Now that’s more like it, huh?
Miami jackslapped the New York Jets to the tune of 30-0 on Sunday, bouncing back from their preposterous loss to the Titans the previous Monday.
It was a game that Dolphins teams of old might have come unprepared for. Right now, however, everything seems to be looking up.
Injuries are showing up at the (2nd) worst possible time
“YOU JUST SAID THINGS WERE LOOKING UP.”
Well, yeah. Mostly. Mostertly? That doesn’t even make sense.
One of the most impressive aspects of the Fins’ big win was how many depth players were pressed into action and how well they performed.
Depth has always been an issue for the Dolphins. The second a starter went down, especially along the offensive line, to paraphrase the world renowned Fuhbawl: everything [was] ruined.
This season has, so far, managed to be the exception. And boy does it feel good.
So how exactly can I turn this uncharacteristic improvement in performance into a negative?
Because it was the Jets.
It’s awesome that Miami’s backups played so well that they made Trevor Siemian look like Zach Wilson and Zach Wilson look like Zach Wilson. That’s genuinely great.
What isn’t so great is the likelihood that those backups can play well enough to do the same against Dallas, Baltimore, and Mark Ruffalo.
Besides the actual playoffs, leading into the critical games against the season’s toughest competition at the end of the year is the worst time to look like a MASH unit.
The offensive line was down four starters, the secondary was missing three, the linebackers two, and Tyreek Hill missed his first game of the year. Hopefully the training staff is working overtime over the holidays to get everyone back on board.
No Hill, no problem
Fine, I’m not advocating sitting Tyreek Hill because that’s what an insane person would do. And its’ well documented that I have sane and many good word.
Against the Jets, the team figured out a way to find success offensively with Hill sidelined, which is more than could be said about his time out of the lineup last week.
Jaylen Waddle stepped up even after taking a big hit early on and looking a little banged up. He led all receivers with 8 recs for 142 yds and 1 TD, showcasing his talent that has felt somewhat absent at times this season.
Tua finished 21/24 for 224 yds and 1 TD before ceding time to Mike White towards the end of the game. He completed passes to eight different receivers as part of an aerial attack that complemented a dedication to the run that we fans had been shaking our fists about the lack of for at least six days.
Raheem Mostert ran 15 times for 42 yds, but scored touchdowns number 19 and 20 on the year, setting the franchise record for touchdowns in a season. De’Von Achane added 9 carries for 32 yards to go with 2 more by Jeff Wilson Jr. All in all, it was 26 rushes alongside 26 passes: a perfect balance that had everyone singing kumbaya.
Obviously Tyreek Hill is a huge component to Miami’s offense and a nearly unrivaled weapon. But this game was invaluable for the team to prove they can operate without him. Leaning on the run against a poor run defense (the Jets were 28th coming in) and taking the shots that were afforded to them was a recipe for dominance that the Fins should strive to repeat just about (let’s see; carry the 1, divide by 15...) six-ish more times.
The defense is destroying
Something that will help Miami repeat their smashing Sunday performance is their smashing defense repeating their performance every subsequent Sunday.
The Dolphins’ defense decimated the Jets’ offense, obliterating them over and over. Both QBs were running for cover all day long as Miami finished with 6 sacks and 74 quarterback hits. I’m not sure Aaron Rodgers is a fan of the program (like the Dolphins’ coaching staff assuredly is), but if he’s reading: stay on IR, bud. Take a beat, not a beating.
Bradley Chubb is starting to prove that the front office made the right choice when they elected to not save that money and, instead, signed him to a contract the size of, I don’t know.
...A whale! Yeah. Like a big ol’ whale. Whales are big.
It was a big (whale) contract that I didn’t love and still don’t love entirely. That said, Chubb is giving me no choice but to change my mind and if he keeps it up at this pace, I’ll do a complete 180 and stop telling people my Chubb jersey is for Nick before Christmas.
He was a flat out monster on Sunday, notching 7 tackles, 3 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. The rest of the defense followed his lead, at one point holding the Jets to -1 yards near the end of the first half and ultimately finishing the game with a shutout.
Brandon Jones pulled in 2 interceptions, the pass defense totaled 9 passes defended, and Andrew Van Ginkel played with a broken nose just because he could.
The defense is hitting its stride at the right time and if they can get healthy on top of that: ooooooweeeeeeee!
Sanders is sneaky good
Did everyone know this but me? Did everyone know that Jason Sanders is the Dolphins’ kicker with the highest career FG%? At 82.7%, he’s number one.
That’s wild. That’s awesome for him and I hope he keeps it up.
I genuinely don’t have anything else to say about that.
The next three are the big three
Miami is about to close out the season with some big’uns. It’s not every year that the Fins are playing meaningful football in late December/early January, so let’s all give thanks to Krampus about that right out of the gate.
They sure do have it cut out for themselves, though, at least on paper. Hosting the 10-4 Cowboys next week is followed by a road trip to the AFC leading Baltimore Ravens, before closing out the year back home against the Buffalo Tony Romos.
That’s a rough run.
Dallas just got plastered by the Romos, who seem to have unveiled the blueprint for how to beat the ‘Boys. Baltimore is so far ahead in their little world, they might be sitting starters by the time Miami rolls into town (though I actually really doubt it; but that’d be a nice surprise). And Buffalo has been up and down this season, not to mention being due for a revenge loss after blowing out the Fins early in the year.
Without looking at all of the various playoff calculators and oddsmakers, common sense says that Miami should go ahead and win some of those games. Two out of three feels right. Maybe just all of them to be safe.
Despite the level of competition being as high as it has been for the Dolphins all year, I’m confident that they’re capable of beating each of their upcoming opponents. It won’t be easy, but we’ve seen that when everything comes together, Miami can have a top offense, a top defense, and a winning game plan.
Nothing changes a narrative faster than burning the book. The Fins have a chance to do just that. Here’s hoping they seize the moment.
If not, Mike McDaniel’s gonna have to delete soooooo many angry drunk voicemails.
Do you believe in the Dolphins? How about life after love? Miracles? Sing your heart out in the comments below.