Having had a successful two weeks in Southern California with wins over the Rams and the Chargers, the Dolphins come back home to host the woeful 49ers Sunday afternoon looking to solidify themselves in the AFC playoff picture.
Here are three things to watch:
Dolphins want to pound it
Any hope that San Francisco has to stay in the game revolves around them being able to stop RB Jay Ajayi, and Miami’s desire to run first and set everything into motion. The Dolphins do have injuries on the offensive line to Mike Pouncey and Branden Alberts, but make no mistake, the 49ers are poor against the run giving up an average of 179 ypg. So, it should be a big day for Ajayi.
Kaepernick again, a lightning rod
49ers QB Colin Kaepernick began the year sitting, later kneeling for the National Anthem and also sitting on the bench when it came time to play. Since becoming the starter again five games ago, Kaepernick has surpassed 210 yards passing only once, he has eight total TD’s (not nearly enough), and most importantly, they haven’t won a game.
And, those pedestrian numbers were overshadowed by the Wednesday phone conference call the QB had with the local Miami media. That’s when Cuban born Dolphin beat writer, Armando Salguero, of the Miami Herald took Kaepernick to task over wearing a Fidel Castro shirt in the pre-season and actually, make complimentary comments about Castro and education in Cuba. (The 90 year old infamous Cuban dictator coincidentally died after long illnesses Friday night) Read Salguero’s recounting of the exchanges on the phone with Kaepernick and his own commentary about it here.
Needless to say, it will be a wild scene as Kaepernick (and his team) come to Hard Rock Stadium and he continues to kneel for the Anthem Sunday.
Finally, “Uncle Mo”
The Dolphins pulled out those last two road games both in the fourth quarter with heroic efforts. In San Diego two weeks ago, it was a staggering four interception fourth quarter of Phillip Rivers, including LB Kiko Alonso running in the winning pick six in the final minutes. Then, in L.A. last week, QB Ryan Tannehill and the pass game came to life, as he led them to two TD’s in the final four minutes for the 14-10 comeback win. So, obviously, Miami is playing with confidence and as we wrote earlier in the week, have momentum headed to December looking to make the playoffs. A win to make them 7-4 would do just that.