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 workforce’s earlier 4 playoff appearances have been in 2016, 2008, 2001 and 2000, so you may perceive why there’s purpose to have a good time.
Before we look forward to Sunday’s 1 p.m. wild-card sport at Buffalo, and earlier than we spend the week pontificating about whether or not quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will 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 workforce a playoff berth in coach Mike McDaniel’s rookie season. It was a stable efficiency by the injury-depleted Dolphins in a number of areas.
On a facet be aware, 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 sport: C-
Quarterback Skylar Thompson, the rookie seventh-round decide from Kansas State, was 20 of 31 for 152 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions for a modest 76.3 passer score. 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 huge errors. Also, the offensive line, enjoying 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 workforce 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 members. And the Dolphins nonetheless gained.
Running sport: A
The Dolphins caught with the run sport they usually have been rewarded by dashing for 162 yards on 32 carries. It was the Dolphins’ seventh time dashing for greater than 100 yards and their third-best complete 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 serious 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 optimistic outcomes for a workforce that ended the common season second-to-last in dashing makes an attempt.
Defending the move: A
Jets quarterback Joe Flacco (18 of 33, 149 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions, 66.4 passer score) was largely ineffective. Credit the Dolphins protection. Rookie vast receiver Garrett Wilson (9 receptions, 89 yards) was spectacular. But that was the Jets’ solely vibrant spot. The Dolphins didn’t have any sacks however they’d 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 stable 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 working sport was nonexistent. Safety Jevon Holland (team-best seven tackles) and defensive deal with Christian Wilkins (six tackles) led the way in which 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 allowed per sport) they usually confirmed their toughness in opposition to the Jets.
Special groups: A
Kicker Jason Sanders was excellent with three area objectives, together with the 50-yard sport winner with 18 seconds remaining and a pair of 37-yarders. Punter Thomas Morstead was distinctive by flipping the sphere on a number of events. The kickoff and punt return protection models 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 shedding streak and main them to an important victory. The Dolphins did a very good job of sticking to the run sport and taking the burden off Thompson offensively, being robust total defensively, and making well timed performs in particular groups. This was a powerful efficiency by a training workers that was doing about as poorly as you’d determine through the five-game shedding streak. Good turnaround.
Stock up: Dolphins’ preventing spirit
It couldn’t have been simple retaining a optimistic angle with guys comparable to Tagovailoa, Armstead and Teddy Bridgewater out of the lineup because of accidents, however the Dolphins confirmed tenacity and resolve to intestine out this victory. No, it wasn’t fairly, however they obtained the job accomplished. The Dolphins confirmed grit and willpower, savvy and moxie. This workforce’s depth and preventing spirit led to this win. Excellent work.
Stock down: Bad vibes
The five-game shedding streak threatened to sap everybody’s optimistic vitality, particularly as a result of it might have led to a six-game shedding streak and lacking the playoffs. But the gamers fought again, and now maybe the dangerous vibes that hung over the franchise in December and early January have largely dissipated. The Dolphins gained’t be favored to win in Buffalo, however that’s OK. They ought to go up there with smiles on their faces and a optimistic, “anything can happen” angle. They’re enjoying with home cash now.