At 9-5, the Miami Dolphins have a great shot at making the playoffs. We break down who played well this past weekend, and who did not. Time for a stock-check.
Matt Moore, Quarterback
Matt Moore had perhaps the best day of his career against the New York Jets, throwing a career-high 4 touchdown passes, for 236 yards off 12 completions. In particular he played real well against New York's blitz. When that didn't succeed for the Jets, it was clear they had no plan B. Moore's ability to hang in the pocket and make those throws downfield were impressive last weekend, and proves that he may just be the best backup quarterback in the NFL. If he gets Miami to the playoffs, he could find himself primed for a starting gig next year. It'll be interesting to see how Buffalo plan their game around Moore this week.
Walt Aitkens, Special Teams
It was Aitken's second game in a row where he scored points from Special Teams (against the Cardinals he got 2 points from Special Teams). Against the Jets Aitkens blocked a punt, only then to come up with the touchdown. It was a shame that Andrew Franks missed an extra point, as other than that, the unit performed very well.
Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh were time, and time again applying pressure on Bryce Petty during the game. In particular, Petty was hit hard by both players during the fourth quarter, and had to leave the game. Imagine being sandwiched by two of the better pass rushers in the NFL! Wake finished the game with a sack, a forced fumble and an interception, while Suh finished the game with 4 tackles and an assisted tackle.
Tony Lippett, Xavien Howard, Corner
Both Lippett and Howard had some very good moments on the weekend. Lippett intercepted 2 passes and did not allow one catch against him all day long, while Howard allowed only 3 pass completions. Admittedly, they were helped by Miami's stellar pass rush, but these are promising signs for Miami. Hopefully both players can be mainstays on this team for the next few years.
Run Blocking/ Running Backs
Jay Ajayi can't be totally to blame here. On paper it doesn't look good as he was limited to 51 yards from 19 attempts. It's clear this team misses Mike Pouncey at center. Miami need him back to reignite this run game. When Pouncey plays, Ajayi puts up big numbers. If Miami make the playoffs, they will need a ground game.
The unit allowed 116 yards against New York. Before the game they were ranked 30th against the run, and it's clear the Jets exploited that this weekend. Some of the blame must rest on Miami's linebackers, who constantly missed tackles. The team need to address this issue.
Alex Parish is an Associate Editor at The Phinsider. Be sure to follow me on Twitter@AlexParish89.