The Dolphins' continued their turnaround on Sunday with a 20-9 victory over the New York Giants. In doing so, Miami became the second team to put together a five-game win streak after enduring a seven-game slide within the same season. The 1994 Giants are the only other team to have accomplished that feat, rattling off six consecutive victories after dropping the previous seven contests.
Miami can match that mark with a win at home vs. the Jets in two weeks, but today we're examining the second five-game run under Head Coach Brian Flores, who stretched his post-Halloween record to 17-6 with Sunday's victory.
As always, for further analysis, download the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield.
1. Five Games, 55 Points Allowed
It's difficult to win scoring just 11 points in a game -- that's the mark Miami has held its opponents to on average during the five-game winning streak. The best part of all, they're doing it exactly to Brian Flores' vision. Players are taking their turn in the spotlight and the comprehensive result is a total team effort that is smothering opposing offenses, starting on early downs.
Miami is allowing 5.11 yards per play on first down, 10th-best in the NFL this season. Since Week 9 -- the start of the winning streak -- Miami is tops at 4.19 yards per first down play. That early down success tees up the splash plays later in the series. Emmanuel Ogbah (19), Andrew Van Ginkel (18) and Jaelan Phillips (16) all rank inside the top 15 in the league in QB hits, and three players rank inside the top 20 in passes defensed -- Xavien Howard (14), Emmanuel Ogbah (9), Jevon Holland (9).
In the midst of a complementary, comprehensive team style that has led to a winning streak, the Dolphins defense is getting contributions from everyone on the roster. The best example is in the defensive secondary, where Eric Rowe and Nik Needham took on a lot of the responsibilities left void by the absence of Brandon Jones, who missed his second straight game. Rowe and Needham combined for 12 total tackles in Sunday's win.
2. Lookie Lookie at the Rookies
It was a record-setting day for the Dolphins' 2021 first-round picks. The two Jaylen's/Jaelan's picked the same day to move to the top of the franchise rookie record books. The sixth-pick in the draft -- wide receiver Jaylen Waddle -- surpassed Jarvis Landry for most rookie receptions with his 86th grab on the season. Waddle is now tied for second in the NFL in receptions among all players and is 14th in receiving yards (849).
Fellow first-rounder Jaelan Phillips, selected No. 18 overall, moved to the top of the Dolphins rookie leaderboard with his 8.5 sacks, collecting two more on Sunday. With the three sacks last week against the Panthers, Phillips became the first rookie to record at least six sacks over a three-game span since Julius Peppers did it back in 2002.
Jevon Holland leads all NFL safeties in QB pressures (15), per Pro Football Focus. He's also tied for third among safeties with nine passes defensed.
Liam Eichenberg matched his season-low in QB pressures allowed, surrendering just one hurry in the game Sunday (PFF). It was his third time this season with a single digit in the pressures-allowed column and second time in as many weeks.
Finally, Hunter Long caught the first pass of his career -- an eight-yard reception in the second quarter.
3. Fourth Quarter Quarterback
Since the moment he stepped on the field as a true freshman at Alabama, Tua Tagovailoa tends to save his best for last. After completing 7-of-9 fourth quarter passes for 89 yards and a touchdown in the final period Sunday, Tagovailoa's passer rating splits in the fourth quarter are the best among all quarterbacks since 1994. According to Stathead, Tagovailoa's 109.7 passer rating in the critical period is the best of any quarterback over that 28-year period.
On the season, Tagovailoa ranks second in completion percentage (70.9) and eighth in Total QBR (58.1).