The Miami Dolphins got the job done at home versus the Los Angeles Chargers and extended their winning streak to five games.
Here are five observations from Miami’s victory.
1 — Herbert was good, but Tua was better.
Justin Herbert has been receiving some much-deserved praise this season after putting up some impressive numbers in his first half of the season with the Chargers. However, Herbert, who completed 20 of his 32 passs for 187 yards and two touchdowns, found it difficult to stand in the pocket even while expecting the Dolphins pass rush.
Until the last drive of the fourth quarter and with Miami playing prevent defense, Herbert had thrown for less than 130 yards. Tua Tagovailoa on the other hand, stood tall in the pocket, completing 15 of 25 passes for 169 yards and 2 TD’s.
Finally with a run game that an opponent actually had to respect, Tagovailoa, who’s yet to throw an interception this season in 77 attempts, seemed poised yet again in only his second start of his rookie season. These two quarterbacks that were both chosen in the first round of this year’s draft will be meeting again for years to come.
So far: Tua-1 Herbert- 0.
2 — Miami’s pass defense back on track:
After an uncharacteristic outing versus Murray and the Cardinals, the Dolphins’ backfield is back to form. Aided by a relentless pass rush from all over the field, Miami held Herbert and company in check. Herbert, who has thrown for over 300 yards in four of his eight starts, with his lowest coming against the Saints in Week 5 with 264 yards, ended week 10’s tilt with the Dolphins with a measly 187 yards passing and an interception by Xavien Howard. It’s good to see Miami capable of bouncing back.
3 — Who the heck is Salvon Ahmed?
Ok look, when you don’t even have a picture up on the NFL’s website above your name and you’re starting for an NFL franchise, you’ve done something right.
An undrafted rookie running back, Ahmed found himself leading Miami’s less than spectacular run game against the Chargers after impressing coaches against the Cardinals last week. While doing so, he had the best – and most respectable – outing the Dolphins have had since 2018, recording 85 rushing yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
Look for Miami to test Ahmed again in Denver next week.
4 — Jakeem Grant provides spark in Williams’s absence.
With Preston Williams being placed on injured reserve for a foot injury he suffered versus Arizona s last week, Grant stepped in strong. Grant only caught four passes for 43 yards, but they were all key to sustaining drives for the Dolphins. Grant fought for extra yards on third down to help keep Miami driving the ball. Also, Grant continuously put Miami in great field position returning punts with 57 return yards.
“I’m a receiver before a returner and my number was called today,” Grant said postgame. “I went out there and showed everyone that I’m not just a return man. I’m a receiver, too. I’m the total package.”
Miami’s special teams is still special.
Between Grant’s returns, Matt Haack downing punts inside the 10-yard line and a blocked punt that set up an easy touchdown early, the Dolphins’ special teams continued to contribute big. Sadly, Jason Sanders did miss a field goal for the first time this season, ending his 22-consecutive streak. However, he was still three of four, making 50, 35 and 49-yard field goals.
The special teams unit got the job done en route to Miami’s fifth straight victory, Next up, the Dolphins, travel yet again to the West Coast to face a Broncos team with another up and coming quarterback. Drew Lock and a one-two punch running game featuring former Charger Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay.
If Miami continues to see all three phases play this way, and Tua continues to take positive steps, they could find themselves not just playing for a playoff spot, but for a division title as well.