The Dan Campbell era has gotten off to about as good of a start as Miami Dolphins fans could’ve hoped for.
After beating the Tennessee Titans in a dominating road win last weekend Miami returned home and trounced the Houston Texans, playing a first half that was the better than any in franchise history.
The turnaround is truly remarkable considering how poor the team looked during the first four weeks of the season.
Campbell and the Dolphins were viewing Sunday’s home game against Houston as their new home opener, disregarding the ugly loss to Buffalo at Sun Life Stadium back in September.
Miami is now 2-0 with Campbell at the helm. They are playing better than any Dolphins team in recent memory, but now the question is how long they will be able to sustain playing at such a high level.
A big test is coming up on Thursday night against the undefeated New England Patriots, but before we get to that here are the top performers from Miami’s 44-26 win over the Texans.
If there is any player who is benefitting from the Dolphins coaching change, it’s Lamar Miller. Before Campbell took over as head coach, Miller was averaging just 9.2 carries and 32.7 yards per game with zero touchdowns on the season.
In the two games since, he’s carried the ball 33 times and picked up 288 yards and two rushing touchdowns, and keep in mind that Miller didn’t play a full four quarters in either game as the Dolphins were blowing out both opponents in the second half.
On Sunday against the Texans Miller only played in the first half, but that didn’t stop him from having a monster afternoon. He carried the ball 14 times, picking up 175 yards and a touchdown while adding three receptions for 61 yards and another touchdown.
Miami’s quarterback was about as perfect as you can get on Sunday. Tannehill completed 18 of 19 passes for 282 yards and four touchdowns, all in the first half. His last pass was the incomplete one, but that came after he made a little history.
Bridging last week’s win over Tennessee and this week’s win over Houston, Tannehill completed 25 straight passes, setting an NFL record for consecutive completions. He finished Sunday’s game with a perfect passer rating of 158.3, the highest any quarterback can achieve in an NFL game.
In two games under Campbell, Tannehill has completed 40 of 48 passes for 548 yards and six touchdowns for a combined passer rating of 128.0.
It isn’t just the offensive players who are benefiting from the Dolphins coaching change. Suh had his best game with Miami on Sunday, recording six tackles, two sacks (his first with the team), three tackles for loss, two passes defended and three quarterback hits.
During the two games under Campbell, the Dolphins defensive front has looked the way many thought they would from the beginning of the year, which is downright dominant. Miami had just one sack through the first four games of the season. Now they have 11 sacks through six games.
As a rookie last season, Landry established himself as one of the better possession receivers in the league. This season he’s on his way to becoming one of the best after-the-catch guys that the NFL has seen in years. It’s truly amazing watching him make move after move, causing defenders to miss tackles almost every time he touches the ball.
Landry caught five passes on Sunday, picking up 83 yards and a pair of impressive touchdowns. His first score was something that will play on highlight reels all season, catching the ball along the left sideline and proceeding to make almost the entire Texans defense miss tackles as he worked his way back to the right side of the field before finishing the play with a sharp cut to reach the end zone.
The way Jones’ season is going, it would be a travesty if he isn’t selected to the Pro Bowl. He leads the Dolphins in tackles with 59, which is 19 more than the next highest guy (Koa Misi and Jelani Jenkins are tied with 40). Jones ranks sixth in the NFL in tackles.
He’s also tied with Brent Grimes for the team lead in interceptions with two, but Jones has the advantage for returning both of his picks to the house.
Sunday against Houston Jones finished with a team-high eight tackles, two passes defended, one tackle for loss and an interception that he returned for a touchdown. He is the only player in Dolphins history to return an interception for a touchdown in back-to-back games.
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