Dolphins All-22 Breakdown: How Miami got their Sacks on Sunday

Well, the Dolphins are 2-3. Last week’s game was a complete departure and improvement from the team we saw the first four weeks of the season. The offense was humming with good play-calling, and Ryan Fitzpatrick played his best game of the season. 

The offensive line got reshuffled after an injury to promising rookie LT Austin Jackson, but Jessie Davis and Robert Hunt were up to the task. Even the coverage was better this week. Miami continued to play more zone coverage keeping things in front of them. Additionally, the return of Bryon Jones clearly made a big difference for this secondary. 

However, outside of all those things, the most impressive part about the game was Miami’s ability to consistently pressure and sack the 49ers’ quarterbacks. Miami hasn’t had a consistent pass rush since Cameron Wake’s prime and even then it was mostly a one-man-band. 

Miami was able to generate sacks through a normal four-man rush as well as blitzing on Sunday. This is probably the most important development this team could take, so let’s dive into the All-22 and see how Flores and Boyer got this done on Sunday and how Miami got their sacks on Sunday. 


This first play is all about defensive tackle Zach Sieler. Sieler made his debut with the team late last season, but he immediately popped as a strong and surprisingly effective pass rusher. The Dolphins brought him back for this season and there is an argument to be made he’s been the team’s best DT. 

With all of that said, I don’t think this sack has much to do with his abilities but has more to do with miscommunication by the 49ers OL. LT Trent Williams pass sets to the outside right off the snap. He doesn’t even really acknowledge Sieler who immediately sees Williams set outside and turns inside. 

Williams’ set tells me he was expecting help from the LG, but the LG is occupied with Christain Wilkins, who was lined up over him at the snap. Basically, Sieler gets a free run at the QB due to this miscommunication. 

For his part, Sieler explodes downhill and wraps up Jimmy G with no problems. It’s a gimme for sure but proper execution of plays like this has alluded the Dolphins in the past. 


This next sack is probably more of a coverage sack than anything else. However, Miami has struggled to convert plays like these over the years so either way, it’s a positive. The 49ers come out in 11 personal with an offset I-formation in the backfield. 

Miami counters with 5 players on the line of scrimmage. The man who ends up making the sack is LB Elandon Roberts. The 49ers called a play-action pass out of this formation, so Roberts was either fooled too hard by the fake or he was blitzing anyway on this play. If I had to guess I would say he got fooled by the fake and ended up getting lucky. 

The 49ers center is responsible for blocking the gap Roberts is attacking. He also has help from the 49ers RB. What ends up happening is rookie DT Raekwon Davis beats the RG to his gap forcing the RG to push Davis into the 49ers OC and RB trying to block Roberts. 

This then frees Roberts from the block allowing him to close downhill and sack Jimmy G. While all of that was happening the Dolphins secondary had the 49ers receivers on lockdown. Again, Miami gets a little lucky here but they deserve credit for their coverage and converting on the 49ers’ mistakes. 


Okay, this is by far my favorite of all the Dolphins sacks on Sunday. It’s easily the most fun to watch and rooting for Andrew Van Ginkel is so easy. Again, I do have to question what the 49ers were thinking on this play assigning a TE to block an EDGE rusher. This is by far one of my biggest pet-peeves when watching the film but if teams are going to give Miami free sacks, who am I to complain? 

Van Ginkel has been one of the team’s better-run stoppers this season, although that’s not exactly a high bar to clear, so it is nice to see him get involved in the pass rush a little bit. 

There isn’t a ton of analysis needed for this play. AVG gets his hands inside the TE’s chest plate right off the snap, rips his hands-free, and then dips his shoulder and squeezes his hips to turn the corner and blast Jimmy G forcing a fumble Miami would recover. 

This is pretty textbook but also as easy as it gets in the NFL. 


Now, the credit for this sack fully goes to the Dolphins. They scheme up a pretty dang good pressure and it worked perfectly. Miami comes out with three guys lined up on the LOS while Jerome Baker and Kyle Van Noy are stalking like they are going to blitz. 

The key for the 49ers is to figure out whether Baker, Van Noy or both are going to be rushing on this play. However, the answer to that question ends up being neither. The blitz actually comes from LB Kamu Grugier-Hill who lined up as a slot cornerback on the play over TE George Kittle. 

The 49ers don’t account for him at all as a pass rusher giving him a free run at the QB. Also, Miami ran a little stunt with Christian Wilkins, lined up as the zero-tech, and AVG lined up over the LT. This takes the eyes of the LT away from the outside just for a second allowing KGH to sneak right in for the sack. This is a well-designed pressure Miami executed perfectly. 


This play is cut from the same cloth but very different in its own way. This is a cover zero blitz meaning Miami leaves no safety in the middle of the field to protect themselves. They line up eight players on the LOS and leave three CBs in man coverage with no help. 

Typically, on a standard cover zero blitz, the defense will rush all eight guys hoping to just overwhelm the offensive line and get quick pressure. The QB’s job is to find a hot route and let the ball fly quite early. 

What Miami ends up doing here is actually a variation of typical cover zero blitzes as they end up dropping a couple of players into coverage. Wilkins and KGH drop out while Kyle Van Noy just occupies both the OC and the LG leaving a wide-open hole for Miami’s fastest LB Jerome Baker. Baker finishes off CJ Beathard and Miami gets their 5th sack of the day. 

Good design and good execution once again. 


Alright, this is the sixth and final sack from Sunday’s game. As they say, all good things must come to an end but don’t worry because Miami went out with a bang here. This last sack comes courtesy of Emmanuel Ogbah who has come on strong for Miami in recent weeks. 

This is the type of play Miami has been missing for years. An EDGE rusher who consistently wins the outside arc and is able to create pressure on their own. Ogbah does exactly that in this play. 

Ogbah gets his right hand inside the RTs chest plant and then his left hand right on the shoulder pad. I think a lot of guys would swim/rip in this position, but Ogbah just kinda pushes the RT off of him giving himself a half-man relationship. He then proceeds to turn a pretty tight corner to sack CJ Beathard. 

I’m gonna be honest this is a putrid rep from 49ers RT Mike McGlinchey. I have no clue what he’s trying to do on this play, it doesn’t even look like he was really trying. 



This might be an overreaction on my part, but I’ll stick to it. The Dolphins finding a pass rush or a consistent way to create pressure is the most important thing that could happen this season. While I know the offensive line is also important I don’t think people understand how many problems a consistent pass rush can solve. 

Look at the Dolphins’ opponent from Sunday for instance. The 49ers defense was a force to be reckoned with last season. Why? Because they had one of the best rushes in the NFL. Their corners were banged up against Miami, but even their starters aren’t overly impressive. 

If Miami can combine a consistent pass rush with their group of corners, then we will be looking at a truly dominant defense. They aren’t even close to that reality yet but this game was a step in the right direction.