MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins run defense has been one of the biggest revelations this season for the team. After shutting down some of the league’s elite runners, the St. Louis Rams come to town Sunday with another one of the NFL’s best rushers in Steven Jackson.
So far this season, Miami has yet to allow a team to run for more than 100 yards in a game. The domination of the running game has allowed the Dolphins defense to turns teams into a one-dimensional attack and helped the Fins develop the pass rush.
Jackson has been one of the more reliable running backs in the NFL over his nine-year career, all spent in St. Louis. This season, Jackson has run the ball 77 times for 271 yards, or roughly 3.5 yards per carry. Getting Jackson and the running game going early will be key for St. Louis and quarterback Sam Bradford.
The former number one overall pick out of Oklahoma, Bradfrod has thrown for more than 1,022 yards this season, completes roughly 58 percent of his passes and has thrown for six touchdowns, but also five interceptions in 2012.
Bradford struggled the last three weeks, but still managed to pull out two victories in the three games. His worst performance came against Chicago where he passed for just 152 yards and two interceptions, and finished the game with a 39.2 quarterback rating.
Last weekend against the Arizona Cardinals, Bradford was 7-21 for 141 yards, 2 touchdowns, and one interception.
“They’re doing a heck of a job on defense, and offensively I’m very familiar with a lot of the young skill guys that they have,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill also has a healthy respect for the Rams defense, which shut down Arizona’s offense last week, holding them to just three points in the game.
“They’re a good defense,” Tannehill said. “I think they have a good pass rush. They have two good edge rushers in (Chris) Long and (Robert) Quinn, two long guys that play hard the entire game. (They) play a little different backer system than we’ve seen from any other team, with a deep middle backer.”
Tannehill continued, “(We’ve) got to be able to protect against those guys and they’ve got guys that play hard in the secondary in (Cortland) Finnegan and linebackers that can really run. It’s a tough team to run against.”