NOTEBOOK: Rookie DE Jordan Makes An Impact; Other Notes

Posted Oct 6, 2013

Miami’s first-round draft pick helps force game-tying interception.

All of the television stations will show the highlight of safety Reshad Jones intercepting a wobbly Joe Flacco pass and running untouched into the end zone for his first career touchdown. But without defensive end Dion Jordan’s effort that play never happens.

The 6-foot-6, 260-pound rookie out of Oregon was taken third overall back in April precisely for what he can do on passing downs from the edge. So when Flacco lined up in the shotgun on 3rd-and-22 with the ball at his own 9 clinging to a 23-16 lead, Jordan knew this was his chance to make an impact play. He got off the ball quicker than Ravens left tackle Bryant McKinnie could react, came around the end and reached out to get a piece of the ball at the last second, popping it up high so Jones could field it like an outfielder.

“It was the same rush I was doing the whole game,” said Jordan, who nearly picked off a screen pass on the previous play. “I understood the situation. It was late in the game and I just had to be on my best pass rush and I got up under the guy and reached for the ball and fortunately I was long enough to get enough of a tip on the ball to where he just floated it. I saw the ball flying up in the air and Reshad was in the perfect place and he took it back. It was a big play for our team.”

With two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake on the sideline the majority of the game after starting, it was up to Jordan, Derrick Shelby and Olivier Vernon to pick up the slack in the pass rush. He had been eased into the lineup while he continued to recover from a shoulder injury but showed off his potential in this game.

McKinnie had to resort to tying him up around the neck and shoulders to slow him down and Jordan still managed to collapse the pocket a few times, allowing his teammates to sack Flacco twice. Outside linebacker Koa Misi got one of those sacks for an 11-yard loss and added eight tackles (seven solo) with three for losses and one quarterback hurry. He credited Jordan with sparking the defense all afternoon.

“Dion’s playing great,” Misi said. “He’s young and definitely stepping it up. He’s getting better every day and he’s been learning a lot so he’ll definitely be good for us this year. He’s a fast rusher off the edge with long length, he drops into coverage, watches the running back and he’s been good for our defense.”

Film study also paid off for the rookie on the play before the interception when he anticipated Ravens running back Ray Rice coming out of the backfield for a screen. Jordan dropped with him and was in better position to catch the pass for an interception but it bounced off of his hands and onto the ground.

As much as he relies on instinct, Jordan was happy to see that his homework paid off and he plans on doing a lot more studying during the time off on the bye while not getting complacent.

“I still have work to do and it’s early in the year,” Jordan said. “I still have to get after the quarterback and I still have to make plays in the run game and on special teams. I made one play today and I’ve got to just continue. I was real close (on the screen) but it came out so quick and I just wasn’t ready.”

Jordan plans to be ready the next time.

Statistical milestones

Jones’ interception return was the first interception returned for a score by Miami since Kevin Burnett did so on December 4th, 2011 against the Oakland Raiders. It was also the first interception returned for a touchdown by a safety since Brock Marion ran one back 100 yards against Buffalo on January 6th, 2002. … Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace’s 49-yard reception in the second quarter was the longest of his Dolphins career and the longest since a 60-yard reception against the Dallas Cowboys on December 16th, 2012 when he played for the Pittsburgh Steelers. … Wallace’s six catches for 99 yards in the first half were the third highest total in a first half of his career. … Wallace went over 100 receiving yards on his first catch of the second half, giving him two 100-yard receiving games this season. He caught nine passes for 115 yards at Indianapolis in Week 2. … Defensive end Olivier Vernon recorded a sack in consecutive games for the first time in his career when he dropped Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco for a 7-yard loss in the second quarter.

Injury notes

Miami’s defense got beat up a little in this game as middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe suffered a shoulder injury in the first half and cornerback Nolan Carroll injured his ribs in the third quarter. Both players were questionable to return but Carroll did make it back in the game later in the quarter.


Miami is on its bye week after this and returns to Sun Life Stadium on October 20th to host the Buffalo Bills at 1 p.m., in the first divisional game of the season.
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