Sometimes the football hasn't been pretty this season, but Miami keep churning out victories. They're finding out how to win ugly. This hasn't happened in Miami for a long, long time and is a sign that this team, just maybe, may get over that playoff hump this season.
That's enough time to dream, for now. Let's check out which players' stocks are up, and down.
Adam Gase, the youngest head coach in the league right now, is instilling belief into this Dolphins team. Sure, he's a rookie head coach and has, and will, make some play calls that wouldn't have been the best choice. But hindsight is a great thing, and he will learn from it. What I love about Gase is that he's not afraid to bench players when they aren't playing well, with Byron Maxwell being a case in point. He also seems to make players play better, especially when the starters have succumbed to injury. It's the attitude that the next man in line has to do a solid job. I believe he prepares players very well for that. For example, many commentators, including myself, thought Reshad Jones would be a huge loss to Miami. And, while he has been, players like Michael Thomas have done solid jobs in his absence. Branden Albert is another example. Players have just stepped up and played pretty well.
For a couple of weeks, I made it be known that I wasn't that impressed by ‘game-manager' Ryan Tannehill. Starting last week, I've now begun to change my mind. True, to suggest Tannehill and Miami's offense performed well for the first 54 minutes against the Rams, would be an understatement in its truest sense. However, during the final two possessions, he completed 12 of 13 passes for 115 yards and two scores to Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker. There's no doubt about it, the quarterback this week snatched the win at a time during the game when defeat looked like the most probable outcome.
While the offense did not perform very well during the first 54 minutes, the defense played admirably. They kept this team in the game, allowing only 226 yards and 10 points. This enabled the offense to be in a position to pull off a great comeback victory. Had they allowed another 7 points, this game would have been beyond grasp.
Cameron Wake just keeps turning back the clock. He made two tackles and recorded another sack, to bring himself up to 7.5 sacks for the season. He's now had 6.5 sacks over the last 5 games.
Again, this is dependent on the last 6 minutes of the game. Before this, Miami's receivers were quiet, just like the whole offense. Parker, with Miami's last possession of the game, made some difficult catches, including a score. Landry, who looked as though he was going to be stopped at the 5-yard line, showed great effort by being involved in a ‘rugby-style' maul to push himself across the line for the touchdown. Kenny Stills also had a solid day, with 4 catches for 33 yards and a long of 15.
Against a better team, Miami would have lost this game. During the first 11 times that the offense had the football, Matt Darr punted the ball 10 times, the team gave up one interception and could not break ground on third downs. Sure, they pulled the win out of the bag at the finale, but they must get more consistent. However, this is not to knock the Rams' defense, who did well to contain Jay Ajayi and the pass offense.
Alex Parish is an Associate Editor at The Phinsider. Be sure to follow me on Twitter@AlexParish89.