Stuck toward the back of the pack at the first quarter pole of the season, the Dolphins have managed to find their stride thanks to the legs of Jay Ajayi at the halfway point. A run that appeared destined for an eighth consecutive season without a winning record, could end with Miami’s first playoff birth since 2008.
While a 4-4 record may not indicate a playoff caliber team, keep this in mind; only ONE of the final eight games of the season comes against a team with a winning record. For a team that has found their niche running the ball, there is no reason to think they can’t pound their way to the postseason.
“I’m definitely proud of what we’ve accomplished,” said Ajayi. “But at the same time we’re not sitting on any of that stuff, we’re just trying to keep pushing forward.”
Over this three game winning streak, Ajayi has accounted for 529 of the Dolphins 615 rushing yards.
“I reminded our guys again today, don’t let me go away from Jay,” said coach Adam Gase. “What makes Jay so affective is, he’s a guy who runs very angry and when you can do that for four quarters, eventually the other team is going to break.”
Ajayi’s running style, along with the aggression shown by the offensive line blocking has led to an epiphany that Miami may actually be a playoff team.
Sunday’s win over the Jets wasn’t pretty by any means. But it was an all around team victory: two interceptions, a special teams go-ahead score and a commitment to winning the time of possession battle all bolds well.
While the rushing attack is seeing a surge the past few weeks, it’s taken plays away from the passing game. In particular, WR Jarvis Landry has seen his chances to make plays go down.
Gase on Monday said he needs to do a better job of getting the ball in to Landry’s hands.
Landry hauled in only 3 catches on Sunday, and has seen his targets drop over the winning streak. Back in Week 5, Landry was tied for the NFL lead in receptions, but has since dropped to eighth with 49 receptions.
“I need to figure out a way to get him the ball, where he can catch it and go and make some plays which he did.” said Gase. “When we put the ball in his hands, he makes something happen and what did he have three catches? That’s just unacceptable and that’s all on me.”
I’m an advocate of “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it;” with the Dolphins rattling off three straight victories by feeding Ajayi the ball, then let him feast. The last thing they want is to deviate from success and hit another early season famine.