The Miami Dolphins started their Week 6 game against the Carolina Panthers slowly, struggling to move the ball or slow down the Panthers in the first quarter. Miami woke up after spotting the Panthers 14 points, striking quickly to tie up the score, then pulling away for the 42-21 victory.
It was not a perfect game for the Dolphins, but it was an effective one that got them the win and moved them on to a marquee matchup in Week 7 against the Philadelphia Eagles. There were a lot of positive performances on the day, especially once the team found its rhythm.
Raheem Mostert, running back. The talk before the game was about Miami missing running back De’Von Achane. Mostert, who is still the starting running back even when Achane is playing, averaged 6.8 yards per carry on the day as he took 17 attempts for 115 yards with two touchdowns. He also recorded three receptions for 17 yards with another score. He has 11 touchdowns scored this season, which is an average of 1.8 a game. Expand that to 17 games and Mostert is on pace for 31.2 touchdowns this season - the record is 31 by LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006. Will he stay on that pace? Probably not, but he is doing something rarely seen in the NFL.
Durham Smythe, tight end. Smythe was targeted once in the game and recorded no catches, but he was a beast for the team on Sunday. Every time Mostert broke a big run, Smythe seemed to throw the key block to spring the running back. Adding the receptions into the repertoire for Smythe will be huge for the offense, but there is no doubting his ability to be the blocking-first tight end McDaniel wants in his offensive system.
Tyreek Hill, wide receiver. Just another 163 yards on six receptions with a touchdown for Hill. He is now at 814 yards on the season, averaging 135.7 yards per game. His goal of reaching 2,000 yards receiving this year is becoming more and more possible. He must average 107.8 yards per game for the rest of the year, and are you going to say that is unrealistic?
Christian Wilkins, defensive tackle. It was good to see Wilkins playing like the player who should get a contract extension. Wilkins was rusty after his “hold in” during training camp and the preseason this summer, and it has taken some time for him to find his rhythm. If Sunday was the starting point for a dominating stint for Wilkins, it would be welcome. Wilkins finished the game with two sacks and five tackles.
Bradley Chubb, linebacker. Chubb has yet to be the dominating pass rusher Miami hoped they acquired during the 2022 season. On Sunday, he was a menace for the Panthers offense. He finished the game second on the team in tackles (six) and had a sack - and would have had two if a penalty had not negated the play. Chubb still has much more to prove, but his stock moved up against the Panthers.
Mike White, quarterback. We will be nit-picky on our stock down this week because there were only a few bad individual performances. We hit White here because a 0-for-1 with an interception stat line is not pretty. White just needed to come into the game and seal the win. It was not likely the Panthers would make a comeback, but a pick-six gave them hope - and put the 14.5-point spread into play. The Dolphins scored on the next possession to ensure they covered, but it never should have been in doubt.
Vic Fangio, defensive coordinator. A completely new system can take time to get established - how much better is Miami’s offense in year two of head coach Mike McDaniel’s system as compared to last year’s first year in it - but something needs to be adjusted quickly. The Panthers had one major threat in the passing game, wide receiver Adam Thielen and the scheme allowed him to catch 11 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. Fangio needs to find a way to slow down the best receiver on an opposing offense - whether shadowing Xavien Howard on the receiver or something else. The defense cannot allow the top receiver to run free all over them each week.
Who did I forget? Who is on your stock watch from Sunday’s game, either up or down? Scroll down to the comments below to share your thoughts.