Four first-half takeaways against the Rams gave the Dolphins eight in the last three games, tied for the league lead with the Steelers over that span. Still, the Miami defense remains hungry for more.
Safety Eric Rowe broke on a Jared Goff pass in the third quarter with nothing but daylight ahead; but after being unable to secure the catch, the ball fell harmlessly to the turf just as it did earlier in the game following a tipped ball by linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel.
"That was on my mind the rest of the game," Rowe said. "I'm on the field thinking, like dang. I broke on it so fast that it got behind me and I had to reach back. I'm hurt because I know all I had was just grass after that. And it's probably going to eat at me all the way until next game."
Rowe can clear his mind in four days when the Dolphins travel to Arizona, but that play serves as a motivator throughout the rest of the week. Just ask linebacker Jerome Baker.
"If you pick up the fumble, we expect you to score; but not just score, we expect everybody to block for you," Baker said. "When you get the interception – we just hold each other accountable. It's not just you have to do it; as a defense, we have to work together to score points. That's what's cool about our defense. We hold each other accountable."
Van Ginkel did score when he scooped up the fumble caused by defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, but fellow linebacker Kyle Van Noy came up one yard short when he recovered the loose ball forced by defensive end Shaq Lawson.
Baker, having seen Van Noy's high school highlight reel, was surprised he didn't pick up that final yard.
"If you look at the video, I was the first one on him," Baker said with a laugh. "I definitely got on him about that. We watch each other's high school highlights as a linebacker corps and everybody scores touchdowns and everybody does their thing, so we all brought it up. 'If you were scoring all of these touchdowns and all of this, why didn't you do that?'"
Tua Talks About Takeaways His First Start
The Dolphins started a rookie quarterback for the first time since 2012 (Ryan Tannehill) on Sunday vs. the Rams. That year, and every other year in the NFL, the preseason provided the rookie signal-caller with four exhibition opportunities. This season, aside from five snaps against the Jets for Tagovailoa, Miami's rookie faced his first NFL action against a Rams defense that entered the game as the second-ranked scoring defense in the entire league.
Wednesday, Tagovailoa discussed the benefits of having a full NFL tape to study and the corrections he can make.
"That's pretty much the best way I think for anyone in the NFL to learn," Tagovailoa said. "You can sit down and anyone can watch film really, but being able to go in and get some actual game reps, seeing actual rotations of the defenses and you've got to make actual Mike (linebacker) points and do things like that. I think those things go a long way in sticking in your head and knowing okay, if this comes up, I know what my answer is."
Miami's southpaw quarterback also discussed the flow of the game and an area he's focusing on this week in practice.
"Just being comfortable as the games go on," Tagovailoa explained. "You just get a good feel of the game and then you can also get into a good rhythm. I think the biggest thing for me is pocket presence. Being able to just step up into what feels like pressure and then also just making the throws that I need to give the receivers good run after catch."
Flores Talks Trades
The Dolphins made a pair of moves before Tuesday's deadline. Miami acquired a 2022 draft pick from the Patriots for wide receiver Isaiah Ford.
"I have a lot of respect and admiration for Isaiah Ford," Flores said. "As far as his work ethic and just team-oriented, put the team first, just great attitude; I just really enjoyed working with him. But at the end of the day, we felt like the best thing for us was to make that particular trade."
A second trade was announced Tuesday afternoon as running back DeAndre Washington comes over from Kansas City in exchange for a swap of conditional draft picks.
"We felt like we wanted to add some depth there at the running back position," Flores said. "DeAndre is a good player. We had an opportunity to get one and tried to take advantage of it."
DeAndre Washington Introduction
Washington has a proven track record as a pass catcher going back to his college days at Texas Tech. He caught 124 passes for 1,091 yards in college and continued to make an impact as a pass catcher in the NFL. In his career, Washington has caught 83.2 percent of the passes thrown at him for an average of 5.74 yards per target.
Last year, Washington caught 36 of 41 targets (87.8 percent) for 292 yards, an average of 7.12 yards per target. Pro Football Focus credits Washington with 17 forced missed tackles on 108 carries in 2019. He also produced 291 of his 387 rushing yards after initial contact. That mark was good for an average of 2.69 yards after initial contact, just a smidge under his career average of 2.72 yards in that category.
Washington also bring special teams value. He's played 381 career snaps on special teams. Recently posted on MiamiDolphins.com, we took a deep dive into Miami's special teams emphasis and the dividends that focus is producing.
Wednesday Injury Report
Dolphins: Running backs Myles Gaskin (knee) and Matt Breida (shoulder) did not practice on Wednesday.
Running back Patrick Laird (ankle) and cornerback Jamal Perry (foot) were limited on Wednesday.
Cardinals: Running back Kenyan Drake (ankle), cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (thigh), defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (hamstring) and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (not injury related) did not practice Wednesday.
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (not injury related) and linebackers Jordan Hicks (ankle/wrist) and Zeke Turner (toe) were limited on Wednesday.