The Miami Dolphins are once again alone atop the AFC East standings courtesy of a Buffalo Bills loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars in jolly old England coupled with their own victory against the visiting New York Giants on Sunday.
Even with some sloppy play offensively, Miami dominated New York in nearly every statistical category.
The Dolphins put up 524 yards of offense against the Giants — 302 yards passing and 222 yards rushing. The Giants only passed for 183 yards while rushing for just 85 yards on the ground — good for a meager 268 total yards. Miami averaged 9.7 yards per play, while allowing New York to muster just 3.9 yards per play on the afternoon.
It wasn’t a perfect day in sunny South Florida for the Miami Dolphins, but it should be noted that even though the Dolphins didn’t play their best ball against the Giants, they still trounced New York by 15 points and the outcome never really seemed in doubt.
Let’s take a closer look while highlighting the good, bad and ugly from the Dolphins 31-16 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday.
Dolphins defense takes advantage of a “get right” game; records 7 sacks against Giants QBs
Yes, the New York Giants were missing the entire left side of their offensive line — starting backups at left tackle, left guard and center against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Yes, the New York Giants field one of the worst offenses in the National Football League according to the numbers.
And yes, the Miami Dolphins took advantage of a prime matchup and used their week five contest against the Giants as a “get right” opportunity — sacking Giants quarterbacks a total of seven times on the afternoon.
Zach Sieler led the way with two sacks. Emmanuel Ogbah and Jerome Baker each tallied 1.5 sacks. Andrew Van Ginkel found himself in New York’s backfield all day long and notched a sack of his own. Christian Wilkins and Eli Apple each contributed half a sack as well.
Vic Fangio heard the criticism from last week’s debacle against Buffalo, so this week he varied his scheme — bringing back twists, stunts and blitzes. Miami’s defense was much better for it.
Unforced errors slow down Dolphins offense
Did you know that going into Sunday’s game against the Dolphins, the Giants defense had exactly zero takeaways through four games of the 2023 season?
While they aren’t leaving South Florida with a victory, the Giants will leave with a crooked number (3) in the stat book under the “turnovers forced” category thanks to some sloppy play from Dolphins' stars.
Raheem Mostert had a fumble early in the game, but thankfully the ball bounced out of bounds and Miami didn’t suffer a turnover on the play. They were not as lucky just a short while later when rookie running back De’Von Achane — who had another monster game in the stat sheet — coughed the rock up. This time, the ball was recovered by the defense.
But that wasn’t all...
Tua Tagovailoa throws multiple interceptions
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa also contributed to the turnover woes as he threw two baffling interceptions against the Giants — including one that was returned for a 102 yard pick-six.
On Tua’s first interception — the one that put points on the board for the Giants — he tried to force the ball into triple coverage on a 3rd and goal play. Giants defender Bobby Okereke tipped the football into the waiting arms of safety Jason Pinnock who then sprinted down the field for six points. It was an ugly play that kept the Giants in the game at halftime instead of putting the game out of reach with a Miami touchdown.
Tagovailoa’s second interception could have possibly been caused by his throwing arm hitting center Connor Williams’ helmet on a pass intended for receiver Jaylen Waddle, but regardless, these types of things can’t happen when Miami takes the field against stiffer opponents as the season progresses.
It wasn’t Tagovailoa’s best game in a Dolphins uniform, but the good news is that Tua’s “bad game” still saw him put up 308 yards passing and two touchdowns through the air — including Jaylen Waddle’s first TD reception of the season. He also posted a quarterback rating of 100.4. That’s still pretty damn good, all things considered. Let’s just cut down on the “what the hell was that” type throws, shall we?
The Dolphins are back in first place in the AFC East. Despite their sloppy play on offense at times Sunday, their playmakers still put up big numbers and the team still won by multiple scores. Do you think they can keep the ball rolling when they face the Carolina Panthers at home next week? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @MBrave13. Fins up!