles and recovered two fumbles and leads the NFL in turnovers created since 2016.

Michael Deiter regains beginning heart spot

Deiter got here again from a leg and foot harm that he suffered within the first month of the season. Deiter wasn’t at all times sharp. He failed to choose up Giants rookie move rusher Azeez Ojulari on a blitz and it led to a third-quarter sack of Tagovailoa, however his return means the Dolphins’ season-opening beginning offensive line is lastly on the sphere collectively once more.

Jerome Baker’s position continues to develop

Baker, who’s in his third season because the Dolphins’ main tackler, continued to play on the sting, opening the door for Duke Riley to be a beginning inside linebacker and an integral a part of the Dolphins’ base protection. Baker, who completed the sport with three tackles (two for a loss) has historically performed inside linebacker throughout Flores’ reign as Miami’s head coach, however the Dolphins used him as an outdoor linebacker to defend Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and have been sometimes experimenting with that package deal for weeks.

Michael Palardy delivers longest punt

Palardy started the season struggling, however the veteran punter has seemingly gotten his act collectively within the second half of the season and has delivered higher punts. Palardy, a former St. Thomas Aquinas Excessive standout, booted a 65-yard punt in opposition to the Giants within the third quarter, which was the longest of his five-year profession. Palardy completed the sport averaging 48.5 yards on six punts, and positioned three contained in the Giants 20-yard line.

Dolphins’ much-improved run protection confirmed off once more

After getting gashed on the bottom to the tune of 133.6 yards per sport, Miami has discovered its footing. In opposition to the Giants, Miami held the speeding sport to 91 yards, and that (barely) elevated their common run yards allowed the previous eight video games to a still-sterling 85.3. That surge has taken the Dolphins from backside 5 within the league to top-10 after this week. Raekwon Davis’ return has been huge. — Steve Svekis

That was one of many dumbest timeouts I’ve ever seen

Giants coach Joe Decide, noticed his crew trailing by 4 factors within the third quarter of a puntfest. Then, on a second-and-23 from the Giants 14, he apparently misplaced his thoughts to name a timeout to stop a delay of sport that may make it second-and-28 from the 9. Right here’s a useful trace: You weren’t gaining a primary down on that possession. Not from 28 yards away. And never from 23 yards away. These timeouts are pure platinum in your pocket. I wouldn’t need that decision-making working my crew’s present.

Dolphins additionally prolonged their streak of video games permitting fewer than 20 factors

Miami allowed 9 factors to the Texans, 10 in opposition to the Ravens, 17 in New Jersey in opposition to the Jets, 10 versus the Panthers after which the 9 on Sunday. If Miami holds the Jets to 19 factors or fewer on Dec. 19, they may tie a streak for video games with fewer than 20 factors allowed that final occurred in 2010. The final time there was a streak longer than that was in 1990, when Don Shula’s crew turned the trick in eight consecutive contests.

Miami has discovered easy methods to maintain the ball

With one other sport of proudly owning the vast majority of the possession time, Miami continued one more season turnaround. Within the first 5 video games, the Dolphins had been holding the ball for a paltry 26:22 a sport, gassing their protection. Since then? Miami, with 30:40 time of possession vs. the Giants, the aqua-and-orange retained a wholesome 32:20 per sport over the previous eight contests.

Dolphins have reeled within the depth of Tua’s targets in his three post-fractured-finger begins

And it has been working. In opposition to the Jets and Panthers, Tagovailoa had 227 air yards in his 54 completions (4.2 AY per completion). It was extra of the identical within the first half, nevertheless it appeared a bit deeper after the intermission, particularly within the remaining quarter with pictures to Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker.

Checking on that Eagles draft decide is attending to be enjoyable now

After the win, Miami’s first-rounder in 2022 that’s owned by the Eagles sat at No. 13 heading into the 4 p.m. sport window. And if all of the serving to outcomes happen, the 49ers decide owned by Miami may very well be within the 15-16 vary. Loopy!

Dolphins received their second sport in opposition to Giants in a half-century

The Dolphins, of their seventh season, performed the Giants for the primary time, dispatching them 23-13 through the 17-0 season of 1972. Nevertheless, from 1973-2020, the Dolphins performed New York solely eight instances, shedding seven of these matchups, together with within the NFL’s first regular-season sport in London, in 2007. An enormous a part of the explanation why the Dolphins don’t have a greater document in opposition to the G-Males includes a stretch from 1973-1989 the place Miami didn’t play the Giants. Within the 13 seasons from 1973-85, the Dolphins had been 134-56-1 for a 70.4 win proportion. The Giants, conversely, went 68-121-2, a 36.1 win charge. The NFL schedulers in that period farmed groups who completed fifth in a division out of the interconference matchups, so New York didn’t play Miami then. Moreover, the Dolphins additionally performed the Giants throughout Miami’s 1-15 season. In addition they matched up throughout three of New York’s 4 Tremendous Bowl title seasons (1990, 2007 and 2011). Anyway, it’s good to erase that “2″ from the win column.

Meet an under-the-radar standout of win streak

Michael Palardy had been as dangerous as the remainder of his teammates through the 1-7 begin, with a 38.8 web punting common and solely 11 punts positioned contained in the 20 to offer forgiveness for that paltry web. However, within the five-game win streak, he has 27 punts for 1,133 web yards for a superb 42.0 common. Moreover, he has greater than doubled his I20s, with a baker’s dozen. However even these have been distinctive, with the typical beginning discipline positions for the opponents at their very own 11 after these 13 kicks.

On deck: New York Jets, Arduous Rock Stadium, Sunday, Dec. 19

The Dolphins get their second rest-advantage matchup with the Jets this season, and Gang Inexperienced has made some child steps upward the previous few weeks however are nonetheless a crew Miami must deal with at residence. In the meantime, the Dolphins need to construct on their first lead within the sequence in over 21 years (56-55-1).

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