The Dolphins are back in the win column after their first victory on Sunday Night Football since 2004. It was also the 500th win in franchise history. On a night where the organization celebrated the 50th anniversary of the only undefeated season in NFL history, your current Dolphins improved to the right side of .500.
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Here are the three takeaways from the Dolphins' 16-10 victory over the Steelers.
1. Winning while working out the kinks
On a night where the only perfect team in NFL history was in attendance to celebrate 50 years of an unmatched accomplishment, the Dolphins offense started quickly and gave the team a lead it would never relinquish. Miami scored on its first three possessions of the game including a blazing opening drive touchdown that saw quarterback Tua Tagovailoa complete six of his seven passes for 68 yards and the scoring strike to running back Raheem Mostert.
But after 13 first quarter points, Miami scored just three more the rest of the game. Per Tagovailoa, there was a lot of meat left on the bone in the victory.
"Miscues with ball placement, communication with a route that this receiver thought was this look and I thought was that look," Tagovailoa said of the second half struggles. "Just miscommunications on our part with that. We just couldn't find our rhythm again. Yeah, that's something we'll have to work on."
The upshot? While Miami ranks just 19th in points per game, their 6.06 yards per play is sixth in the NFL.
It's up to the Dolphins to clean up the miscues and execute in critical situations, but the ability to move the ball is clearly present.
2. Igbinoghene, secondary rise to the occasions
In the post-game locker room, player-led chants of the third-year cornerback's name erupted during the media scrum that surrounded Noah Igbinoghene. The first interception of his career thwarted a potential Steelers comeback and sent the offense onto the field for the best play call in football – the victory formation.
Thrust into the lineup in Week 6, Igbinoghene didn't allow a catch to Vikings receivers. His encore performance last night earned a spot on the elevator in the lobby at Hard Rock Stadium as his toe tap interception sealed the deal for the Fins.
The entire Miami secondary exhibited the next man up mentality required of any good football team. The Steelers didn't seem interested in testing Xavien Howard. The four receptions in which he was the nearest defender came in zone looks on short throws and Howard allowed only 35 yards on 53 coverage snaps per Pro Football Focus.
Justin Bethel, a special teams ace for over a decade in this league, had played fewer than 100 defensive snaps over the last four seasons. All he's done in two weeks for Miami is play 57 coverage snaps with 34 yards allowed, an interception and two forced incompletions on third down.
Jevon Holland snagged his second interception of the season, which ties the number of catches he's allowed the last two games, per PFF.
3. Run Raheem run
Each week, the run game puts together a handful of plays that have the potential to pop a big one. While we haven't seen the 50-yard scamper, Mostert is consistently exploiting creases. He's ripped off eight runs of 10-plus yards over the last three games, including three on Sunday night. He also added three more missed tackles forced – he has 10 total the last three weeks – giving him a cool 3.50 average yards after initial contact during this hot streak.
The line is creating lanes and the Dolphins have now eclipsed 100 yards on the ground in two of the last three games. The 321 rushing yards over that span is the most over a three-game stretch for the Dolphins since Weeks 14-16 of the 2020 season, when they rushed for 460 yards.