It’s Monday night and I still have a huge smile on my face. A little more than 24 hours after the “Miami Miracle” and I have to still watch the replay because I don’t believe it. The best part about that whole game was it was against New England. If there was only one team that would know how to defend the last play, it would be a Bill Belichick-led squad. After looking for the flag, or Drake running out of bounds, or something bad to happen, that play counted. A win for the ages and now playoff aspirations arise for the Dolphins.
Can the Miami Dolphins win out and make the playoffs? Here is what needs to happen:
Get Drake the Football: I have said this all year. As the saying goes, “You don’t give a home-run hitter a plate appearance once a game.” Kenyan Drake made a season changing play, his ninth touchdown of the season. Imagine if he ever got 20 touches a game consistently? This guy is a complete stud, yet we don’t showcase him. If he gets the ball 15 times a game, they will win ballgames. Fact.
Imagine if he played for the Saints offense with Drew Brees. Teams would pay some good money for his services. Shame on Gase for that. One fact is, regardless of score, these men play hard for Coach Gase. Gore has been good moving the chains, however, he doesn’t change the game. In order to realistically think about making the playoffs, we have to hide our defense. That means run the football. Keep drives alive and don’t turn the ball over. With running the football that usually means controlling the clock. Control the clock, control the line of scrimmage. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Get Drake the ball and watch how effective the play action will be. In an offense lacking key playmakers, the Dolphins need to get Drake the football.
Create Turnovers: Just like in 2016, this defense is bad. I’m not sure why, but think about this: Imagine if I told you Reshad Jones, Cam Wake, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Robert Quinn, and Xavien Howard were all on the same team. You would say that’s probably a good defense. Instead, the Dolphins are at the bottom of most categories on defense. They do, however, create turnovers. Anytime a team is a positive in the turnover ratio, it’s a sign of a winning team. Miami has 19 interceptions this year. They force turnovers by punching the ball out. Kiko Alonso has been flying around all year. With that said, this defense has still been shredded up and down. Maybe if we force a few turnovers against Kirk Cousins, Cody Kessler, and Josh Allen we can sneak into the playoffs as the sixth seed.
Start Early: After going a full year without scoring an opening drive touchdown, Miami has now scored a TD its last three opening drives. If most teams have a chance, it’s early in the game. It’s nice not starting games down 7-0 recently. Scoring 24, 21, and 34 points the last three games is exciting to see. It’s not a lot of scoring buy the current NFL standard, but if the Dolphins keep putting up those kinds of point totals, they’ll have a chance. If they start with that momentum early, it’s a close, competitive game. Minnesota, Jacksonville, and Buffalo aren’t that hard of a schedule going forward. Realistically, they can beat all those teams and make the playoffs—if they can follow this blueprint.
Fun Fact: Ryan Tannehill is 12-4 in his last 16 starts. His passer rating this year is 105.
As always, Phins up!