Week after week, the Miami Dolphins continue to cement their place among the league’s best. The team has dealt with the adversity in stride and Miami defeated the Chicago Bears 35-32 Sunday to win their third straight game.
Running Game Gets Boost
Prior to this game, the position on the team with the most uncertainty over depth and talent was the running back position. However, general manager Chris Grier may have put some of those concerns to rest by acquiring running back Jeff Wilson Jr. Prior to being traded to Miami, Wilson Jr. was averaging 5.1 yards per carry with San Francisco. In his first game as a Dolphin, Wilson Jr. racked up 51 yards on the ground while catching three passes, including a touchdown.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is making his case as an MVP candidate. The Alabama product completed 70% of his passes while tossing three touchdowns against Chicago. Tagovailoa managed to stay out of danger, as he did not throw an interception and was not sacked.
The wide receiver duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle has proven to be the most dynamic tandem in the league. Hill snagged seven passes for 143 yards, finding the end zone one time. Waddle also scored, catching five passes for 85 yards.
While the two stars have similar frames and are among the league’s fastest players, they boast uniquely different playing styles.
Hill’s speed sticks out like a sore thumb, but he is able to run freely due to his advanced ability to read a defense pre-snap. Hill is able to identify the defense’s assignment and establish the best track and stem-steps to utilize when running his route. The first few steps of his route often prompt a defensive back to either open their hips too early or commit to his first break.
Meanwhile, Waddle thrives in one-on-one situations where he can pair his speed with his advanced route-running tactics. Waddle utilizes an array of split releases to beat press-defenders off the line of scrimmage, while implementing various throw-by techniques on his break-down.
Hill is currently on pace to surpass 2,000 yards and break Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving record. Although Waddle trails Hill statistically, he is still among the league’s top-five in yards and touchdowns.
Just Make A Stop
The Dolphin’s defense continues to underperform, giving up 32 points on Sunday. The Bears reached the red zone four times, scoring three times.
Although Bears quarterback Justin Fields was not able to make much happen through the air, he proved his worth on the ground. Fields rushed 15 times totaling 178 yards. The highlight of the afternoon came when Fields scored on a 61-yard scamper.
Despite the addition of linebacker Bradley Chubb, Miami was still not able to generate much of a pass-rush. Chubb had just one pressure, while edge-rusher Melvin Ingram had a sack late in the game. With a defensive line featuring Chubb, Ingram, Jaelan Phillips and Emmanuel Ogbah, Miami’s dead-last pass rush ranking may come as a surprise to some.
However, their offense is one of the best in the league, but they’ll need to put it all together if they want to compete for a Super Bowl. Although the Dolphins are 6-3, every team in the AFC East is above .500, so they’ll need both the offense and defense to perform at a high level as the seasons winds down.
The Dolphins return to Miami to face off against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The Browns record currently sits at 3-5. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.