The Dolphins are headed to the playoffs after a protracted postseason drought. It’s an thrilling time for the franchise and its followers because the group’s earlier 4 playoff appearances have been in 2016, 2008, 2001 and 2000, so you may perceive why there’s cause to rejoice.
Before we sit up for Sunday’s 1 p.m. wildcard recreation at Buffalo, and earlier than we spend the week pontificating about whether or not quarterback Tua Tagovailoa ought to return from concussion protocol, let’s briefly look again on the playoff-clinching victory, an 11-6 win over the Jets that wasn’t fairly however obtained the group a playoff berth in coach Mike McDaniel’s rookie season. It was a strong efficiency by the injury-depleted Dolphins in a number of areas.
On a aspect word, the Dolphins’ playoff berth means all three Florida groups are within the playoffs (Dolphins, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville) for the primary time since 1999.
Passing recreation: C-
Quarterback Skylar Thompson, the rookie seventh-round choose from Kansas State, was 20 of 31 for 152 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions for a modest 76.3 passer ranking. But he didn’t have any turnovers regardless of a foul snap he needed to fall on and canopy up. Good work by Thompson for avoiding making any massive errors. Also, the offensive line, taking part in with out its greatest participant, left deal with Terron Armstead (toe/hip/pectoral/knee), solely gave up one sack. But right here’s the shocker: tight finish Mike Gesicki was the main receiver with 4 receptions for 46 yards, and he led the group in targets with six. Wide receivers Jaylen Waddle (5 receptions, 44 yards, 5 targets) and Tyreek Hill (two receptions, 23 yards, 5 targets) have been low-key contributors. And the Dolphins nonetheless received.
Running recreation: A
The Dolphins caught with the run recreation and so they have been rewarded by speeding for 162 yards on 32 carries. It was the Dolphins’ seventh time speeding for greater than 100 yards and their third-best whole of the season. Running backs Jeff Wilson Jr. (16 carries, 72 yards) and Raheem Mostert (11 carries, 71 yards) ran with toughness and stored the chains shifting. The Dolphins led in time of possession (35:25 to 24:35) and averaged 5.1 yards per carry. This was a significant accomplishment in play-calling/technique and execution. Oh, and the time of possession was second-best of the season by 4 seconds. Those are all constructive outcomes for a group that ended the common season second-to-last in speeding makes an attempt.
Defending the move: A
Jets quarterback Joe Flacco (18 of 33, 149 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions, 66.4 passer ranking) was largely ineffective. Credit the Dolphins’ protection. Rookie large receiver Garrett Wilson (9 receptions, 89 yards) was spectacular. But that was the Jets’ solely brilliant spot. The Dolphins didn’t have any sacks however that they had 10 quarterback hits, six passes defended and solely allowed one play of greater than 20 yards (36-yard reception by Wilson). You would have preferred the move rush trio of Bradley Chubb (one quarterback hit), Jaelan Phillips (4 quarterback hits) and Melvin Ingram to have fared higher. The secondary turned in a strong efficiency as security Eric Rowe (32 snaps) and cornerback Keion Crossen (26 snaps) performed main roles.
Defending the run: A
The Jets totaled 38 yards on 20 carries. Their operating recreation was nonexistent. Safety Jevon Holland (team-best seven tackles) and defensive deal with Christian Wilkins (six tackles) led the best way however there have been contributions from a number of gamers, together with linebackers Duke Riley (4 tackles), Jerome Baker (three tackles) and Elandon Roberts (4 tackles), in addition to defensive tackles Zach Sieler (three tackles) and Raekwon Davis (4 tackles). The Dolphins ended the common season fourth in run protection (103 yards per recreation) and so they confirmed their toughness in opposition to the Jets.
Special groups: A
Kicker Jason Sanders was excellent with three subject objectives, together with the 50-yard recreation winner with 18 seconds remaining and a pair of 37-yarders. Punter Thomas Morstead was distinctive by flipping the sector on a number of events. The kickoff and punt return protection items additionally have been good. The Dolphins didn’t have a kickoff or punt return.
You’ve obtained to credit score McDaniel and the workers for awakening their guys from that energy-sapping five-game dropping streak and main them to a vital victory. The Dolphins did a superb job of sticking to the run recreation and taking the burden off Thompson offensively, being robust general defensively, and making well timed performs in particular groups. This was a robust efficiency by a training workers that was doing about as poorly as you’d determine throughout the five-game dropping streak. Good turnaround.
Stock up: Dolphins’ combating spirit
It couldn’t have been simple holding a constructive perspective with guys comparable to Tagovailoa, Armstead and Teddy Bridgewater out of the lineup as a consequence of accidents, however the Dolphins confirmed tenacity and resolve to intestine out this victory. No, it wasn’t fairly, however they obtained the job finished. The Dolphins confirmed grit and willpower, savvy and moxie. This group’s depth and combating spirit led to this win. Excellent work.
Stock down: Bad vibes
The five-game dropping streak threatened to sap everybody’s constructive vitality, particularly as a result of it might have led to a six-game dropping streak and lacking the playoffs. But the gamers fought again, and now maybe the unhealthy vibes that hung over the franchise in December and early January have largely dissipated. The Dolphins received’t be favored to win in Buffalo, however that’s OK. They ought to go up there with smiles on their faces and a constructive, “anything can happen” perspective. They’re taking part in with home cash now.