We've had a day now to digest Sunday's win over the Raiders, and already many are looking ahead to Sunday's big game against the Patriots. And that includes Joey Porter.
But first, I wanted to just highlight something that I don't think has been getting enough attention over this 4 game winning streak.
HOW 'BOUT THAT DEFENSE??
I know that much of the limelight has been on Miami's offense - which is surprisingly ranked 8th in the NFL. But let's give this defense a little love, too.
Sure, the defense is only ranked 14th in total defense - which is just about average. But wasn't this defense ranked dead last a season ago? What a turnaround.
And look at some of the other surprising stats. If you do, you'll see that this defense is probably playing as good as any Dolphin defense has in quite some time. They are only surrendering 19.7 points per game (10th in the league), have 27 sacks (7th), and are allowing opponents to convert just 36% of their 3rd downs (9th). Those are some impressive numbers.
The play of this defense is also one of the key reasons why the Fins are on their current 4 game winning streak. Over these last 4 games, this defense has only allowed 13.5 points per game and just 285.5 total yards per game. The run defense has been particularly stout, only giving up 82.3 yards over these 4 games. And this 4 game stretch of terrific play includes holding the Denver Broncos, one of the NFL's top offenses in the league (ranked 3rd - gaining 388 yards per game), to just 319 yards and 17 points.
And just last two days ago, the Dolphins held a Raiders rushing attack that entered the game in the top 10 in rushing offense to just 70 yards on the ground.
Three of the biggest reasons why this defense has been so good, especially against the run, has been the play of Jason Ferguson, Channing Crowder, and Yeremiah Bell. Ferguson has been particularly excellent these past few weeks, not only making stops for minimal gains or losses, but also being that inside presence at nose tackle that we all hoped he would be - eating up blockers and winning at the point of attack.
Crowder and Bell, both free agents at the end of the season, have played well all season. They are the top 2 leading tackles on the team. And over the past 4 weeks, these two have made numerous impact plays. They've combined for 3 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and 6 passes defensed.
So while the offense has been getting a lot of the attention (well, other than Joey Porter and his pursuit of the sack record), this defense has really been the spark of the 4 game winning streak.
PORTER HATES THE PATS
We all remember back in week 3 when Joey Porter basically stated the obvious - about how Matt Cassel wasn't Tom Brady and that the Fins would be throwing everything at him - and how he took heat for it. Then Porter went out and had one of the single most dominating defensive performances I can remember.
And already, Porter is back at it again. He recently gave an interview to ESPN's Tim Graham about his feelings for the Pats. Below is just an excerpt. Click this link to read the entire thing (and I recommend that you do):
Do you use what has happened in the past as motivation for Sunday?
Porter: I don't forget things like that. I hope our whole defense, our whole team don't forget things like that. ... [Belichick] had the mindset last year where he said if he could put 50 up on you, he was going to put 50 up on you. That was his mindset.
So why should I feel sorry about anything that happens on their sideline? I really don't care what's going on over there. I'm worried about what we're doing, period.
What happened with them in pregame warm-ups in September?
Porter: We were in a stretch and they walked directly down the field and then started punting over our heads, like, "Damn, would you want the whole hundred-yard field? You got your 50 yards over there, then you walk through our 50, go to the end zone and kick to the 50?"
You have a bad taste for these guys, don't you?
Porter: I don't like them. I ain't never really too much care for them. It is what it is. We'll be ready on Sunday.
Wow. Joey - tell us all how you really feel.
Seriously, this is the kind of stuff I love reading. It's nice when the players on your favorite team dislike their rivals as much as the fans do. And I love how Porter didn't hold back. He was asked direct questions and he gave direct answers. Can't say he isn't a "straight-talker," can you?
One thing I know for sure. Sunday's game is going to be intense and very physical.
So I'll end this by posting Joey's words to us Dolphin fans:
“This is a note going out to the fans. We need you there Sunday. We need everybody to come there and come loud and fill the stadium up.”