You may have seen a graphic going round social media which is highlighting a current run that the Miami Dolphins are on, that is getting close to legendary.
In Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season, away at New England, the Miami Dolphins secured two takeaways, which put them at TWENTY THREE consecutive games with a recorded takeaway.
Within that spell of 23 games, the Dolphins have amassed 40 Total takeaways, including 25 Interceptions and 15 Fumble Recoveries.
To put this in perspective, the closest team to the Dolphins in terms of Active Takeaway Streaks are the Dallas Cowboys, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins who each have a record of eight consecutive takeaway games, giving Miami a 15 game advantage!
This article looks back at this streak, looking at every takeaway in this run, starting in November of 2019…
November 24th, 2019
GAME 1 – Away at the Cleveland Browns
The streak started in 2019 with a Ryan Lewis interception from a short pass by Baker Mayfield which was tipped by Odell Beckham Jr and picked off by Lewis.
December 1st, 2019
GAME 2 – Home to the Philadelphia Eagles
With the Eagles chasing the game and trying to force plays to avoid defeat, Carson Wentz attempts a Hail Mary pass to the endzone in the final seconds, which bounced off a couple of bodies before being intercepted by Chris Lammons.
December 8th, 2019
GAME 3 – Away at the New York Jets
In a close game and with the Jets up 16-12 at the time, QB Sam Darnold takes an unnecessary risk, but didn’t account for Steven Parker, who came up field to make a jump catch interception and return the ball back for 35 yards.
December 15th, 2019
GAME 4 – Away at the New York Giants
With the game tied at 7-7 inside the 2 minute warning of the 2nd Quarter, Eli Manning makes a loose pass completely missing sight of Vince Biegel who was ideally positioned to step into the flight of the ball and claim possession for the Dolphins.
Having conceded an Field Goal from the drive after the last interception, Manning tries to redeem himself before the half, and with the final play of the half, tries a deep pass which sails over his wide receiver Golden Tate and into the hands of Miami defensive back, Nik Needham.
By 5 minutes into the 3rd Quarter, the Giants had pulled back ahead with a Touchdown and fumble recovery, before Eli Manning, again feeling pass rush pressure forced a pass down the middle completely missing sight of Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker who makes the interception in acres of space.
December 22nd, 2019
GAME 5 – Home to the Cincinnati Bengals
#7 FUMBLE RECOVERY
The Dolphins pass rush battered through a poor Bengals OLine with both Trent Harris and Vince Biegel getting to the Quarterback Andy Dalton who subsequently fumbles the football before Andrew Van Ginkel is able to recover the ball for the Dolphins.
December 29th, 2019
GAME 6 – Away at the New England Patriots
One of my favourite plays of the series as ex-Patriot Eric Rowe, steps between Tom Brady and his Wide Receiver to claim an interception before sprinting clear and extending his arm to carry the ball one handed into the endzone for the Pick-6 and the first turnover of this streak to be returned for a defensive touchdown.
#9 FUMBLE RECOVERY
With the Dolphins leading by 3 points and the Patriots out of field goal range, they attempt a series of laterals to try and work space for a crazy end of game win. But with one lateral too many, James White was met by Jerome Baker who forces the ball loose and it was recovered by Sam Eguavoen.
September 13th, 2020
GAME 7 – Away at the New England Patriots
#10 FUMBLE FOR A TOUCHBACK
With the Patriots in a commanding position and in the redzone looking to score again, a Cam Newton pass is taken in by N’Keal Harry. However Jerome Baker gets across to the receiver before he can get into the endzone and knocks the ball loose, our into the endzone and out of bounds for a Miami touchback.
September 20th, 2020
GAME 8 – Home to the Buffalo Bills
# 11 FUMBLE RECOVERY
The game tied coming into the end of the first quarter as Josh Allen completes a pass to Tight End Dawson Knox. He is challenged by Kyle Van Noy who forces the ball loose and it is recovered by rookie Noah Igbinoghene to return the ball to Miami.
September 24th, 2020
GAME 9 – Away at the Jacksonville Jaguars
#12 FUMBLE RECOVERY
With Miami already in a commanding position, Kyle Van Noy manages to get through to sack quarterback Gardiner Minshew before recovering the ball himself on the Jacksonville 5 yard line. This fumble and subsequent change of hands is capitalised on as Ryan Fitzpatrick rushes in for the Touchdown from the newly gained possession.
The game is Miami’s at this point but with Minshew trying to restore some pride for the Jaguars he attempts a few big plays to work his way down the field. Taking a shot towards the end zone he aims for the pylon and his WR Chris Conley, only to find ball hawk Xavien Howard waiting to intercept and regain possession for Miami on their own 3 yard line.
October 4th, 2020
GAME 10 – Home to the Seattle Seahawks
With Miami 17-9 down and looking unable to keep up with the advancing Seahawks, they faced a 3rd and goal on their own 6 yard line. With Russell Wilson ball in hand, taking a shot at the endzone was always going to be the play. The play came in the way of a short pass in front of the uprights intending for DK Metcalf, only for Xavien Howard to get in front and take the ball. He danced around for a few steps before taking the knee inside his own endzone.
October 11th, 2020
GAME 11 – Away at the San Francisco 49ers
In what was a huge game for the Miami Dolphins, their first of three takeaways came in the second quarter, with Miami already up 24-7. This particular interception was returned for 19 yards by Bobby McCain after a deep pass from Jimmy Garoppolo was cut out.
The very next 49er drive and Garoppolo was picked off again. After the last interception led to a Miami field goal, Xavien Howard made the play on another deep throw from Jimmy G aimed originally at Deebo Samuel. This play was returned for 29 yards and again led to another field goal drive to put Miami up 30-7 for half time.
#17 FUMBLE RECOVERY
Miami had to wait until the final 49er drive of the game to get takeaway #3 of the game and #17 of this streak, as Emmanuel Ogbah broke the protection to force a fumble from replacement QB C.J. Beathard which was recovered by DT Christian Wilkins to essentially see out the game for Miami.
October 18th, 2020
GAME 12 – Home to the New York Jets
Not only did Miami blow out the Jets in this game, but they extended their streak to 12 games as Xavien Howard racked up another interception on his way to his monumental final total, this time picking off a short Joe Flacco pass with Miami already in a commanding scoreboard position.
November 1st, 2020
GAME 13 – Home to the Los Angeles Rams
In a game that will be most remembered as Tua Tagovailoa’s first start, the Miami Dolphins gave him the perfect platform with a 4 turnover game. Starting with an interception with the Rams 7-0 up. Christian Wilkins dropped back off the defensive line to gleefully accept the turnover.
#20 FUMBLE RECOVERY
A monster turnover followed with Jarad Goff taking a humongous sack from defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. This huge hit led to a fumble which was scooped up by Andrew Van Ginkel who returned the ball 78 yards and into the endzone for a defensive Miami touchdown.
With the Rams putting a nice drive together and threatening to bring the game closer, Jerome Baker found a gap in the LA offensive line and put Jarad Goff into a hurry up throw. This was inaccurate as collected by Eric Rowe who snagged the ball before it could get to its intended target.
#22 FUMBLE RECOVERY
It happened again! Miami broke through the pass protection for QB Jarad Goff, this time outside linebacker Shaq Lawson got through, freeing the ball from Goff’s possession before it was scooped up by Kyle Van Noy who almost made it to the endzone but was halted at the 1 yard line. It eventually led to a touchdown however as Myles Gaskin ran it in on the very next snap.
November 8th, 2020
GAME 14 – Away to the Arizona Cardinals
#23 FUMBLE RECOVERY
The takeaway streak continued alongside the Dolphins mid season win streak as Tua’s Dolphins edged out Kyler Murray’s Cardinals in what most people would say was Tua’s most impressive showing to date. The takeaway came as a huge one, with the game tied at 0-0, as that man again, Emmanuel Ogbah broke the protection and stripped Kyler Murray for the fumble, before Shaq Lawson recovered it and returned it 36 yards for a defensive touchdown.
November 15th, 2020
GAME 15 – Home to the Los Angeles Chargers
In the battle of rookie QBs, Tua again came out on top after fantastic support from his defensive unit. The interception came from phenom Xavien Howard after he stole the ball from intended recipient Mike Williams and returned it for 28 yards before he was forced out of bounds.
November 22nd, 2020
GAME 16 – Away at the Denver Broncos
With the winning run coming to an abrupt end in what should have been a winnable game for Miami, the takeaway run very much continued. Again Xavien Howard grabbed the interception continuing his dominance in the Miami deep field. This time he stole in on WR Patrick and placed an interception on Drew Lock’s shoulders.
#26 FUMBLE RECOVERY
In one of the most chaotic plays of this streak, the Miami Dolphins got a huge bonus here. With Denver up by one score and on the Miami 11 yard line, running back Melvin Gordon broke and battled his way seemingly to the endzone. However before he could cross that all important line, Andrew Van Ginkel’s despairing dive managed to shake the ball free with Eric Rowe falling on top of it to end the play. Unfortunately Miami could not take advantage and turned the ball over themselves on the next drive.
November 29th, 2020
GAME 17 – Away at the New York Jets
In another dominant performance against the Jets, it was another defensive back who started the takeovers for this game. Nik Needham managed to regain possession after a loose Sam Darnold throw was intercepted by Needham before it could be taken in by Wide Receiver Jamison Crowder.
Normal service was resumed before the end of the game however as Xavien Howard got himself on the interception list. This time the Darnold pass was aimed at Breshad Perriman but Howard got there first to continue an impressive record on the season.
December 6th, 2020
GAME 18 – Home to the Cincinnati Bengals
He’s at it again! Xavien Howard is at it again. With rookie #1 draft pick Joe Burrow already on the injury list, the Bengals were starting Brandon Allen. It was his deep pass to Tyler Boyd that Howard got to this time, holding the game at 0-0 as the Bengals attempted to break into the Miami Redzone.
THIRTY!!! In the 18th game of this incredible streak, the Dolphins reached their thirtieth takeaway, but this time it wasn’t Howard and it wasn’t thrown by Allen. Ryan Finley had made his way into the game as QB and his short pass over the middle was grabbed by Nik Needham and killed any Bengals hopes of a comeback.
December 13th, 2020
GAME 19 – Home to the Kansas City Chiefs
In a game Miami ultimately lost, there was a lot of positives to shout about. QB Tua Tagovailoa went toe to toe with Patrick Mahomes in places, just coming up short. Jerome Baker had a 30 Yard sack after chasing down Mahomes, and we also picked off the former MVP QB 3 times.
The first Interception had Mahomes twisting and spinning as he looked for an uncovered read, eventually throwing only to be tipped by Andrew Van Ginkel, and into the greatful arms of Byron Jones. He sprinted forward on the attack before fumbling the ball himself, before it was greatfully covered by Emmanuel Ogbah to confirm possession for the Dolphins.
The second interception was very similar. Mahoes struggled to find a read which was free before looking inside for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. However he put the ball too high and the rookie running back could only get his fingertips on it as it bounced through to Eric Rowe who returned it for 22 yards.
#33 FUMBLE RECOVERY
In a break from interceptions, this time the Chiefs are attacking the redzone and Mahomes completes a short pass to Mecole Hardman. Byron Jones however continues his impressive day and makes a play to shake the ball loose before Kamu Gruiger-Hill can recover the ball for Miami.
Not to be outdone on the day that Miami made the MVP look human, Xavien Howard came up with the most spectacular catch of them all. Patrick Mahomes threw a deep, deep pass that was bang on target for main man Tyreek Hill and had it made it, a certain touchdown. Enter Xavien Howard who leaps majestically and pulls down a sublime one handed interception before landing in his own endzone. From touchdown to touchback via a spectacular one hand Howard grab.
December 20th, 2020
GAME 20 – Home to the New England Patriots
#35 FUMBLE RECOVERY
With the game poised on one score, and New England in possession then quarterback Cam Newton aims a throw at Jakobi Meyers which is reigned in. Xavien Howard, interception machine, again forces the turnover, however this time he gets both hands on the receiver and the shove is enough to knock the ball loose and Elandon Roberts gathers the ball for Miami.
December 26th, 2020
GAME 21 – Away at the Las Vegas Raiders
#36 FUMBLE RECOVERY
The Raiders game brought us one of the plays of the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick’s no look pass as his helmet was ripped around his shoulder. But it was almost the game the monster streak came to an end. Almost. With just seconds on the clock, Miami are yet to get a takeaway and are leading by a solitary point. At that point, the Raiders field a kick and have some fun lateral throwing the ball trying to find a gap. However the ball is fumbled and Clayton Fejedelem falls on it to end the game.
January 3rd, 2021
GAME 22 – Away at the Buffalo Bills
The final game of the season was one to forget for so many reasons as the Bills put the young Dolphins in their place and out of the playoffs. But one thing that did work out for Miami was that the streak continued.
Firstly with the interception thrown by Josh Allen, intended for Gabriel Davis on the far sideline in front of the Miami bench, but Byron Jones comes flying across to claim the ball. In initially it looks like he has carried the ball out of bounds, but on review it proves to be a smart play, expertly dragging his feet in bounds after the catch in a split second.
The final Miami takeaway of the 2020 season came from the man of the year yet again, Xavien Howard. With Matt Barkley in the game at quarterback, he dropped back from the line of scrimmage and floats one out to the right hand side. The ball drops between receiver Davis and tight end Knox and into the hands of Howard.
September 12th, 2021
GAME 23 – Away at the New England Patriots
#39 FUMBLE RECOVERY
A 9 yard gain from a Mac Jones pass to their RB Stevenson was negated as safety Eric Rowe forced a fumble which was recovered by Zach Sieler for no game. A tight game on the cards and Miami’s defense were doing their part to maintain the Miami ‘bend but don’t break’ defense.
#40 FUMBLE RECOVERY
With time ticking away, the game in the balance and New England in our redzone, Damien Harris rushes for 2 yards before Xavien Howard dislodges the ball and recovers the fumble himself to effectively end the game. In close games like this, you need your playmakers to be the difference, and in this moment, that is exactly what Howard was able to do.
So there you have it, 23 games, and 40 turnovers later. This Miami defense is one that is gaining momentum and reputation. This run could go on a little while yet, or it could end on Sunday. However they have made their mark, players have earned their contract extensions and most importantly they have contributed.
23 games and counting… bring it on Buffalo.