The Miami Dolphins went toe-to-toe with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, staying with the NFC East leaders for the first 30 minutes of the game. Unfortunately, a football game is 60 minutes, and when Dallas came out and punched the Dolphins in the mouth with the opening drive of the second half, Miami never recovered.
Those first 30 minutes, however, showed Miami can put together a performance that can keep them competitive. It is still going to be a long year, and Miami will be among the teams picking early in the 2020 NFL Draft, but at least for the first half, the Dolphins were a team that could get fans to cheer.
During the game, some players moved their stock up, while some players saw it fall. We break down some of the top stock up/stock down members of the Dolphins from their Week 3, 31-6 loss to the Cowboys.
Stock Up: Josh Rosen, quarterback
It was not great, and it was not a performance that makes people believe Miami has their quarterback rather than needing to select one early in the Draft, but it was a solid performance. He ended the game, his first start in Miami, with an 18-for-39 passing day, with 200 yards and a 61.9 passer rating. Again, not great, but solid.
Rosen freed up the offense some, a change after the team continued to stall under Ryan Fitzpatrick. Not that it was all Fitzpatrick’s play that led to stagnation, or that Rosen turned Miami, which has now been outscored 133-16 on the season, into a high-powered offense, but having the second-year quarterback in the game at least showed a couple of sparks.
Stock Down: Dolphins running game
This is not all on the running backs, as the offensive line has struggled to create space for the runners, but Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage continue to be non-factors in the game. Drake finished Sunday with 12 carries for 38 yards, a miserable 3.2 yards per attempt average. And that was much better than the 2.1 yards per carry average from Ballage, who picked up 17 yards on eight attempts. Drake caught three passes for 34 yards, while Ballage added a reception for 10 yards.
Drake also had a drive-killing fumble just before halftime, giving up the ball on the Dallas seven-yard line.
The Dolphins have to go to the air for much of their offensive play calling, simply because they are being outscored and need to try to find big plays to make a comeback. However, the running game needs to make its presence felt if the Dolphins are going to have any semblance of a multi-dimensional offense.
Stock Up: Michael Deiter, guard
Deiter came to Miami and immediately claimed a spot as the team’s starting left guard. On Sunday, in his third game in the league, Deiter started at left guard, then slid out to left tackle when Jesse Davis was injured. He played left tackle in 2017 at Wisconsin, but was a guard in 2018 as a senior. He performed well, especially considering he was not expected to make that move. The Dolphins are thin on the offensive line, so Deiter showing his versatility clearly makes his stock rise.
Stock Down: Xavien Howard, cornerback
Howard is mentioned among the top cornerbacks in the league, and on Sunday, he did not look like he needed to be on the field at times. Amari Cooper owned Howard during the game, and, ultimately, Howard was ejected from the game when he got into a shoving match. Howard was beaten at times, and looked like he was barely jogging back into the play. Is something wrong with the cornerback? Has he decided he is done for this year? Things did not feel right for a Pro Bowl cornerback, and it was ugly for some reason.
Stock Up: Creativity
The Dolphins are definitely a team that needs to find an identity. They have to find a niche for themselves this year as they look for ways to stay competitive week to week. On Sunday, that niche was some creativity. They ran a nice flea flicker, the surprise onside kick worked perfectly if not for a questionable offsides penalty on the kickoff. The play calling was not perfect, and the team seems to get way too conservative inside the redzone, but there were some creatively called plays as well.
Stock Down: Wide receivers
If. If is a big part of this game. If Drake had not fumbled. If Preston Williams had caught a touchdown pass that was in his hands. If DeVante Parker had caught a pass setting up Miami for 1st-and-Goal. If. If. If. So many ifs. Miami was plagued by dropped passes this week - and theme that seems to be continuing each week - and it killed some drives. Would Miami have won the game? No. Are drops always going to be a factor? Yes. Was it front and center in an obvious way on Sunday? Absolutely yes. The receivers struggled to hold on to the ball on Sunday, and Rosen’s 18-for-39 should probably have been a better completion rate.