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Miami Dolphins Week 8 Game Ball

The Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets this past weekend, and there were several incredible performances. Today, we spotlight one player who stood out above the rest - rookie defensive end Olivier Vernon.

The Miami Dolphins dismantled the New York Jets last weekend, coming away with a 30-9 victory. The win kept the Dolphins within striking distance of the AFC East lead, while the Jets limped into their bye week two games below .500, a looking for answers.

The Dolphins win was a complete team effort with the offense, defense, and special teams all having a huge impact. While players like backup quarterback Matt Moore and safety/cornerback Jimmy Wilson had exceptional games, it was rookie defensive end Olivier Vernon who made the biggest impact on the game.

In the first quarter, the Jets lined up to punt the ball back to Miami. The normally dreaded, but in this case glorious, double thump happened as Wilson broke through to block the punt. As the ball bounced back behind punter Robert Malone, Vernon caught the ball and crossed the goal line, giving the Dolphins a 10-0 lead.

Then in the second quarter, Vernon again made a special teams play. The Jets had driven 70-yards in two minutes, lining up for a field goal attempt with less than a minute to go in the half. With Nick Folk looking to hit an nearly automatic 35-yard field goal, Vernon managed to get a hand on the ball, blocking the kick and keeping the Jets scoreless in the first half.

Vernon also played nearly half the defensive snaps this past week, tallying one tackle and one quarterback hit.

For his play, Vernon was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week, as well as being awarded the Phinsider's Game Ball of the Week (which one is more prestigious?).

Here's a look back at our game balls from this season:

Week 1 (at Houston Texans): Marcus Thigpen, Punt Returner

Week 2 (vs Oakland Raiders): Reggie Bush, Running Back
Week 3 (vs New York Jets): Brandon Fields, Punter
Week 4 (at Arizona Cardinals): Brian Hartline, Wide Receivers
Week 5 (at Cincinnati Bengals): Randy Starks, Defensive Tackle
Week 6 (vs St. Louis Rams): Olivier Vernon, Defensive End
Week 8 (at New York Jets): Olivier Vernon, Defensive End