Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
This win was anything but pretty.
Miami head coach Joe Philbin commonly preaches a fast start and winning the turnover battle as two of the biggest keys to winning a game.
The Dolphins did not start out fast as the Falcons jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, and the team arguably lost the turnover battle.
On the latter point, the Dolphins jumped out to their final lead with only 38 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter while having turned the ball over twice to Atlanta's one turnover to that point.
Quarterback Matt Ryan tied the turnover count by throwing an interception during his attempt at executing a comeback; however, with only 38 seconds remaining in the game and needing a touchdown to succeed, one could easily argue the game already over at that point.
According to the official NFL gamebook (subscription required), the Atlanta Falcons ran the football 30 times for 146 yards. Miami ran 15 times for 90 yards, with 49 of those yards coming on one run during the first quarter.
The Falcons possessed the football 37 minutes and nine seconds, versus the Dolphins possessing the ball for only 22 minutes and 51 seconds.
The Falcons outgained the Dolphins 377 yards to 285 yards, running 68 plays to Miami's 55 plays.
Matt Ryan was not sacked a single time. Ryan Tannehill was sacked five times.
Teams are not supposed to win when they play the way the Miami Dolphins played against the Atlanta Falcons. Though some will take this as a bad sign, we have seen over the years that good teams simply find a way to win even when they are being outplayed.
The resilience the Dolphins showed in this game should bode well for them during a potential playoff run.