The Miami Dolphins beat the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, coming away with a game that felt both like a dominating beatdown and a win in which Miami held on at the end to scrape by. It was an odd game that included a punt return for a touchdown, a fumble return for a touchdown, a passing touchdown from a rookie quarterback, and a run for a touchdown after a fumble return to the one-yard line. Miami scored in every facet of the game.
The game was also a defensive masterpiece from Miami, despite also allowing the Rams to 471 yards. There was a lot of good in this game, leading to stock rises from players and position groups, with a little on the stock down side. Here is our stock watch for the game:
Stock up: Pass rush - Emmanuel Ogbah was a beast during the game, coming off the edge and wrecking the Rams. He should have received this spot by himself, but I did not want to have all of the pass rush/defensive line listed as having their stock rise in this game. The Dolphins kept the pressure on Jared Goff all game long, with Ogbah leading the way. Ogbah and Shaq Lawson each recorded a sack, there were eight quarterback hits (Zach Sieler 3, Lawson 2, Jerome Baker 1, Andrew Van Ginkel 1, Ogbah 1), plus the team batted down six passes as the line of scrimmage. Plus, Christian Wilkins recorded an interception, Andrew Van Ginkel returned a fumble for a touchdown, and Kyle Van Noy came up one yard shy of a second fumble returned for a touchdown. Miami’s pass rush was the key to Sunday’s win, period.
Stock down: Preston Williams, wide receiver - Two receptions for 15 yards is not going to cut it for a player who has the potential to be a number one receiver type. Add in two horrible drops early in the game on Sunday, and Williams sees his stock drop.
Stock up: Eric Rowe, safety - Miami’s secondary was strong during the game, with Byron Jones and Xavien Howard both looking like the top cornerbacks they are. But, the story of the secondary was Rose this week. He recorded seven tackles. five passes defensed, and an interception on Sunday. He was flying around the ball and he was making plays.
Stock down: Offensive line - The Dolphins offense as a whole had a small sample size. Miami ran 49 offensive plays on Sunday, compared to 95 from the Rams. That said, the offensive line did not have a great game. They allowed Aaron Donald to be Aaron Donald on the first Miami pass attempt of the game. They did keep him semi-bottled up the rest of the game, but they were not effective in opening rushing holes either. It was not a miserable day for the line, but it was not a great one either. They are better than last year, but it is time for them to start
Stock up: Tua Tagovailoa, quarterback - It was not a great day for Miami’s rookie quarterback, and, honestly, it was not even a good day when you look at the statistics. But none of that really matters. Tagovailoa started the game, got hit, ran, threw, and was the Dolphins’ quarterback. We will see more down the road from Tagovailoa, but right now, his stock is up simply because he started and the Dolphins are officially in Tua Time.
Stock down: Jordan Howard, running back - At this point, it almost feels like picking on Howard to list him here, but his stock just continues to fall. This is the third-straight game in which Howard was inactive, continuing to demonstrate just how much of a bust of a free agent signing he has become. Miami is believed to be looking to trade him, but the fact that he could not be active for a game in which the Dolphins were looking to run to keep pressure off Tagovailoa does not speak highly of the running back’s value.
Bonus Stock up: Brian Flores and the coaching staff - The Dolphins simply out-schemed the Rams on Sunday. It was a repeat of the defensive scheming that shut down the Rams in Super Bowl LIII, when the New England Patriots’ Flores-built defense shut down Los Angeles. It was also a brilliant scheme to get pressure on Goff, while using the defense to ease the pressure on Tagovailoa making his first start. The Dolphins cannot count on winning like that every week, but for Sunday, it was a perfect system.