As the Dolphins are in the midst of their week 11 bye, let’s analyze how they’re performing.
The Miami Dolphins are 7-3 after ten games under first-year head coach Mike McDaniel as they enter their bye week in Week 11. However, thanks to their best 10-game start since 2001, the Dolphins are now in first place in the AFC East.
By winning at least seven of his first ten games in 2022, McDaniel became just the second head coach in franchise history (the first being Dave Wannstedt, in 2000). To get the offense off to a quick start, the former offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers used quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in addition to several playmakers like Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
In terms of passing, the Dolphins lead the league after ten weeks with 3,059 passing yards and are second with 21 passing touchdowns. When comparing starting quarterbacks, Tagovailoa has the most yards per attempt (9.1) and a passing rating (118.4). Only Aaron Rodgers in 2020 and Nick Foles in 2013 have higher single-season passer ratings than the Alabama product if he maintains that performance for the remainder of the season.
Despite missing two full games due to injury, Tagovailoa is tied for third in league with a career-high 18 passing touchdowns. The Dolphins have won 10 of their last 11 games at Hard Rock Stadium thanks in large part to Tagovailoa, who has helped Miami go 14-1 in the previous 15 games he has finished.
In his last three games, where the Miami offense has averaged 35 points per game, Tagovailoa has thrown three touchdown passes and recorded a passer rating of 135.0 or higher.
Although Tagovailoa is excelling this season, it would not be possible without his teammates, especially the duo of Hill and Waddle. They, through 10 weeks, are the NFL’s most productive receiving pair. With 1,148 receiving yards, Hill leads the NFL and is on pace to surpass 1,952 yards, which would rank second all-time for the most receiving yards in a single season.
With the fourth-most receiving yards in the league (878), Waddle is not far behind. This year, the two receivers have combined for 2,026 yards, which is greater than ten complete teams and leads the NFL.
Other players have also thrived on offense, including receiver Trent Sherfield, who already has a career-high 247 receiving yards, more than his prior three seasons combined, and fullback Alec Ingold, who this season scored his first-ever rushing touchdown.
The offense of Miami has been thrilling and surprising. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle dominate rival defenses, and the offensive line is playing its best football in years.
With a team-high four sacks, linebacker Melvin Ingram is off to a solid defensive start. Safety The only player in the NFL with multiple interceptions, at least one sack, and at least one forced fumble is Jevon Holland, who leads Miami with two interceptions going into halftime.
The recent acquisition of Pro Bowl linebacker Bradley Chubb is also paying off; last Sunday, against Cleveland, Miami held Cleveland to only 17 points and 297 yards of offense, thanks in part to Chubb’s half-sack and three quarterback hits.
Injury-related issues have undoubtedly existed for the defense. Due to off-season surgery, the Dolphins have been without their starting cornerback Byron Jones for the entire season. Media and fans alike are still determining if Jones will be able to play this season, given that he was scheduled to be ready when training camp began.
One of the top defensive back combinations in the NFL is Jones and Xavien Howard. Jones does an excellent job of covering the receiver on the opposing side despite not having many interceptions. Likewise, Kader Kohou, an undrafted rookie who made the Dolphins’ starting lineup, has performed admirably, although the Dolphins presumably don’t blitz as frequently because of his inexperience.
Injuries, however, do not justify the front seven. Multiple games have demonstrated that the Dolphins haven’t improved in this area, as the defensive line and linebackers struggle to rush the passer and have trouble stopping running quarterbacks. In addition, statistics might be misleading because Jalen Phillips may have fewer sacks than other players. Still, he is better at establishing the edge on the run and applying pressure. Albeit, Phillips cannot do it alone. He needs the rest of the defense to step up and help him out.
The Dolphins have time to make the necessary adjustments, and I am aware that the defense had a sluggish start last year before improving, so why do the same things keep happening this year? This offseason’s defense adjustments should be made if the Dolphins cannot fix the problems. However, this team can make a serious run this year if the Dolphin’s defense can turn things around and support their offense.
The Dolphins still have seven games left, making for an exciting stretch run as they play all three divisional rivals. On Sunday, Nov. 27, Miami will play host to the Houston Texans with a 1 p.m. kickoff on CBS when it returns from its bye week.
Without a doubt, we will see Miami continue to dominate the AFC East and the league as a whole!
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