The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

IMPRESSIVE

Last week the Fins beat the Jaguars in a very unimpressive fashion, but this week was an entirely different story as the Fins dominated in every facet of the game, defeating the San Diego Charges 37-0.  And the game may not have been that close.  It was, in a word, impressive.

It would be a reach to find a Dolphins’ player who did not have a great game.  It was that impressive.  Where do you start?

The defense would be a good place to start.  The Fins’ D held Philip Rivers & Company to 178 yards and only 10 first downs in getting the first shutout by a Dolphins’ team in 8 years.  They held the Chargers to 3.6 yards per play for the entire game in holding their time of possession to 23:53.  Add in 4 sacks and 4 turnovers, including 3 interceptions of Philip Rivers who had been picked off only 5 times in the Chargers first 8 games.  They also forced him to fumble once as the Fins won the turnover battle 4-0.  Perhaps the best indication of how the defense totally controlled Philip Rivers is that he had a QB rating of only 31.0 on the day.  The Fins’ defense not only snapped his 28-game streak of throwing at least 1 TD pass, but they also forced him to the sidelines as he was replaced by the Chargers’ backup QB after the game was out of hand.  It was truly one heck of a defensive effort.

But don’t forget the contributions of Ryan Tannehill and the Fins’ offense which put up 37 points.  Tannehill was 24 of 34 for 288 yards with 3 TDs and no INTs.  Those numbers added up to an impressive 125.6 QB rating.  He hooked up with 10 different receivers, 6 of whom caught at least 2 passes.  In what has become somewhat of a routine, he also ran the ball 4 times for 47 yards.  Only Lamar Miller had more yards on the ground for the Fins, albeit just barely.  Miller had 49 yards to show for his 11 carries.

Charles Clay had a big game hauling in 5 catches for 65 yards and a touchdown.  Jarvis Landry and Brian Hartline also caught 5 passes apiece.  Landry had a re-play aided touchdown.  He also had some nice kickoff and punt returns.  If he keeps progressing over the second half of the season, he may get some rookie of the year consideration.

The offense scored on 6 of its first 7 possessions, the lone time they walked away without any points was when Caleb Sturgis missed a 45-yard field goal attempt late in the first half.  The other negative besides Sturgis’ miss was that the offense had the ball inside the Chargers’ 10-yard line 4 times and managed only 9 points.  But when you win by 37 and outgain your opponent 441-178, it’s hard to get too picky.

So the Fins have now finished the first half of their season 5-3, thanks to their current 3-game winning streak.  They have just won the first game of a tough 4-game stretch that will likely define their season.  If they can win 2 of their next 3 (which are against the Lions, the Bills and the Broncos), the playoffs become a reachable goal as they would then be 7-4 and needing to go 3-2 in the last 5 to get to the 10-win threshold that is normally good enough to earn a playoff berth.

Meanwhile, the Fins go on the road next week when they must play the Lions who are 6-2 and should be rested and healthy coming off their bye week.  It will not be an easy task to extend their winning streak to 4-games.   That would indeed be impressive.

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