3 Takeaways from Dolphins' Week 12 Win

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 30, 2020

3 Takeaways from Dolphins' Week 12 Win

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    The Miami Dolphins continued to pave their path toward the postseason in Week 12 with a comfortable 20-3 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday. 

    In two meetings with their AFC East rival this season, the Dolphins have outscored the Jets 44-3. 

    Ryan Fitzpatrick was effective enough in place of the injured Tua Tagovailoa to lead the Miami offense down the field for a few scoring drives. 

    The offensive performance was not perfect, but the mistakes made by the running backs are fixable heading into a five-game December stretch. 

    Defensively, the Dolphins extended their turnover streak to 17 games with two interceptions off Sam Darnold. 

    The victory, combined with the losses for the Las Vegas Raiders and Indianapolis Colts pushed Miami into sixth place in the AFC standings.

    The Dolphins own the conference-record tiebreaker over the Colts. 

Ryan Fitzpatrick Turned in a Serviceable Performance

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    Fitzpatrick did not have to do anything flashy to beat the Jets. The backup quarterback threw for 257 yards Sunday in place of the injured Tagovailoa. 

    Both of the touchdown drives led by Fitzpatrick lasted at least seven plays and were 80 yards or longer. He finished them with passes to tight ends Mike Gesicki and Adam Shaheen. He also produced two series that turned into Jason Sanders field goals. 

    The 38-year-old did not lead an abundance of scoring drives in each half, but he was able to complete two long series to keep the Jets away from any potential upset.

    The performance was exactly what the Dolphins needed to avoid a bad loss and allow Tagovailoa to rest his injury. But Dolphins head coach Brian Flores maintained after the game that if the rookie is healthy, "he's the guy."

Running Backs Need to Be Sharper

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    Corey Sipkin/Associated Press

    The running back carousel landed on DeAndre Washington, Matt Breida and Patrick Laird on Sunday. 

    On consecutive second-half drives, Breida and Laird lost fumbles, but fortunately neither turned into any Jets points. New York went three-and-out and gave the ball back on the subsequent downs. 

    Even though the fumbles weren't costly, the running backs still have to be better as the Dolphins try to find solid complements to their quarterback. 

    Washington led the group with 49 yards on 13 carries, while Breida and Laird combined for 45 yards on nine handoffs. 

    If Miami gets Salvon Ahmed and/or Myles Gaskin back in December, it will be in a much better position heading into the playoffs. But it may lean toward resting both running backs against the Cincinnati Bengals next week to be fully healthy for the Week 14 clash against the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 13. 

    If that is the case, or Ahmed or Gaskin are on a limited snap count, the Dolphins need more out of their running backs to form a more complete offense in every game. 

Defense Continues to Thrive

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Miami's defense is the most reliable part of its roster. It picked off Darnold on two occasions and limited the Jets to 10 first downs and 260 total yards. 

    The first pick by Nik Needham was the more important turnover of the two, as it stopped the Jets at Miami's 32-yard line down by 10 points. Xavien Howard ended the game with the team's second interception. 

    Miami also produced seven quarterback hits, four passes defended, three tackles for loss and a pair of sacks. 

    Jerome Baker had one of the best showings, as he hit Darnold twice, tied for the team lead in tackles with five and earned half of a sack. 

    Sunday marked the fifth time this season in which the Dolphins held an opponent below 20 points and was the fourth game in which they conceded fewer than 300 total yards. 

    Miami can add to those totals with a win over the Bengals in Week 13, which would give it eight victories ahead of the measuring-stick contest against Kansas City in Week 14.


    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

    Statistics obtained from ESPN.com and Pro Football Reference