The Miami rebuild is alive and well. Entering the Dolphin’s Week 13 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, many experts pinned the Chiefs to pick up another victory on their way to hoisting up another super bowl trophy. However, what no one saw coming was the competitive fire displayed by the Miami Dolphins.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 14, 2020
In this clash between two AFC heavyweights, we saw the Miami Dolphins claw their way from a 20-point deficit. To do so, their defense had to contain Kansas City’s high octane offense throughout the game. To some degree, they did, forcing two interceptions off of Patrick Mahomes.
They followed up their performance against the Kansas City Chiefs by picking up a crucial win in their quest to make the NFL playoffs against their division rival, the New England Patriots. Beating the Patriots, a team that has ruled the AFC East throughout the Belichick-Brady era, was another significant win over a team that has haunted them throughout the years.
Dolphins grades and stock up, stock down from win over Patriots https://t.co/C9BEOlUemx
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) December 22, 2020
The Dolphin’s resilience and grittiness against the Kansas City Chiefs to go along with their week 14 win against their long-time rival, New England Patriots, have only proven how legit the Miami Dolphins have become in such a quick time.
Now, in Year Two of their rebuild, the Dolphins are heading in the right direction.
Head coach Brian Flores has his team in the thick of the playoff race as they currently sit at 9-5, which is good for the seventh and final playoff spot in the AFC.
One of the bright spots for the Dolphins is their defense. The Dolphins defense through Week 15 ranked first in third-down percentage at 33%, second in points allowed per game, eighth in sacks per pass attempt, and ninth in red-zone percentage.
The #Dolphins are No. 1 in scoring defense (18.4 PPG).
If Miami finishes No. 1, it will become the first team since the season expanded to 16 games (1978) to finish last in scoring defense one season and first the following season.
— Jeff Kerr (@JeffKerrCBS) December 23, 2020
Furthermore, their 13 interceptions are tied for third-most in the NFL. They’re also allowing just 18.4 points per game too. Their secondary is led by pro bowl cornerback Xaiven Howard. Howard, who has been selected to be a pro bowler in 2020, has nine interceptions on the season and is considered one of the league’s top cornerbacks.
Another interesting wrinkle for the Miami rebuild is quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
The Dolphins took Tua with the fifth pick in the NFL draft after he suffered a right hip injury that forced him to miss his final season at Alabama. Regardless, Tagovailoa has thrown 1,959 yards and nine touchdowns with two interceptions through 15 games.
Tua has showcased that he can run the Dolphin’s offense while flashing the greatness he showed at Alabama. His strong performances consist of the Dolphin’s loss against the Chiefs, in which Tua threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns, and his second start against the Arizona Cardinals, where he threw for two touchdowns.
— The Phinsider (@thephinsider) December 18, 2020
If Tagovailoa can continue to grow alongside Miami’s offensive unit, the Dolphin’s offense has a chance of catching up with their defense. This could make them a Superbowl contender in the coming years.
It wasn’t long ago that the Miami rebuild began.
After firing head coach, Adam Gase, who led the team to a 6-10 record, the team started trading big pieces. Ryan Tannehill was quickly dealt to the Tennesee Titans, Laremy Tumsil to the Houston Texans, and many more.
Brian Flores arrives as a potential winner for the Coach of the Year due to his work in Miami, taking the franchise from 5-11 to potentially making the playoffs. It also helps to know Miami has a top ten pick in the 2021 NFL draft by way of the Laremy Tunsil trade.