Things seem to be getting worse and worse for the Miami Dolphins as they progress through the first month of the season. After looking bad in a Week 1 win over the Redskins, Miami lost a close game to the lowly Jaguars during Week 2 before getting trampled by the Bills last weekend. Considering the high expectations that surrounded the team heading into the season, this could be the most disappointing 1-2 start in Dolphins history.
Focusing on Sunday’s debacle against Buffalo, it was about as ugly a game as you could see. It was the worst home opener for Miami in the team’s 50 years of existence. Though the team as a whole played quite poorly, there were still a couple of good performances from guys wearing aqua and orange. Before moving on to the Dolphins next game against the Jets in London, here are the top performers from the loss to the Bills.
The Running Backs: Lamar Miller and Jonas Gray
As we’ve seen through the first three games of the season, Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor abandoned the running game as soon as Miami fell behind. Miller carried the ball just seven times (7-38) while Gray was handed the ball nine times (9-49). In their extremely limited work, both Miller and Gray did a good job. They combined for 87 yards on the ground, averaging 5.4 yards per carry both individually and as a duo. Miller also added three receptions for 27 yards. It was the first time this season that the running game showed any signs of life, and that’s especially encouraging considering it was against the stout Bills’ defense.
The guy who wanted to be traded due to thinking that he’d get lost among the Dolphins deep receiving corps continues to be one of the few bright spots on the team. He cracked 100 yards for the second straight week, catching six passes on 10 targets for 113 yards and two touchdowns. On the season he has 16 receptions on 23 targets for 262 yards and three touchdowns. The yards and touchdowns are both tops on the team. Matthews has also proven to be the Dolphins lone ‘big play’ threat, averaging 16.4 yards per reception.
Similar to Matthews on offense, Reshad Jones has been one of the only good things to come from the Dolphins defense so far this season. He again led the team in tackles last week with nine while adding a pass defended. On the season Jones has made six more tackles (32) than the next highest guy on the list, linebacker Jelani Jenkins (26). Miami’s secondary has been shredded over the past two weeks, but the majority of the damage has been done by opposing teams targeting whichever side of the field Brice McCain and Walt Aikens are on.
Miami’s undrafted rookie punter is proving to be one of the best young legs in the NFL. He’s consistently been booming kicks down the field but has also shown finesse by landing punts inside the opponents 20-yard line when given the opportunity. Against the Bills Darr had four punts, three of which he booted inside their 20 while still averaging 49.0 yards per kick and having a long of 59 yards. On the season Darr is 3rd in the league with a 50.1 yard average, 7th in net yardage with 42.7 and 9th in total yards with 702.
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