The Miami Dolphins struggles throughout the season have been well documented and discussed. One of the biggest disappointments through the team’s first five games has been cornerback Byron Maxwell, for whom the team traded this offseason. In Week 6, Maxwell broke out of his struggles, turning in a career performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and primarily against Antonio Brown.
Maxwell was targeted eight times in the game, allowing four receptions for just 29 yards. Five of those targets were to Brown, who picked up just 23 yards against Maxwell. The cornerback recorded four passes defensed in the contest and looked like the aggressive, press cornerback the Dolphins wanted when they acquired him from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Pro Football Focus ranked Maxwell’s Week 6 performance as the second best cornerback performance of the week, behind just the New England Patriots’ Malcolm Butler. They explained his high ranking, writing:
Just a short time after being benched, Byron Maxwell turned into Richard Sherman for a stretch in the fourth quarter of this game. He broke up four passes on the day, including two in quick succession intended for Steelers WR Antonio Brown. Covering him much of the day, Maxwell surrendered just three catches to Brown for 23 yards against him.
Maxwell breaking out of his mediocrity and starting to play at the level Miami needs would help a defense that has struggled for the majority of the season thus far. Sunday was a good first step toward putting a disappointing start to the season, which included a benching, behind Maxwell and turning around the Dolphins’ season.