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The Blitz: Balance and Efficiency

December 23, 2020

Christmas is coming, and so too is the penultimate regular season game for your Miami Dolphins. Today on the Blitz, we examine the Dolphins ground game nearly accomplishing something the franchise has not done since 1975, the offensive line's big day, Tua Tagovailoa's accuracy, and preparing for two quarterbacks.

Injury Report

The first injury report for the Week 16 Dolphins-Raiders game will be available later today.

They Said It

The Dolphins were just 14 Matt Breida rushing yards away from seeing two running backs eclipse the 100-yard milestone Sunday. The last time the Dolphins had a pair of 100-yard rushers was 1975 when Mercury Morris (125) and Don Nottingham (103) both went for triple digits in a 31-7 win over the Green Bay Packers

"The more the better," Ahmed said. "We want all the running backs to hit 100 yards if they can. We're all our biggest support in that room. We all want each other to go out there and do whatever we can. We all need help. We can't be in there every play. Guys like Matt, he stepped up and he did his thing, and I'm not surprised by it."

Tuesday, Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey detailed his scouting report on Ahmed and the benefit of having the experience of Running Backs Coach Eric Studesville.

"He's got some awareness about blocks," Gailey said. "I think Eric does a great job of teaching running backs about the theory of defense and defenders and how they see things. These guys are starting to learn those little things that are going to make the difference in being an average back or a good back, and then maybe eventually a great back when it's all over with."

The 122-yard performance from Ahmed earned him a nomination for Pepsi Rookie of the Week. Cast your vote now!

Around the Beat

The context behind Miami's season-best 250 rushing yards on Sunday makes the performance even more impressive. The first game without usual starting left guard Ereck Flowers, and later losing rookie Solomon Kindley, forced the Dolphins to go deeper down the bench than at any other time this season to fill out the lineup up front.

Second-year lineman Michael Deiter saw his first offensive action of the season after playing 800 snaps as a rookie in 2019.

Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald has more

"We didn't skip a beat," Karras said of Deiter. "I was very happy for him to come in and play and play in a big moment and play really well. I think the film really speaks to the preparation and the hard work that he has put in these last five or six months in a different role. Coming into a game and playing really well, I was really happy for him."

Dolphins On Social

On this Day in Dolphins History

December 23, 2012 – The Dolphins defeat the Buffalo Bills 24-10 behind two touchdowns from Reggie Bush at Sun Life Stadium. His 12-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the third quarter put Miami out in front 21-3, with the defense taking care of the rest. Safety Reshad Jones intercepted a pass and recovered two fumbles as Miami turns over Buffalo four times.

Stat of the Day

According to Sports Info Solutions, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had his most accurate day throwing the football. Of his 26 throws, 24 were graded as catchable passes, vaulting the rookie into seventh in the NFL in terms of catchable pass percentage (78.6 percent).

It was the first start in Tagovailoa's career without a touchdown pass, but also the first multi-rushing touchdown game of the rookie's career. After the first touchdown scamper, the rookie consulted the wise veteran, Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Know the Raiders

In relief of starting quarterback Derrek Carr, Marcus Mariota threw 226 yards in the Raiders' Week 15 overtime loss to the Chargers. The 226 yards were Mariota's most since Week 3 of the 2019 season when he was a member of the Tennessee Titans.

Las Vegas has yet to announce their starting quarterback for the game as Carr is on the mend from a groin injury that knocked him out of the lineup. Regardless, the Dolphins are preparing for all possibilities.

"Obviously we're going to do our due diligence on Derek Carr, we're going to do it on Mariota and we'll study (Nathan) Peterman, too, as well," Defensive Coordinator Josh Boyer said. "Usually, backups, no matter – it's not exclusive to the quarterback position, but there's usually differences. So we have to make our players aware of what we feel like their strengths are, what we feel like some things that they might struggle with and then we definitely have to be aware of who's in the game."

Content on Tap

It's preview day both on MiamiDolphins.com and the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield. We'll dive into the Week 16 matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders as the Dolphins search to secure a double-digit-win season for the first time since 2016.

Plus, we'll hear from Head Coach Brian Flores, Tagovailoa and a few more Dolphins players. As we do daily, we'll cover it all on the day's Top News story.

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