The Miami Dolphins moved to 5-3 on the season with their fourth-straight win, this time a Week 9 34-31 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. It was another good performance from the Dolphins, who overcame COVID-19 protocols for five coaches and a player, the top two running backs being sidelined prior to the game, one of the starting wide receivers getting injured during the game, and their starting tight end sustaining a concussion during the game. The team is playing well, playing together, and winning.
With another win for the season, the Dolphins have now reached as many wins in the first of the 2020 season as they had all of last season. Things are moving in the right direction for the Dolphins.
Here is our stock watch for the Week 9 win over the Cardinals:
Stock up: Brian Flores, head coach - Flores needs to be in the coach of the year talk around the league. The team that was “the worst to ever play the game” won five games last year, then this year, they benched their veteran starting quarterback to move to an unproven rookie despite having won their last two games. Since the move, Miami has extended the win streak to four, have looked like a team that is rallying around their rookie quarterback, and are doing everything they need to do to win. Flores has done a masterful job through the first half of the season, and he needs to be recognized for it.
Stock down: Referees - I typically will take issue with bad calls, but I try not to harp on them for too long. On Sunday, there were some miserable calls that deserve to land in this spot. The good news it, it really did even out with both teams getting penalized, but it does not change the fact that the calls should not have been made. From DeAndre Hopkins jumping into Xavien Howard and Howard being flagged to Patrick Peterson called for pass interference when he was not even touching DeVante Parker (a penalty that was declined because Parker made the catch), it was ugly for a large chunk of the second half.
Stock up: Tua Tagovailoa, quarterback - Tagovailoa made some rookie mistakes - especially on the throw-away ball that was nearly picked off - but he also made plays on Sunday. He finished the game 20-for-28 for 248 yards with two touchdowns, giving him a 122.3 passer rating. He also added 35 yards on seven carries. He was not perfect, but he showed that he is ready to be the starting quarterback for the Dolphins and that Flores knew what he was doing when he made the change.
Stock down: Solomon Kindley, guard - Kindley is a mauler of an offensive guard and has been the starter since Week 1. On Sunday, however, he was pulled in favor of Jesse Davis at right guard. That is not to say it is a permanent move, but Miami is trying to figure out how to play six offensive linemen in five positions. The fact that Kindley was the one they pulled out means his stock has to go down some.
Stock up: Emmanuel Ogbah and Christian Wilkins, defensive ends - Ogbah is simply a beast, recording five tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a pass defensed on Sunday. Wilkins, who had three tackles, is definitely making his presence felt on the defensive line as well. Miami’s pass rush was not as effective on Sunday as it was last week against the Rams, but it was still able to make its presence felt. Tied to the pass rush, however...
Stock down: Defense versus running quarterbacks - ...Miami is still struggling with mobile quarterbacks. Kyler Murray ran 11 times, some designed, some scrambles, for 106 yards with a touchdown, giving him a 9.6 yards per attempt average. Miami’s defense has to figure out how to keep a running quarterback bottled.
Bonus stock up: Jason Sanders, kicker - Sanders went 2-for-2 on field goals on Sunday, connecting from a career-high 56 yards and from 50 yards, to set the new franchise record making 20-straight field goals. He was also 4-for-4 on extra points. Sanders is the only kicker in the league that has a 100 percent rate on both field goals and extra points this year.
Bonus stock up 2: Salvon Ahmed, running back - Welcome to the league, rookie. Now, lead the team in rushing yards in your debut. Ahmed carried the ball seven times for 38 yards, giving him a 5.4 yards per attempt average, with a long of 19 yards. In comparison, Jordan Howard carried the ball 10 times for 19 yards, giving him a 1.9 yards per attempt average, with a personal season-high long run of eight yards. If Gaskin and Breida continue to both miss playing time (and with Gaskin on IR, the team will be at least two more weeks without him), Ahmed may have positioned himself to be the top rusher.
Bonus stock up 3: Eric Rowe, safety - Just Rowe. He is becoming a force in the back end of the Miami defense, so he deserves to be mentioned.