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Pro Football Focus Grades: Xavien Howard Shines in Dolphins Victory Over Patriots

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Miami Dolphins corner back Xavien Howard steals the show for the second week in a row.

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NFL: New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins managed to keep their playoff hopes alive by dispatching the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football. For the second week in a row, Xavien Howard headlined an impressive performance by Miami’s secondary. Tom Brady was held to 233 yards through the air, which translated to a solid 27-20 victory for the Dolphins.

Howard’s effort didn’t go unnoticed by the analyst team at Pro Football Focus, as he was once again awarded with their top grade. The former second-round pick earned a grade of 92.0 for his work on Monday.

Pro Football Focus had this to say about Howard’s big night against the Patriots:

The second-year player out of Baylor played his best game as a pro on Monday night and his grade would’ve been higher if not for a defensive pass interference in the first half. After an up and down season, Howard shined in coverage against the Patriots. He was targeted six times and did not allow a catch, while also notching two interceptions and a pass break up. Howard has been on fire the last two weeks, only allowing two catches on 15 targets with four interceptions and four pass break ups.

On offense, Miami was able to successfully capitalize on an injury-depleted New England squad. Kenyan Drake had another solid outing, but it was the steady hand of Jay Cutler that gave the Dolphins the edge on the scoreboard. Cutler’s three touchdown tosses helped him capture a grade of 81.2 from PFF.

Pro Football Focus had this to say about Cutler’s performance:

New England blitzed Cutler on over half of his dropbacks on Monday night (21 out of 41) and he made sure they paid for it. When the Patriots rushed five or more defenders, Cutler completed 16-of-20 attempts for 186 yards and two touchdowns, good for a 138.8 passer rating against the blitz. Cutler also had a great deal of success in this one with the short-passing game, connecting on 21-of-23 attempts for 163 yards and two touchdowns on passes that traveled fewer than ten yards in the air.


You can read Pro Football Focus’ full list of grades and analysis by following this link.