The Miami Dolphins are a perfect 4-0 at home and will begin the second-half stretch Sunday with five of the final eight games at Hard Rock Stadium. Averaging 43.5 points while in South Florida, Miami returns from the bye week to host rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell and the Las Vegas Raiders.
Interim head coach Antonio Pierce guided the Raiders to wins over the New York Jets and New York Giants but now faces a defense averaging 3.8 sacks per game at Hard Rock Stadium. Bradley Chubb leads Miami with six sacks and has taken down the opposing quarterback in each of the last four games.
O’Connell is 2-0 since being named the starter but was also sacked seven times in a 24-17 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 4. The 2023 fourth-round draft pick has thrown two touchdowns and three interceptions through four appearances.
“You still want to play within the defense,” Chubb said of lining up against a rookie quarterback. “You know he’s going to have a great plan for it, so I’m just doing my piece in this defense. Yeah, you want to get after him and yeah, you want to make him uncomfortable, but it’s going to come. It’s going to be one of those things that you just got to let the game to you and not try to go out there and force it.
“Like I said, it’s a rookie quarterback, so you’re going to be licking the chops a little bit, but he’s still a great player. He’s still got great guys around him so you can’t really do too much. You just got to do whatever the defense allows you.”
The Dolphins allowed more than 21 points just once since Week 5 — despite a -4 turnover differential through nine games. Led by Chubb and third-year linebacker Jaelan Phillips, Miami’s pass rush ranks eighth in sacks per game (3.2) and could be the key to disrupting Vegas’ recent success.
“They are a team with a lot of new life, a lot of great playmakers that can change the game at any moment,” Chubb said. “It’s not a, ‘oh it’s just the Raiders this week.’ They are a great football team and it’s a team we’re going to have to take very seriously and be ready to bring it.”