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Week 10: Bills at Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill - One of his best games ever (we've said that a couple of times this season). Tannehill completed 70% of this passes for 288 yards and 3 TDs. He finished the day with a 125.6 rating. Tannehill also rushed for 47 yards on 4 carries. When you compile the passing statistics, Tannehill's QB rating is over 90 halfway through the season. This is the type of progress we need to continue seeing from Tannehill for this team to make the playoffs.
Offensive Line - Tannehill was not sacked once and generally had an inordinate amount of time to throw. Run blocking could have been a bit better, but the pass protection was more than you can ask for.
Defense - To shut out a prolific QB like Phillip Rivers is incredible. You figured the Chargers would get their points. Instead, the Chargers had 178 total yards, were 3 of 11 on third down, averaged 3.6 yards per play, and of course the most important number, they put up ZERO points. Cameron Wake, Randy Starks, Earl Mitchell and Olivier Vernon all had sacks. Brent Grimes had two interceptions and Reshad Jones had one. This was a complete and total dominant performance by a defense that keeps getting better as the season goes on.
Joe Philbin - Philbin had a tough week with the passing of his father. For all the criticism he faces, one thing Philbin has done extremely well is set up a very organized team. The team didn't miss a beat in practice while Philbin was gone for two days and he deserves credit for this. His team came out strong and won this one for him.
When you win 37-0, there isn't room for Bad or Ugly, so we'll leave it at this. The Dolphins have won three in a row and 4 out of 5 games. But today was one of those statement games. They won against a worthy opponent and shut down an explosive offense. The Detroit Lions are next and they will present some problems, especially at defensive tackle with Fairley and Suh. But this defense can rattle a QB like Matthew Stafford and they will need to continue their dominant play for the Dolphins to have a chance to win one in Detroit.
This is the toughest stretch of the season. If the Dolphins can come out of the other side with at least a 6-5 record, they will be in good position to compete for a Wildcard spot. If they can come out 7-3, they are in driver's seat. And if they come out 7-2, then that would be truly remarkable.
The San Diego Chargers, coming off of back to back losses with the latest coming to the Denver Broncos 35-21, travel to South Florida to take on the 4-3 Miami Dolphins, riding a 2 game winning streak after beating Jacksonville 27-13. As we have reached the half way point in the season, this is shaping up to be a HUGE game in regards to Wildcard playoff positioning. Both teams still have a chance in their respective divisions, but the Wildcard playoff spot is a spot both are battling over as well. San Diego travled to Miami last year in a game the Dolphins won 20-16. The game is a 1:00 kickoff.
Let's take a look at these 2 teams and how they matchup.
Offensively, Miami comes into the game averaging 355.0 yards per game, 217.0 of that coming via the passing game while 138.0 yards of that comes via the run game. Miami ranks 6th in the NFL in rushing and are scoring 24.9 points a game, which ranks 12th. They face a very good San Diego Chargers defense that is giving up 330.0 yards a game, 219 yards per game via the pass and 110.9 yards via the run game. The Chargers are giving up 18.6 yards per game, which ranks 4th in the NFL.
QB Ryan Tannehill is compleing 62.3% of his passes for 1,619 yards and 11 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. One of the things that frustrates you with Ryan is his inconsistency. He had one of his better games of his career a few weeks ago against the Bears, and the following week he has one of his worst games against the Jaguars. The roller coaster ride has to come to an end. Utilization of the run game, which ranks 6th in the NFL would be a big plus to Ryan and it is up to OC Bill Lazor to utilize the run game MORE. Lazor himself has been inconsistent in his play calling. RB Lamar Miller leads the rushing attack with 95 carries for 469 yards, while WR Mike Wallace leads the receivers with 32 catches for 418 yards. Miami has to be balanced if they want to have success against this Chargers defense.
Defensively, the Dolphins come into the game giving up 322.7 yards a game, which ranks 7th in the NFL. They are giving up 211.6 yards in the passing game and 111.1 yards per game in the run game. Miami is giving up 21.6 points per game, which ranks 11th in the NFL. They face a San Diego offense lead by MVP candidate Phillip Rivers. The Chargers are averagin 353.2 yards per game, 267.5 yards per game, which ranks 8th in the NFL, while only averaging 85.8 yards per game. The Chargers are scoring 25.6 points per game, which ranks 10th in the NFL.
A big key to this game as ususal with be the battle up front and the front 4 for Miami, lead by DE Cameron Wake and DT Randy Starks. First and foremost, they MUST contain a struggling San Diego run game, which ranks 30th in the NFL. Miami must make the Chargers one dimenstional and attack QB Phillip Rivers with pass rush up the middle. Rivers is having an MVP type of season, completing 68.3% of his passes for 2,213 yards and 20 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. His main weapons are WR Keenan Allen has 43 catches for 427 yards and TE Antonio Gates, who has 32 catches for 417 yards. The back 7 for the Dolphins will need to have a solid game as well.
Alot is on the line in this game in regards to positioning for the Wildcard playoff spot and keeping themselves in position to battle for division titles as well for these 2 teams. Does the maturation of this Dolphins team continue? We will find out.
Also, my thoughts and prayers go out to Coach Philbin and his family, as his dad passed away this week.
Let's go Miami.