Miami Dolphins: Five Things Learned from Sunday's Win over the Minnesota Vikings
The Miami Dolphins are 2-0, and that is nothing to complain about.
One thing is for sure: Two wins to begin the season are better than the three losses to start 2009, especially when those two wins came on the road.
So what have we learned from watching the Dolphins grind out another victory?
The Dolphins Have a Top Five Defense
Against the Buffalo Bills the Dolphins defense didn't create any turnovers, but they did hold them to 10 points and cause a safety.
Sunday against the Vikings it was a different story.
The Dolphins intercepted Brett Favre three times, and Cameron Wake forced a fumble in the end zone that resulted in a touchdown.
The biggest indicator that this a great defense? Two huge stops on fourth-and-short were the difference in this game.
Mike Nolan has turned this team around, but be cautioned—Nolan did the same thing with the Broncos last season before a late-season collapse.
Why might the Dolphins defense collapse?
Because there isn't much substituting going on. If the starters can go 60 minutes, then in general they will go 60 minutes.
Seen Sean Smith much?
So far it is working, and these are pro athletes so one would hope they can sustain an entire season of hard-nosed defense unlike Nolan's Broncos of 2009.
After two weeks the 'Fins have the fourth-ranked pass defense and the fourth-ranked run defense, which makes them the overall No. 1 defense in the NFL.
They are also tied with Pittsburgh for least amount of points allowed after two games.
That is no small accomplishment considering both games were on the road, and one of them was against a highly-touted Vikings offense.
Cameron Wake Is for Real
They said Cameron Wake, a CFL guy, couldn't survive in the NFL.
In 2009 he made the Dolphins roster. And in 2010 he is making a huge impact.
With the departure of Jason Taylor in the offseason, Wake's role in the defense greatly increased.
Instead of being a third-down pass rusher, Wake is now a starter.
The results? Two-and-a-half sacks (halfway to his 2009 total), and a forced fumble that was the difference-maker in the Dolphins victory Sunday.
In this Dolphins defense, things are only looking up for Wake.
Jason Allen Is Starting for a Reason
Jason Allen hasn't been perfect, but he's been pretty darn good in the Dolphins first two games.
When news came out of camp that the former first-round pick Allen had won a starting job over sophomore Sean Smith, Dolfans were shocked.
Smith looked decent enough last year as a rookie, so what the heck happened?
From the looks of it, something finally clicked for Allen, and Dolfans are not complaining.
Against the Bills, Allen did a great job in coverage, and against the Vikings his great coverage finally paid off.
Allen recorded two picks, one of which was an amazing grab on the Dolphins' own one-yard line. He also recorded 11 tackles.
Dolphins fans just have to hope he can maintain his strong start. Allen, paired with Vontae Davis, has given the Dolphins two great performances from their starting cornerbacks.
Lousaka Polite Cannot Be Stopped
Lousaka Polite is the most important Dolphins player who most people have never heard of.
However, Dolphins fans have been busy loving this guy for the past three seasons.
Why? Because he is automatic on third-and-short. Vikings fans found that out the hard way on Sunday.
Unfortunately Polite can't be utilized unless the Dolphins get themselves into third-and-short situations, which brings us to the next point...
The Dolphins Offense Needs to Get Going
The Dolphins offense started Sunday with a bang.
Chad Henne completed a 46-yard pass to Brandon Marshall, then the Dolphins utilized the Wildcat to get near the goal line.
Then Henne threw his lone touchdown pass of the year.
The Dolphins have won two games in 2010, and their offense has totaled two touchdowns.
If they want to continue winning, that needs to change, and fast.
Henne's lone accomplishment has been not turning the ball over, but in order to beat teams like the Patriots and Jets he will be required to be much more efficient.
Through two games, Henne has yet to total 300 yards passing, while many of the NFL quarterbacks have done that in a single week.
A good offense is necessary for many reasons, most importantly to score and keep the defense off the field.
The Dolphins offense has so far failed to do much of either.
Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams both uncharacteristically fumbled against the Vikings, and Willams' fumble directly cost the Dolphins seven points.
For the Dolphins to be successful, their ball protection needs to dramatically improve.
There is no other way to put it than to say that the Dolphins offense has a lot of work to do for this team to continue their early success.
But hey, they're 2-0 and heading home. And that is nothing to be upset about Dolfans.