The Miami Dolphins started slowly on Sunday, falling behind 16-3 in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles, before coming back to take the victory 20-19. The game was not always pretty for Dolphins, but they were able to fight through the early difficulties and eventually find their rhythm on both offense and defense. There was good, there was, and there was ugly during the game, but, at the end of the day, the best was that Miami is still in the Playoff hunt after coming away with the win.
There are two players who deserve the good nomination this week, and there does not appear to be a way to separate them. Running back Jay Ajayi, in just his second NFL game, again showed why he was considered a first round talent this year's draft, and why Miami came away with a steal in picking him in the fifth round when teams got scared off by a knee injury. Ajayi ran six times in the game, 10 few carries than starter Lamar Miller, and gained 48 yards, five more than Miller. There was not another runner, on either the Dolphins or the Eagles, who averaged more than 2.8 yards per carry - Ajayi averaged 8.0. Through two games, the rookie has 11 carries for 89 yards, an 8.1 yards per carry average. Ajayi may not yet be ready to be a 20 carries a game running back, but he may have just made it acceptable when Miller does not reach that mark either.
The other player was defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. The complaint about Suh so far this season from Dolphins fans is that he is not showing up in the stat line after the game, and he does not appear to be as disruptive as he was with the Lions. That cannot be said after this game. Suh was everywhere on Sunday, making plays behind the line of scrimmage, being in on tackles down the field, and just being a force throughout the game. He ended the day with eight tackles, seven solo, one sack, three tackles for a loss, and three quarterback hits. Suh is adjusting to the Dolphins' defense, how teams are attacking him this year, and how he needs to play to make the Dolphins defense the dominating one expected before the season started.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was definitely not bad on Sunday, going 21 for 36, for 217 yards and two touchdowns. It was not his best performance, but he was effective, and he put the team in position to win the game in the fourth quarter, coming back from a 19-13 deficit to seal the victory. The bad, though were the hits. Tannehill was sacked four times, to include the fumble that led to the safety, and hit nine times. He is taking a beating back there and, there was one moment where he did appear to finally be feeling the impact of all the sacks and hits he has taken the last four years. Tannehill was slow to get up, grimacing as he did, and appearing to try to shake out his arm. The Dolphins have to protect him better, and Tannehill has to feel the pressure better.
The Dolphins appear to not have realized Brent Celek was still on the Eagles until he caught four passes on four targets for 134 yards. To be fair, the Eagles may not have known Celek was still on the Eagles, with him having as many zero catch game as games with at least one catch this season. He did not have any games with four catches until Sunday, with Chip Kelly having used Celek more as a blocking tight end than a receiving threat. The Dolphins' problem of covering tight ends is years old, and it seems to not have been fixed yet. They need to figure it out soon, however, as they will face the Dallas Cowboys, and Jason Witten, next week.