By: Shawn Williams
I thought last week’s win over the Los Angeles Rams was a statement victory for the Miami Dolphins.
I was wrong.
Coming off a huge win, and a bye week, not even the Arizona Cardinals or Kyler Murray’s legs could stop these streaking Dolphins.
Miami has now won four in a row. They’ve have overcome…well anything thrown at them. They sit nicely in the thick of the best teams in the NFL with a 5-3 record.
I was incredibly impressed with this team, on this day. Here are my thoughts.
1- Emmanuel Ogbah may be well on his way to his first Pro Bowl. Arizona’s very first possession resulted in yet ANOTHER Ogbah strip sack taken to the house (Shaq Lawson). Ogbah now has 7 sacks on the season, along with 3 forced fumbles. What Ogbah has brought to the defensive line cannot be overstated.
2- It made me smile hearing Olindo Mare’s name in today’s broadcast. The reason for his reference? Jason Sanders broke Mare’s franchise record for longest Field Goal in team history with his 56-yarder as time expired in the first half. He has also continued his streak to 17 straight made field goals to start the season.
3- Preston Williams looked to finally be on his way to a breakout game this year before he was injured on his 4th touchdown of the season. He was carted off from the field with an apparent foot injury, however it doesn’t appear to be too serious, and his x-rays were reportedly negative. Williams had been Tua’s favorite target to that point with 5 targets. “The Unicorn” left the game with 4 receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown.
4- Amid all of the great things being discussed in result of the win, it should not be lost on anyone the job the offensive line did today. They were shuffled around more than once with Austin Jackson back from IR. Jesse Davis did start the game at Left Tackle, then was rotated to RG allowing Jackson to get in the game. Tua was not without pressure (3 sacks allowed), and the run game again struggled to gain any momentum, but this unit, full of rookies and newcomers, continue to put up solid results in tough games. Kudos!
5- Last week the training wheels seems to be tightly affixed to Tua (less than 100 yards passing). The wheels seem to be long gone now. Miami focused almost entirely on passing the football today, and there were no noticeable restrictions placed on Tua. Tua passed and Tua ran (which resulted in momentous plays in the game) and Tua looked good doing both. His hip looked just fine as he dipped, ducked, dived and dodged (Dodgeball for the win) defenders showcasing his spectacular mobility and ability to escape the pocket.
6- Tua made throws Dolfans haven’t seen in a very, very long time. He nearly hit a streaking Preston Williams early in the first quarter, in what was a beautiful looking incomplete pass (they did connect later on a 35-yarder). His touchdown pass to Mack Hollins (yes Mack Hollins) was mesmerizing and thrown to absolute pinpoint perfection. We have yet to see him miss badly on any of his throws. Tua also showcased his ability to make the tough throws in tight windows as was evidenced when he hit Mike Gesicki on a deep crossing route, in coverage.
7- I was impressed with Tua’s ability to work through his progressions. When he connected with Durham Smythe for the 19-yard that set Miami up at the Cardinals goal line, he had to work through two other reads in the flat, before making this decision to go Smythe’s way. Tua doesn’t seem to lose his calm or force himself into a bad decision, but…
8- Tua did almost throw his first interception of his career on a weird throw away that hit a defender right in his hands on the sideline (the defender had a foot out when he caught it). Tua also had a grounding call when he threw the ball away (to Robert Hunts back foot) with no receivers in the area, however…
9- Tua does seem to be cautious with the ball. I’m okay with a sack or two, if it means Tua is taking care of the football. His processing speed will improve with time and he should learn to throw the football away (though that’s not really his game, making plays when plays breakdown, is), however I am very encouraged with the importance he puts on not turning the ball over. The in-game announcers commented on this numerous times throughout the game.
10- It’s time to recognize what DeVante Parker brings to this offense. Since the start of last season, he has been a model of consistency and dependability. Multiple times today, Parker made tough catches in important drives. His reception on the touchdown drive, early in the fourth quarter, with All-Pro Patrick Peterson in coverage was one of the biggest offensive plays of the game, and toughest catches. Although Parkers stats may not be where they were last year, his contribution has been of equal, if not greater, significance.
11- I, as well as many others, continually talk about Miami’s struggles with mobile quarterbacks. That remained true today as Kyler Murray scrambled for 106 yards on the ground. They played much better against the “traditional” run holding Chase Edmonds to 75 yards on 25 carries. Miami needs to learn how to better contain, or tackle on pressures, but honestly, does anyone ever have success with mobile quarterbacks? Regardless, Miami’s Week 17 match-up with another dangerous runner, Josh Allen, could be an immensely significant game. They also see Cam Newton one more time this year.
12- The Dolphins closed out their series with the vaunted NFC West with a very impressive 3-1 record. The NFC is regarded as the toughest division in football. Does that make the Dolphins one of the toughest teams in football? Hmmm.
13- I beg you, give this team the respect they have deserves. They probably don’t care about anyone’s opinion or expectations, seeing as they keep proving pundits dead wrong, but they have earned notoriety. Let’s celebrate this team this week, there is a whole lot of special headed its way.
Please welcome Shawn Williams to PhinManiacs and please check him out on Twitter @swilliams3205