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The Unsung Hero Of The Week - Week 13

Duke Riley’s best game as a Dolphin came when the team needed him the most. 

Las Vegas Raiders v Miami Dolphins Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins are starting to get hot again, but this time it feels a little bit different. It’s not just the offense going up and down the field on teams, the defense has also been lockdown.

Since Jalen Ramsey’s Dolphins debut, the defense has elevated to a different level in all phases. The rush has been getting to the quarterback, the linebackers have done well in the run game, and the back end has held opposing pass offenses under lock and key. It felt like the Dolphins were on their way to having an elite defense, and then injuries hit. Jaelan Phillips went down last week, but luckily enough, the position has the most depth on the roster. “Hugh Wang” Andrew Van Ginkel, and Emmanuel Ogbah have filled that void tenfold.

In the second quarter, Jerome Baker went down with a knee injury, and that was a big problem. Not only is Baker our best linebacker, he’s also the signal caller. Big shoes to fill, but it was next man up.

Duke Riley came in and had his best game as a Dolphin and is the Unsung Hero Of The Week for week 13.

Duke Riley came in, and tied for first in tackles with eight while playing a quarter less than everyone else on defense. Riley, who is more known for being just a cover linebacker, was all over the field and had the burden of being the play caller. Jerome Baker rarely misses games, so Riley doesn’t get much of a chance to call signals or have a leading role for the majority of a game.

This game felt like an audition for him to see extended playing time next to David Long Jr, or if they needed to give Long more responsibilities, and Duke came to play. He’s been patient making his bones as a special teams player, but the Dolphins needed him today, and he stepped up.

At this point, no one is too sure when Baker will be back. He’s dealing with an MCL injury, and a return will liely be close to the end of the season during that big three-game stretch against the Ravens, Cowboys, and Bills.

The next two games are against the Titans, and Jets. There’s no need to see him in those games since those offenses can barely hit water if they fell out of a boat. The Dolphins won’t look to rush him back, but Baker did say on X, “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be back sooner than you think.” I think Duke will fill Baker’s shoes well in the meantime.

Duke Riley came in cold off the couch and had his best game as a Dolphin, and looks to keep that momentum going in Baker’s absence.

He is the Unsung Hero Of The Week for week 13, and although there are many we could choose from, Duke’s insertion into the game kept the Dolphins defense churning amid the second defensive injury in two weeks, and that stood out to me.

Let us know in the comments how you feel about this week’s “Unsung Hero of the Week,” or who you think should’ve received the award