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.
Gameday- Dolphins look continue winning against Lions
Who: Dolphins (4-2) vs. Lions (2-3)
When: Sunday 1 p.m.
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens
Spread: Dolphins by 3 points (Courtesy of Vegasinsider.com)
What we are watching:
Will “Brock-tober” continue?
Last Sunday there was uncertainty, as suddenly Ryan Tannehill went from a late add to the injury report to unable to play for Miami. Veteran Brock Osweiler stepped in and played well for much of the day throwing for 380 yards in the dramatic overtime win over the Bears.
Osweiler does have a lot of starting experience, but his problem of late has been consistency. Will he put together another good performance against the Lions or will he take a step back?
He isn’t the only key, but probably the biggest one for the Dolphins to have success on Sunday.
Can Miami slow down Stafford and the Lions attack?
Detroit comes in well-rested off of a bye and boasting one of the top arms in football in Matt Stafford. The Lions have speedy receivers Golden Tate and Marvin Jones and a big target in second year receiver Kenny Golladay. So Miami, and in specific their defensive backfield, will have its work cut out for them.
One of the biggest question marks will be can the Fins generate some pass rush on Stafford? Miami has already ruled out defensive end Charles Harris with his calf injury and Cam Wake who missed the game last week, is still battling a knee injury but trying to play Sunday.
Wakes presence, even if it’s only for a few plays will help generate some of that pass rush.
Dolphins coach Adam Gase has repeatedly met and matched wits with, former Patriots defensive coordinator and now Lions first-year head coach Matt Patricia, over the last two seasons. Obviously the Patriots have had tremendous success for going on 20 years against every opponent and the Dolphins are no exception.
Still, Miami had a successful Monday Night Football win last December over the Pats.
Now, Patricia is now with a new team and his Lions are taking their lumps early on in the year. Still, they are playing a similar scheme defense, and you know they will be raring to go against the Dolphin offense that Patricia is very familiar with.
Gase has not been afraid to pull out “razzle dazzle” plays for touchdowns already this season, too.
Latest see what the latest match up of these two has in store.
Dolphins being investigated for hiding severity of Tannehill shoulder injury
For the most part everyone already understands that the NFL’s injury report that is loosely utilized to judge whether players can play or not. For three or more decades, teams have done their best to hide the significance of important injuries from everyone, including their opponents, while listing whatever they can get away with on the injury report.
And now, the Miami Dolphins are about to be the latest team to be scrutinized for what they did report about QB Ryan Tannehill injured shoulder a week ago.
As Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald wrote on Wednesday afternoon, the league is investigating the Dolphins for having listed Ryan Tannehill as having fully participated in practice on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. But then, listed him as limited for Friday and questionable for the game:
NFL to investigate Miami Dolphins reporting of Ryan Tannehill injuryhttps://t.co/tt76zfcdng
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) October 17, 2018
Specifically at issue, according to Salguero is that Tannehill was apparently unable to throw passes for most or all of Thursday’s practice while being listed as a full participant.
Further, he did not participate at all in the Friday workout, which should have led to the Fins labeling him as “doubtful,” because they knew the extent of the injury and that he couldn’t throw.
We now know that Tannehill suffered a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder in the fourth quarter meltdown loss to the Cincinnati Bengals the week before . and really had no possibility of playing in the Chicago game as the week went on.
That’s another point of contention for the investigation, because Miami coach Adam Gase never said any of that prior to the game. However, he admitted as such after the game Sunday (Tannehill couldn’t throw/was doubtful all weekend), and repeated it on Monday, as well.
And more confirmation that the shoulder has been injured so bad is: Tannehill was still unable to practice on Wednesday and the Dolphins have already ruled him out for Sunday’s game at home with the Lions.
The Fins announced that backup Brock Osweiler will start for the second consecutive week. Osweiler threw for 380 yards, three touchdowns and led the game winning field goal drive in the final minute of overtime against Chicago.
The league does have consequences for teams not being forthcoming, especially hiding significance of injuries with the most prominent players on their roster and their injury statuses.
They have reprimanded and fined teams, like the Patriots for an example, for not being forthcoming about injuries. Coach Bill Belichick responded one year by listing 25 players on his injury report one week for an upcoming game.
Most likely, the Dolphins will get a fine, if it can be proven that they were purposely misleading everyone, including the Bears when they knew the severity of Tannehill’s injury earlier last week.
And clearly they were, and did.
Dolphins WR Albert Wilson named AFC Offensive Player of the Week
The Dolphins knew that wide receiver Albert Wilson had big play potential, and now, that he has delivered early in 2018, others are seeing that potential realized too.
Wilson was recognized on Wednesday as the AFC Offensive Player-of-the-Week coming off of his two touchdown 155 yards receiving performance in the Miami thrilling when 31 – 28 over the Bears in overtime Sunday:
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) October 17, 2018
Wilson has become known for his ability to gain yards after the catch, and his spectacular 75-yard weaving catch-and-run to the endzone tie the game late in regulation.
His big receiving day was part of Brock Osweiler filling in for injured quarterback Ryan Tannehill on short notice to throw for over 380 yards in the victory.
The Dolphins were hopeful that the additions of Wilson, Danny Amendola and drafting tight end Mike Gesicki from Penn State would provide offensive spark. So far, Amendola and Gesicki have not given much in the way of productivity.
Now, it looks like snagging Albert Wilson off Kansas City’s roster in free agency last March was the right move by VP of football Mike Tannenbaum, GM Chris Grier and coach Adam Gase.
Sunday was Wilson’s first 100 yard receiving game in the Aqua and White and he is now averaging 15.6 yards per catch through Miami’s first six games.
And, Wilson has becoming one of the top big-play threats after the catch in the AFC, he even threw a touchdown pass to Jakeem Grant on a trick play in the win over the Raiders in week two.
Look for the creativity from offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains to continue to get Wilson into space and have the ability to make big plays continuing with this week’s match-up with the Detroit Lions.
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