Coming into the season we all knew the defense should be the strength of the team. With the possible exception of the special teams lately, that has been the case. However, due to high yardage totals it seems they aren't getting much credit. I remember earlier Martin posted an in depth look at the run defense, the obvious strength of the team. Now, I'd like to look at the defense as the whole, including the so often criticized pass defense.
As we stand, Miami has the 22nd ranked defense. They're 3rd against the run, but 27th against the pass. Horrible defense right? They just can't stop anyone can they? Except, of course, if you look a little closer at some stats that mean more than the amount of yards given up.
Right now, the defense is giving up 18 points a game, which is 5th best in the league. They also haven't allowed more than 2 TDs since September. That means the game is never out of reach. That means the offense doesn't have to score 40+ to win week in and week out. They have the 2nd ranked red zone defense right now and the 5th ranked scoring defense.
Now despite the yardage totals, which aren't that impressive, they rank 10th allowing only 5.2 yards per play. 10th with 6.8 yards per pass, and first with 3.5 yards per rush. Yes teams may have racked up some yards, but they have to work hard to get them. Then once they start to get down field, the defense digs in their heals and puts an end to things. We've all seen how frustrating the 20-20 offense is (move the ball well between the 20s then fall apart in the red zone...). That's what we are forcing another teams to be right now. I could care less how many yards they get. If they're not scoring points is all that matters.
Along those lines, Miami has only given up 3 rushing TDs (6th in the league). And 8 passing TDs ( also 6th). To put that further in perspective, Miami has 8 interceptions so far (10th). That means they take away as many passes as they've allowed to go for points. Throw in their 22 sacks( 6th), and QBs aren't quite having a walk in the park.
Miami is allowing only a 56.5 completion percentage (5th) and holding QBs to a 75.4 rating, behind only San Fran, Chicago and Houston. Pretty elite company if you ask me.
So at the end of the day, Miami might not be ranked very high because of the yards they've given up, but they're in the top 10 in the league in just about every other category and right up near the top in the categories that matter most.