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Propelled by another stout effort by their defensive personnel, the 6-6 Miami Dolphins surged into the top spot in the NFL rankings established by profootballfocus.com, which grades each player for each play he participates in.
The Dolphins' defenders, with their fourth consecutive game holding a team to 268 or fewer yards, earned a 16.9 cumulative grade against the Cleveland Browns in Miami's 13-10 loss. The Browns' Peyton Hillis, who paces all NFL running backs with a 21.9 season mark, was handed his worst grade for the season with a -1.2.
Miami's cumulative team grade is 198.8, far outdistancing the No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs at 157.9. The Dallas Cowboys are next at 157.7, while the Baltimore Ravens (143.3) and New York Giants (121.8) round out the top 5.
The Dolphins' defense's personnel provides an NFL-best 121.6 of Miami's overall grade. Part of what helps Miami's standing is that defenses can pile up more points than offenses on the site. The average defense grade per team is 40.4. The average offensive mark is minus-15.5.
The Dolphins offense ranks fourth with a 54.1 grade, and their pass blocking is ranked at the top of the league at 20.2. The special teams are inconceivably ranked third in the league.
Dan Carpenter presents an interesting report card, ranking No. 1 in the NFL in FG/extra-point kicking with an 8.2 for the season. However, among kickers with at least 10 games played this season, Carpenter has the sixth-worst kickoff rating, with a -1.1, combining a short average distance of 65.8 yards and below-average hangtime of 4.41 seconds.
Among special-teamers on kick coverage, the Jets' James Ihedigbo is ranked No. 1 in the NFL, however the safety was injured against New England and probably won't play Sunday against the Dolphins.