Sunday was a great turnaround overall for the Dolphins on the field and for RB Jay Ajayi individually, it was redemption to the tune of a 204 yard rushing performance that has Miami buzzing this a.m.
The story has turned 180 degrees since week one, when Ajayi was “left home” from the Seattle road game, essentially suspended with pay by first year coach Adam Gase. The issue was reportedly with Ajayi’s attitude and Gase sending a message to his new team.
But, due to injury with free agent acquisition RB Arian Foster in game two, and the lack of an established back up, Ajayi has gradually found himself back in Gase and the offense’s good graces getting the bulk of the carries.
He made the most of it Sunday with a fantastic 8.2 yard per carry average and seemed to get better as the day wore on, and the Steeler D wilted in the South Florida sun. Ajay’s clinching 62 yard run sealed the game in the closing minutes and has been on the highlights everywhere. He’s the first back to eclipse 200 yards this season.
What makes it more remarkable, is that the former Boise State star’s highest rushing total in the NFL up until Sunday was mere 48 yards. He zoomed by 100 yards in the third quarter and then became the first Miami running back to register a 200 yard game, since Ricky Williams in 2002.
It’s unknown if Foster will be able to become the feature back that Miami hoped he would be when they brought him in. But in five short weeks Jay Ajayi has suddenly gone from the outside looking in, to a feature back that Gase and the Dolphins can count on.
That’s almost as impressive as the day on the field Ajayi had Sunday.