In the land known for making feel good stories come to life on the big screen, it was the Dolphins who continued scripting one of the leagues best turnarounds of the season Sunday in Los Angeles. Miami’s fifth straight win, after starting 1-4, was a last minute come from behind effort against the hopeful hero Rams QB Jared Goff in his NFL starting debut.
“Especially in the beginning of the year we played form behind a lot, we found out a lot about ourselves,” wideout Jarvis Landry said to NFL Network. “Coach (Adam Gase) said we could have something special here.”
What has made the this five-game winning streak “special” is the maturation process of a young head coach and his team.
Gase has never been one to shy away from criticism and admit he is wrong. Case in point, Gase dialed back his no huddle hurry up plan of attack and had QB Ryan Tannehill and the offense start working out of the huddle following the loss to the Bengals. Gase said he felt too much, too soon on Tannehill’s plate.
Tannehill admitted the decision to work out of the huddle has allowed them to understand the play call and get lined up properly. It’s been a complete contrast from the miscommunication and uncertainty we saw early on the season.
Yet, the huddle also allowed Tannehill to inject some confidence to while trailing 10-0 Sunday in the fourth quarter.
“I told the guys right before the first touchdown drive, everyone take a deep breath, were going to win this game,” said Tannehill.
Along with the evolution of a first year head, the Fins fifth year quarterback is evolving as well.
Gone are the Week 4 “boo birds” calling for back up Matt Moore. Now that Tannehill is getting time to throw in the pocket, he’s showing the caliber of quarterback he can be.
That was no more apparent than in the final two drives of the game, where he went 12 of 13 passing for two crucial touchdowns in the final 6 minutes of the game.
“It was ugly on offense for most of the game, but defense kept us in the football game, made some really big plays for us, we found ways to make plays when it counted,” said Tannehill.
His running back Jay Ajayi has seen his fair share of praise lately, but neither one them would have it without the strength of the offensive line. Since all five starters have returned to the field, the Dolphins have yet to lose a game.
It’s not a coincidence that the success lately has been a direct correlation to the offensive line. The defense has even benefited from the O-Line stability.
Early on the in the season, the DC Vance Joseph’s defense was gassed and gashed for being on the field for too long. And while Sunday looked reminiscent of that, the defense managed to keep them in the game.
“That’s the way we practice, compete every single play, we practice this way especially on Fridays’,” said defensive tackle Ndomukong Suh. “It’s key for us to go out there and compete, and that’s what were going to do and continue to do.”
Some thought early on this season that Gase, the youngest head coach in the league, was in over his head, but now after five wins in a row, he is making a case for turnaround of the year.