Grading Dolphins’ squeaker win over Steelers; plus top off, inventory down – The Mercury Information


The three-game shedding streak is over, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and left deal with Terron Armstead are again, and now the Dolphins can concentrate on piling up just a few wins. Effectively, that’s what folks thought earlier than the Dolphins’ 16-10 victory over Pittsburgh.

Truly, the thought stays the identical, however now folks notice these victories is perhaps a bit more durable. Sure, the following two video games are in opposition to Detroit (1-5) and Chicago (2-4), however they’re each on the street, and the Dolphins proceed piling up accidents and struggling to attain factors.

Nonetheless, a victory is healthier than a loss, so the Dolphins will take this, rejoice their defensive prowess, hope higher days are forward for the offense, and maintain it shifting.

Passing recreation: C

It was so-so. The largest drawback was they didn’t rating sufficient touchdowns, and that’s whereas acknowledging operating again Raheem Mostert had an 8-yard landing reception within the first quarter in opposition to Pittsburgh. Tagovailoa (21 of 35, 261 yards, one landing, no interceptions, 92.7 passer ranking) was OK, however nothing particular. Extensive receivers Tyreek Hill (seven receptions, 72 yards) and Jaylen Waddle (4 receptions, 88 yards) have been productive. However operating again Chase Edmonds had yet one more drop. Cross safety was excellent, marked by the return of Armstead. Tagovailoa wasn’t sacked and was solely hit as soon as. However this group completely should produce extra touchdowns. The Dolphins have 17 touchdowns (16 by the offense; linebacker Melvin Ingram has a landing), and 12 of these are through the air. However that’s additionally simply 12 touchdowns in 28 quarters, and that’s not sufficient when your operating recreation isn’t scoring touchdowns, both.

Operating recreation: C

Mostert ended with 79 yards on 16 carries (4.9 yards per carry), fueling a floor recreation that totaled 111 yards on 27 carries (4.1 ypc). However Edmonds was stonewalled on a questionable fourth-and-3 name. Nonetheless, the bottom recreation was constant, totaling 66 yards on 12 carries within the first half. Blocking was good, which was one other concern. Give credit score to the offensive line, operating backs, tight ends and vast receivers. It’s a bunch factor. The issue right here is Miami must get to a spot the place the operating recreation is dependable, and it’s not there. You knew it could take some time, and so they nonetheless is perhaps on schedule. In spite of everything, Mostert has proven indicators of springing to life because the Cincinnati recreation, averaging 78 yards per recreation. However they want it now.

Defending the go: A+

The depth within the secondary continues to impress. Three interceptions, together with two within the remaining 2:57, one by security Jevon Holland and the opposite by cornerback Noah Igbinoghene on the 1-yard line with 18 seconds left. The primary interception belonged to cornerback Justin Bethel. Neither Igbinoghene nor Bethel had obtained common taking part in time earlier than the Steelers recreation (though Igbinoghene had performed not too long ago). The go rush produced two sacks, with linebacker Jaelan Phillips (1.5 sacks) main the best way, together with defensive deal with Christian Wilkins (.5 sacks). The go rush produced six quarterback hits however not a number of stress on Kenny Pickett (32 of 44, 257 yards, one landing, three interceptions, 66.2 passer ranking). Extensive receiver George Pickens (six receptions, 61 yards, one landing) was stored underneath management, which is spectacular contemplating the Dolphins’ secondary entered the sport with out cornerbacks Byron Jones (Achilles), Nik Needham (Achilles), Kader Kohou (indirect) and Keion Crossen (knee), and through the recreation they misplaced security Brandon Jones (knee). Guys similar to safeties Verone McKinley, Clayton Fejedelem, Eric Rowe and Elijiah Campbell got here off the bench and made performs. Completely superb.

Defending the run: B-

Pittsburgh operating again Najee Harris (65 yards on 17 carries, 3.8 ypc) is succesful, however he was stored underneath management. Linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel produced a team-best eight tackles, however Phillips additionally produced eight tackles, sharing the group lead. Fejedelem had a key cease on Harris on third-and-1 early within the fourth quarter. The Steelers had 19 first downs, however solely 4 on the bottom. The Steelers ended with 95 yards dashing on 23 carries (4.1 ypc) however they didn’t have many runs of consequence. This was yet one more instance of the protection setting the tone for the group however merely doing its job. It wasn’t fancy, nevertheless it was constant and efficient.

Particular groups: B

It was good to see enchancment right here. Kicker Jason Sanders hit three discipline objectives (24, 42 and 47 yards) to stay an ideal 8 for 8 on makes an attempt of lower than 50 yards. Punter Thomas Morstead was robust once more with six punts that averaged 42.7 yards, together with 4 contained in the 20. Extensive receiver Cedrick Wilson made an uneventful debut at punt returner, however he added an alternative choice apart from Holland, Hill and Waddle. Protection models have been strong. Particular groups typically get affected when the damage bug goes across the group because it’s doing with Dolphins, and that’s surfaced not too long ago. However particular groups have been good in opposition to Pittsburgh.

Teaching: C

That fourth-and-3 name. Yikes. Coach Mike McDaniel rolled the cube at a nasty time, whereas clinging to a 16-10 lead with 8:37 left within the third quarter on the Pittsburgh 14-yard line. He ought to have kicked the sphere purpose. However it labored out. Within the grand scheme of issues, give the coaches credit score for getting guys able to play. That’s enormous. It’s actually obvious on the protection, but additionally reveals on the offensive line with proper deal with Brandon Shell. Particular groups turned in a very good efficiency, and the Dolphins cleaned up the penalty points that haunted them the previous couple of video games. Nonetheless, the offense struggled to attain, and that’s a serious difficulty, particularly when you’ve Hill and Waddle.

Top off: Secondary

They returned to their game-changing, game-winning fashion. Three interceptions, and people remaining two within the fourth quarter by Holland and Igbinoghene have been completely clutch. They received the sport. These guys proceed to search out methods to go deep into their ranks and make performs. They’re simply probably the most spectacular group on the group. The secondary is a testomony to gamers, coaches and the entrance workplace. Effectively achieved throughout.

Inventory down: Offense

You’ve gotta rating extra factors. Mostert was good with 109 yards from scrimmage and one landing. Hill was good with seven receptions for 72 yards, and Waddle was good with 4 receptions for 88 yards. On one hand, there have been accidents, and also you figured it would take the offense half the season to search out its id. However, you’ve acquired Tyreek Hill! The protection has gotten the job achieved. Determine it out.


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