The Miami Dolphins have played some exciting games this year, but this had to be the most enjoyable one for a lot of fans. It’s the last-second victories or the improbable comebacks that usually get the most attention, but give me a blowout Miami Dolphins victory any day of the week.
And that is exactly what we got against a talented Cleveland Browns squad. Since the Dolphins eviscerated them, they’ll now be considered one of the worst teams in league history (joking), but don’t listen to that. The three weeks prior to coming to Miami the Browns lost to the Ravens by 3, beat the Bengals by 19, and had a bye week; this was a dangerous opponent.
But the Dolphins didn’t make them look very dangerous and that was because (for the first time this season) they played a complete football game. All facets of the team(excluding Jason Sanders missing some extra points) operated at a high level against the Cleveland Browns. Let us look at some things they did particularly well in this game.
The Defense Smothered the Browns’ Rushing Attack
Coming into this week it was the run defense that needed to have a big game and they did. This shouldn’t really be a major surprise as their run defense has been pretty good (whenever they don’t face Lamar Jackson or Justin Fields), but it was impressive against a team that has had so much success on the ground
Nick Chubb finished the day with 11 carries and 63 yards (33 of which came on one carry). The game script helped to keep the ball out of his hands, but even early on in the game, they struggled to get anything going.
The Pass Rush Feasted
Jacoby was pressured on 47.6% of his dropbacks (3rd highest in the NFL for week 10, and 18.8% higher than the Browns' figure weeks 1-9). Brissett's QB rating splits from this game..— George Forder (@GeorgeForder3) November 15, 2022
Under pressure: 62.6
From a Clean Pocket: 107.1
Pressure = Defensive Production
(Per @PFF) pic.twitter.com/BH2bxegIA8
When the Dolphins slowed the Browns’ rushing attack and built up a lead, it put the game in Jacoby Brissett’s hands. The defensive line had their best game of the year, as far as the pass rush is concerned. Brissett was pressured on almost half of his dropbacks and had to get rid of the ball earlier than he wanted to most of the afternoon.
Losing Ogbah for the season hurts, but this is a deep group that can rush the passer effectively and should give them a major advantage as the season wears on.
The Dolphins Running Game Came to Life
The Dolphins dominated the Browns in the run game. Raheem Mostert (8.1) and Jeff Wilson Jr. (7.0) had the 2nd and 3rd highest yards per carry for week 10 (minimum of 7 carries). This offense with a productive running game is going to be unstoppable come playoff time.#FinsUp pic.twitter.com/82RSZrmEKP— George Forder (@GeorgeForder3) November 15, 2022
This was a really fantastic development for this offense and the entire team. Jeff Wilson Jr. has brought a physical edge to the running game, and they had their most productive day on the ground in 2022. McDaniel was the run game coordinator in San Francisco prior to becoming the offensive coordinator, so many were surprised that the run game hadn't been more productive in Miami.
Well if this is a look at things to come, they’ll be more than productive enough down the stretch. The Dolphins have to be looking ahead to potential bad weather contests in Buffalo and New England in the regular season, and potentially in the playoffs as well. A strong running game would give them a major advantage in those contests and take some of the weight off Tua’s shoulders.
Tua Tagovailoa is Still Playing at a High Level
Tua is hitting open receivers (doing his job), but he's also making a handful of high-level throws each week. The list of quarterbacks that can make some of these throws is short... very short. #FinsUp pic.twitter.com/sIxpOMFsqF— George Forder (@GeorgeForder3) November 15, 2022
This feels like a recurring segment on these articles each week... but Tua is still really really good. He makes almost all of the easier throws that are there (not all QBs can do that) and continues to make a couple of “wow throws” each week. There isn’t a quarterback in the NFL playing with better anticipation or accuracy than Tua right now. If he keeps this up, they will be hard to beat for the remainder of this season.
This was the most relaxing Sunday afternoon that Dolphins fans have had all season. There wasn’t any portion of the team that we can point to as playing poorly in this game. They gave up a few big plays on defense, but for the most part, they contributed to this win.
It’s difficult to gauge how this sort of dominant performance will stick with the team through a bye week. Some would prefer to see them be able to carry the momentum into another game in week 11, but this will also be a good opportunity to get healthy and rest up. McDaniel has seen what this team can do, now it will be his job (and his staff’s job) to get this out of them each week.