The Miami Dolphins entered Week 6 in unfamiliar territory, being favored in a game for the first time since 2018, according to Field Yates.
The Fins proved the oddsmakers right, as Miami shut out the New York Jets (0-6) by a score of 24-0 to extend their record to 3-3 heading into their Week 7 bye. The win also allowed Miami to leapfrog the New England Patriots for second place in the AFC East following their loss to the Denver Broncos.
You can find my recap of the game here. But now, here’s What Went Right, What Went Wrong and the WTF moments from yet another dominating Miami win.
As always, questions or comments? Ask me on Twitter! @Donny_Diablo7
What Went Right
Not much has gone wrong for Miami recently, as they have beaten the Jets and San Francisco 49ers (3-3) by a combined score of 67-17 over the last two weeks, so get your reading glasses on.
The offense once again came out red-hot and built an early 14-0 lead, and added another score late in the second quarter to take a 21-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. Much of the offensive success was due to the performances of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, RB Myles Gaskin and the stellar play from the defense.
The Fins have displayed a myriad of ways to get the ball in the hands of their playmakers, and Fitz once again was at the forefront of the operation. He did a great job of this, especially early on, throwing for three first-half touchdowns, each completed to a different Dolphins pass catcher.
Tight end Adam Shaheen (3 catches, 51 yards, TD) led the team in receiving, with much of his production coming on a 44-yard reception. Shaheen also caught the first of Fitz’s three touchdowns on a short pass inside the Jets goal line. The play showed the marked improvement in play calling from offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.
In the past, the Dolphins have been a vanilla team offensively, but Gailey’s utilization of pre-snap motion, and play fakes like the one on the Shaheen touchdown, made it difficult for Jets defenders to know where the ball was going. The result? A wide-open Shaheen in the end zone for an easy score.
Shaheen wasn’t the only Dolphin tight end to score for Miami, as Durham Smythe (1 catch, 4 yards, TD) found the end zone on his only catch of the day. It is an extremely encouraging that Miami is getting production from lesser-utilized players. Not only does that take the pressure off of guys like Devante Parker, Mike Gesicki, and Myles Gaskin to do all the heavy lifting, it makes the offense harder to defend and more dynamic as a whole.
Wide receiver Preston Williams (2 catches, 18 yards, 1 TD) didn’t stuff the stat sheet but at least found the end zone on half of his catches — great scoring rate, if you ask me. Williams continues to develop as a WR2 option opposite Devante Parker and has scored a touchdown in back-to-back games.
The growth of Myles Gaskin this season has been a sight to behold. The former Washington Husky had his best day as a pro, doing whatever he wanted to the Jets defense on the ground and through the air. Gaskin rushed for 91 yards on 16 carries for a robust 5.6 YPC, to go along with catching all four of his targets for 35 yards.
Gaskin routinely ripped off chunks of yardage whenever his number was called, and was crucial in setting up Miami’s first two scoring drives. On the first drive capped by the Shaheen touchdown, Gaskin accounted for 47-of-66 yards traveled, highlighted by a 15-yard run on his second carry of the game.
On the ensuing scoring drive, Gaskin almost found pay dirt, turning a screen pass into a 16-yard gain before being tripped up inside the Jets goal line. Fitzpatrick would hit Williams for an easy score, two plays later.
The defense delivered one of their best performances of the season, and dominated the Jets wire-to-wire.
The Dolphins defense allowed just five first downs and 93 yards in the first half, making the 21-0 lead seemingly insurmountable. Much of the Jets offensive struggles were a byproduct of the constant pressure Jets QB Joe Flacco faced all afternoon.
Led by DE Emmanuel Ogbah (10 pressures, 3 tackles, 2 TFL, 4 QB hits, and 2.0 sacks), the Miami defense recorded 29 pressures and three sacks according to PFF. Ogbah has been an absolute menace recently, and his impact on the Dolphins’ success must be credited.
Ogbah has shown a penchant for impact plays, and none was more so than his second sack of the day resulting in a 28-yard loss, when the Jets were in position for a shutout-ruining field goal.
Flacco finished the game with just 186 yards and an interception, his worst performance against the Dolphins in his career. Flacco often keyed on WR Jamison Crowder (7 catches, 48 yards), making it easy for the defense to adjust their coverage and limit his output.
Cornerbacks Byron Jones and Xavien Howard both were lockdown presences on the outside. A (finally) healthy Jones was tasked with covering speedy wideout Breshad Perriman, and he did well, thwarting multiple deep-pass attempts.
Howard has established himself as one of the premier ball-hawking in the NFL, nabbing his league-leading fourth interception (tied with Washington’s Kendall Fuller). Needless to say, opposing quarterbacks have had a rough time when targeting Howard this season, according to Travis Wingfield.
The Miami defense is now tied for second in the NFL in scoring defense, with the Pittsburgh Steelers giving up just 18.8 PPG.
What Went Wrong
Not much went wrong for Miami on Sunday, but the one startling issue over the last two wins, however, has been the inability to put teams away in the second half.
After building a 21-0 lead heading into halftime, the Fins could only muster three second-half points. This was largely due to the lack of success the team had on third-down conversions (1-of-9) and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s second of two interceptions.
The Fins had their moments moving the ball, but failed to convert a third down until the waning moments of the contest. On various 3rd-and-short situations, the Fins just didn’t do a great job of executing.
Fitz would incomplete a pass, or Dolphins running backs got stuffed for minimal gains or losses; things just weren’t going their way. Miami can get by against teams like the Jets like this, but it more then likely won’t be enough against the upper-echelon teams left on their schedule.
This is still an extremely young team, and they will eventually develop that killer instinct that premier teams boast in the NFL.
|Stats||Miami Dolphins||New York Jets|
|3rd/4th Down Conv.||4/20 (2/3 on 4th)||1/9|
|Time of Possession||28:05||31:55|
Boy, oh boy, there was a lot of WTF material that came from this game.
Let’s start with the obvious, as whenever either team was faced with a third-down conversion opportunity, they just forgot how to play football.
The two teams were a combined 0-for-19 on third downs before the Jets finally converted with 11 minutes left. This seems more like an aberration than an issue for the Fins, but they received their only third-down conversion from a welcomed new source…
…which takes us into the next portion of this segment: the much-anticipated NFL debut of QB Tua Tagovailoa.
“Tua Time” was short-lived, as the rookie entered the game for mop-up duty. Still, it was great to see Tua command the offense, show his athleticism, and prevent the third-down conversion goose egg.
This had nothing to do with the game, but after watching Joe Flacco since 2008, nothing about his game would have led me to suggest that he was sandwiched between Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas for 21st in NFL history in passing yardage. Flacco needed 214 yards to surpass Montana, but obviously didn’t reach that total.
This was also the first time Miami has shut out the Jets since beating the Jets in the 1983 AFC Championship game, by a score of 14-0.
Miami will enjoy their Week 7 bye before being back in action in Week 8, hosting the Los Angeles Rams (4-2). The Rams have shown a penchant for scoring in the Sean McVay era, and it will be yet another tough test at quarterback in the form of Jared Goff.
The Jets, on the other hand, are the NFL’s only winless team, following wins by the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants over the weekend. Gang Green will play host to the division rival Buffalo Bills next Sunday at 1:00 PM EST.
(Featured Image Credit: Miami Dolphins)