Two for the show.
Here are three reasons why Miami was able to take down New England:
Reason 1: Pounded The Rock
Last season, the Dolphins shied away from the run game far too often, and at times, lacked patience on offense. But, this season, things seem to be changing.
In a game where Bill Belichick’s defense dared Miami to run it down their throats, the Dolphins did just that. The Patriots dropped nearly everyone back into coverage on defense and took away the middle of the field.
However, unlike last year, the Dolphins actually took what the defense gave them, and ran the ball 30 times for 145 yards, and two touchdowns. Much of that came through running back Raheem Mostert, who finished the game with 18 carries for 121 yards, and two touchdowns. Miami’s willingness to run the ball outside the numbers, and not unnecessarily attack the middle of the field through the air, helped them leave Foxborough with a win.
Reason 2: Defense, Defense, Defense
Miami’s defense was largely criticized last week, as well as for parts of last season, for allowing too many points in big games.
But, Sunday was different, and the Dolphins held a semi-decent Patriots offense to just 17 points, 288 total yards, 4.1 yards per play. Even though Patriots quarterback Mac Jones threw the ball 42 times, he only managed 231 yards through the air. Miami’s defense also managed to create two turnovers, and sacked Jones four times.
Even without the likes of Jalen Ramsey, Brandon Jones, and Nik Needham in Miami’s secondary, the Dolphins defense played very well, and helped the team come away with a win this week.
Reason 3: Mike McDaniel
Anytime you face Bill Belichick, it’s a challenge, but Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel rose to the occasion (and then some) in Week 2.
Situationally, McDaniel was superb on Sunday night. He adjusted to Belichick’s defensive strategy almost immediately and out-coached him for the entirety of the game. He ran the ball when he needed to, threw the ball when he needed to, and didn’t let the occasion get the better of him.
A Sunday night, on the road, up against a division rival, with hostile fans, and on national television? Plenty of things could’ve gone wrong, but McDaniel didn’t let it get to that point. For that, he deserves credit.
The Dolphins play their first home game of the season in Week 3, hosting the 0-2 Denver Broncos at Hard Rock Stadium. The Broncos are currently last in the AFC West and are coming off a 35-33 loss at home to the Washington Commanders in Week 2.
The Dolphins are 1-4 in their last matchups against the Broncos but are heavily favored to win this Sunday.