Hard Rock Stadium, FL – On a bright, sunny and hot day at Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami Dolphins rebounded from their loss to Buffalo last week with a hard-fought yet resounding win over the New York Giants by a score of 31-16.
Miami got an early present from the Jacksonville Jaguars, who knocked off the Buffalo Bills earlier in the day in London by a score of 25-20. This ensured that if the Fins won, they would re-take first place in the AFC East.
It was ultimately the perfect time for Miami to take on the (now) 1-4 Giants. The odds were in favor of the Fins to run right by one of the worst offenses in the league, and for the most part that’s exactly what happened.
The Miami Dolphins offense through 5 weeks:
#1 in Yards per game
#1 in 1st downs per game
#1 in EPA/Play
#1 in Success Rate
#1 in Passing Yards/Attempt
#1 in Passing Yards
#1 in Passing TDs
#1 in Passing Success Rate
#1 in Rushing EPA
#1 in Rushing success rate
#1 in Rushing… pic.twitter.com/yhJAfrAuQc
— Five Reasons Sports 🏀🏈⚾️🏒⚽️ (@5ReasonsSports) October 9, 2023
But give New York credit. They played their guts out, with surprising success on offense driving the ball down the field. Still, Miami’s defense did just enough to shut out the Giants offense, and Daniel Jones has a long day against the Fins front seven.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had another solid game, racking up 308 yards off of 22 completions, but also threw two interceptions. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill also recorded 181 yards and a passing touchdown. But funnily enough, the real star of the show may have been running back De’Von Achane, with 151 yards and a rushing touchdown from 11 carries.
The rookie rusher once again turned heads with his speed and cutting ability, turning out to be one of the scariest players on this roster, and impressing Miami’s quarterback in the process.
“It’s very promising to know that he knows where he’s gonna line up,” said Tua postgame. “If he’s getting the ball you know it’s gonna be a big play more often than not. I got a lot of respect for that guy and I think a lot of guys around the league have a lot of respect for him as well. He’s just a humble guy, doing what he needs to help the team win.”
Miscues Keep The Game Close
Following a missed field goal by the Giants in the beginning of the second quarter, the Dolphins looked primed and ready to double their lead, but a fumble by Achane was recovered by New York. While it didn’t result in any points by New York, it kept Miami off the scoreboard.
Later on, Miami had another opportunity to punch a score in but a deflected pass by Tua in the end zone was intercepted by the Giants and taken 102-yards the other way for their first touchdown of the game
It wouldn’t be blasphemous to say that the Dolphins could have led by two or three possessions into halftime if not for these miscues. Instead, they went into halftime only up by a score of 17-10.
Another pick by Tua was thrown in the middle of third quarter, setting up the Giants in the red zone. Thankfully, Miami’s defense did enough to force another field goal, limiting the damage.
Dolphins owner Steve Ross just waited in the tunnel for…….ANDREW VAN GINKEL…..walked off with him and said “that was a great game.”
Gink….your new defensive star.
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) October 8, 2023
Yes, this was a sloppy game of football, and if it were any other opponent, the Dolphins could have been in serious trouble. But at the end of the day, the circumstances favored Miami as they got away scotch-free.
Something worth noting was Tua’s time in the pocket, thanks to improvement in the offensive line with the return of Connor Williams, the anchor of o-line. His role in the group has been noted by head coach Mike McDaniel especially after not playing last week against Buffalo.
“It’s very impactful for our whole group in general because he’s taken a step in his game. One of the things that he does very well that we’re kinda spoiled with is his ability to anchor the pocket,” said McDaniel postgame. “I think that Connor’s frustration with not being able to play with his teammates last week…it was so evident. He was angry that we lost a game he didn’t play in.”
The Defense Did More Than Enough
Even with Miami’s miscues on offense and solid field position for the Giants as a result, the Dolphins defense put the clamps on Danny Dimes and Big Blue.
At times the Giants looked solid, with the middle of the field connections to tight end Darren Waller looking promising. In addition, New York’s ability to convert on third and long was very surprising, and kept their offense on the field much longer than expected.
But still, Miami’s defense played a full 60 minutes and didn’t allow a single score of offense. All of New York’s points came either on defense or special teams.
Things got bad to worse for the Giants offense in the fourth quarter. After suffering his sixth sack of the day, (This one by Andrew Van Ginkel) Daniel Jones was taken out of the game and ruled out with a neck injury. Tyrod Taylor stepped in and the defense didn’t let up.
A Win Is A Win, With A Bit Of History
Yes, while it wasn’t the cleanest game for the Dolphins this season, Miami still got the job done and didn’t make the silly mistake in the end. Not every game can end up like the 70-point win over Denver. The most important thing to do it to play good enough to win the game, and the Fins did just that today.
There’s even some history to be made here. In all five games of this season, (LA Chargers, New England, Denver, Buffalo, NY Giants) the Dolphins have thrown and ran for 2,586 total yards, the most in NFL history within that stretch. They passed the 2000 St. Louis Rams (AKA the greatest show on turf) among other offensive heavyweights in NFL lore.
Best. Offense. Ever.
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) October 8, 2023
Also worth noting is that Tua has 1,614 passing yards in these five games, which is the most of any Dolphins quarterback ever in five straight games of work.
If the defense can continue what they started today with negating opposing teams offense on their side of the field, (Without Jaelan Phillips, by the way) than this will be the most complete team we’ve seen so far this season, and they have the perfect opponent to test this out on next week.
The fun might not stop for the Fins anytime soon, as they’ll stay in Miami for their first home-stand of the season when they take on the 0-5 Carolina Panthers on Sunday, October 15th at 1pm.