Monday, January 18, 2021

Miami Dolphins Beat Rams Thanks To Big Defensive Plays

Tua Time is officially underway. The rookie quarterback got a win on his first game as a starter. The Miami Dolphins beat the Los Angeles Rams 28-17, with defense playing a big part in the win.

Tua had a steady NFL debut. It wasn’t spectacular and equally wasn’t a disaster. Tua threw for 93 passing yards and a 54.5% completion rate (12 from 22).

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 01: Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins looks to pass against the Los Angeles Rams during their NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium on November 01, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Whilst he didn’t have the numbers we were hoping for, he didn’t need to be at his best due to the brilliant performance of the Miami Dolphins defense.

The game was fairly comfortable for the Miami Dolphins, but it didn’t start the best

On just the second play of his first drive, Tua Tagovailoa was sacked by Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and this caused a fumble.

Aaron Donald getting to Tua Tagovailoa.

The Rams made the most of this, with wide receiver Robert Woods scoring on a Jet sweep play.

However, the Rams wouldn’t score a touchdown again until the fourth quarter and only got three points combined in the second and third quarter.

This is largely due to the Miami defense.

Miami Dolphins’ Big Defensive Plays

In total, the Miami Dolphins recorded two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, one which resulted in a touchdown by Andrew Van Ginkel. The defense also recorded two interceptions and two sacks. Miami defensive lineman Christian Wilkins got his first career interception.

Andrew Van Ginkel running for his touchdown.

This was made even more of an important play as Miami then capitalised on this with the only touchdown pass of the day for Tagovailoa. Tua threw a nice pass for 15 yards for Jakeem Grant which put the Dolphins in the redzone. Three plays later, Tua found Devante Parker in the end zone to bring the Dolphins level.

This sequence of events really set the tone for the game, as it gave the Miami defense confidence to know that the Rams can be easily got at.

Cooper Kupp did record 110 yards from 11 receptions but there were some further big stoppages later in the game which meant that Kupp’s yardage didn’t cost the Miami Dolphins a win.

One example of an important third down stoppage was Byron Jones stopping Rams receiver Josh Reynolds catching a Jared Goff pass. The punt that followed was caught by Jakeem Grant who ran for 88 yards and a touchdown.

Teammates congratulate Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jakeem Grant (19) after Grant scored a touchdown, during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

There were further pressure put on the Rams quarterback. Shaq Lawson sacked Goff and Van Noy picked up the ball for a 28 yard gain with the ball ending up in the one yard line, which was ran in for the end zone by Myles Gaskin.

Overall, this is a result that Miami Dolphins players can build on. This was the game, for me, that announced the team’s defense to the NFL.

Brian Flores was brought in from the New England Patriots as a defensive minded coach and his defense is certainly making some noises in the league after what we have seen these past three games.

A rookie quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa can also use this game as a way to build on his game. He will know he didn’t have an exceptionally good game, but this can be allowed as he is just a rookie.

The Arizona Cardinals await next, who have been one of the most exciting offenses in the league.

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