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Three Takeaways: Dolphins Improve to 4-1, Defeat Giants 31-16

Another lopsided victory at Hard Rock Stadium gives Miami best start since 2003.

Hard Rock Stadium has been one of the best homefield advantages in the NFL. Winners in 14 of their last 16 at home, Miami climbs back into the driver's seat of the AFC East at 4-1. That mark is tied for best in the conference with the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Here are three takeaways from the Dolphins 31-16 win over the Giants.

1. Speed Thrills

Next Gen Stats' fastest ball carriers leaderboard is exclusively for members of the Miami Dolphins. Tyreek Hill, De’Von Achane and Raheem Mostert own each of the top five spots with speeds eclipsing 21.6 miles per hour. Seven of the top nine speeds belong to South Florida's preeminent track team.

Two of top five speeds occurred Sunday in Miami's victory over the Giants. With another layer developing off Miami's sprint motion package, Hill hit the breaks to grab a screen pass from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The rest was up to Hill as he weaved his way through New York defenders for a 64-yard strike, becoming the only ball carrier to top 22 miles per hour this season (22.01).

Earlier in the quarter, Achane showed the defense his taillights with a blazing 76-yard gallop to paydirt. Below is the GPS tracking of the play. It's evident watching the play live, but this gives a true indicator of the angle – or absence of an angle – available for the rookie to hit a home run up the sideline.

Achane trails only San Francisco's Christian McCaffrey in rushing yards this season (510 to 460) but has done so on 61 fewer carries than the league leader. Hill leads the NFL with his 651 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Tagovailoa paces the NFL in several categories including his 1,614 passing yards, the most ever by a Dolphins quarterback through five games.

2. Quarterback and Play Caller

Every kid who has touched a football has drawn up plays in the sand with his pals in the backyard. Now, imagine doing that with 70,000 raucous fans watching live and millions around the world tuning in. That's what Tua Tagovailoa did – sort of – when he found the Cheetah for a 69-yard scoring strike.

Hill saw just one snap in the game without help from a half-field safety and he made the most of it. His release at the line of scrimmage gave Tagovailoa an opening to hit him in-stride downfield for six.

The genesis of the play? Let's go to QB1 for that.

"I called the wrong play," Tagovailoa said with a laugh. "I called my own play. You guys might want to ask Mike about that one, but it was the wrong play call."

Alright, what say you, Mike (McDaniel)?

"I was like, hey, let's see what play caller Tua has for us," he said. "That's one of the moments that in the story of his journey that is indicative of where he's at. I just know the way that we were able to move the ball a little bit and then those turnovers and the picks, last year it would have been hard to get him out of that, just how mad he would be at himself and all the disciplined work that he's done with mind, body and soul, to be in a moment like that and just take the game into his own hands, that's what you're trying to build."

With Tagovailoa at the controls, the Dolphins have gained 2,568 yards through the first five games of the season – the most in NFL history.

3. Meet me at the Quarterback

The best complement a defense can pay to an explosive offense is to unleash a furious pass rush. That's exactly what the Dolphins did Sunday as they flustered the Giants offense in the process of holding Big Blue out of the end zone.

The Dolphins are tied for third in the NFL with 17 sacks and lead the league with 43 quarterback hits this year.

The Miami defense was stifling Sunday. It allowed just nine points and held the Giants to 268 yards on 68 plays, good for just 3.94 yards per play. Comparatively, the Miami offense averaged 10.48 yards per play in the win.

For more analysis, takeaways and breakdowns, download the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield, available on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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