NOTEBOOK: Career Rushing Effort By Miller; Other Notes

Posted Oct 27, 2013

Second-year back’s solid performance was overshadowed in defeat.

Knowing that a ball control offense was going to be the best defense against the New England Patriots, the Miami Dolphins found creative ways to spark the running game and second-year running back Lamar Miller was the biggest spark.

Running with a purpose and utilizing his quickness and vision, Miller exploited New England’s run defense for a career-high 89 yards on 18 carries for an average of 4.94 yards per carry. His 63 rushing yards in a dominant first half by Miami forced the Patriots to respect his abilities and back off on blitzing quarterback Ryan Tannehill, which allowed Tannehill to throw two touchdown passes en route to a 17-3 lead after one half of football.

“I’ve still got a lot of room for improvement,” said Miller, who now has 354 rushing yards on the season. “I’ve still got to get better as a player and we’ve just got to move forward as a team and get ready for Thursday (against the Cincinnati Bengals at home).”

Miller’s breakout performance came one week after Daniel Thomas started ahead of him at home against the Buffalo Bills and carried the ball 12 times to Miller’s nine. Today he doubled Thomas’ carries, but Thomas provided a good 1-2 punch with 47 yards, including a big 15-yard run on a 4th-and-1 in the second quarter, for a 5.2 yards-per-carry average and one touchdown reception.

By game’s end the Dolphins had rushed for a season-high 176 yards, just 16 fewer yards than Tannehill threw for (22-of-42 for 192 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions). Tannehill had a 12-yard scramble and wide receiver Mike Wallace picked up eight yards on an end around but Miller and Thomas were the catalysts on the ground and appreciative of the job done up front by the offensive line.

“The offensive line did a great job of opening up the lanes for me and Daniel Thomas and we just tried to help this team for the most part,” Miller said. “They did their assignments to open up the road game.”

McKinnie makes his debut as a Dolphin

Veteran left tackle Bryant McKinnie proved to be a quick study after joining the team last Tuesday following a trade that sent him from the Baltimore Ravens to Miami. The 12th-year former Miami Hurricane started the game on the left side and Jonathan Martin moved to right tackle in place of veteran Tyson Clabo and the two combined with the rest of the offensive line to hold New England without a quarterback sack of Tannehill the entire first half.

“To be here for a couple of days, I think I did a good job,” said McKinnie, who won a Super Bowl with the Ravens last season. “I didn’t want to jump offsides and I did a good job with Pouncey and Richie communicating. They helped me out a lot and that’s my first step because I’ve been here for four or five days. It only gets better from here. I’ve got more time to learn.”

His quarterback came away impressed with his new left tackle.

“I think he did a good job,” Tannehill said. “It’s tough coming in learning a full offense in a week and being thrown onto the field but I think he did a good job.”

Statistical milestones

Running back Lamar Miller’s 63 rushing yards in the first half set a new career high for the second-year player out of the University of Miami. His previous high was 57 yards at New Orleans on September 30th. … Running back Daniel Thomas’ 5-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter was just the second of his career. He caught a 10-yard touchdown pass at the Cleveland Browns as a rookie on September 25th, 2011. … Dimitri Patterson’s third interception of the season on New England’s opening drive gave Miami eight on the season, just two shy of the 16-game total last year. … Wide receiver Brandon Gibson’s 4-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter was the 13th of his career and fourth of the season and he has recorded at least one touchdown reception in back-to-back games. … That scoring pass also marked the first time since the Dolphins’ game at Indianapolis in Week 2 that they scored a touchdown in the first quarter. … Defensive tackle Jared Odrick’s two sacks of Tom Brady give him 14 for his career and it was the first multi-sack of game his career. … Kicker Caleb Sturgis’ 52-yard field goal in the second quarter gave him three of more than 50 yards on the season, just one shy of the franchise record held by Dan Carpenter (2010) and Olindo Mare (2003). … Sturgis is the first rookie kicker to convert three field goals from beyond 50 yards… Safety Jimmy Wilson recorded his first sack of the season and third of his career when he stripped the ball from Brady in the fourth quarter. … Miami’s defense held Brady to just 25 passing yards in the first half, the third-lowest total of his career for a first half. His 38.0 passer rating was the eighth lowest of his career for a first half.


Miami returns home on a short week to host the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night at Sun Life Stadium on Halloween at 8:25 p.m.

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