The Miami Dolphins secured their 17th home victory in the last 19 starts at Hard Rock Stadium with a 20-13 win over the Las Vegas Raiders. The offense claimed an early lead, and the defense maintained a one-score advantage across nine consecutive possessions. Here are three takeaways from the Dolphins’ victory:
Return of the Jalen (Jaelan):
In the three games since Jalen Ramsey’s return from a training camp knee injury, the Miami defense has forced five takeaways, including three interceptions by Ramsey himself.
Head Coach Mike McDaniel acknowledged the impact of Ramsey on the team, stating that both interceptions were of a high difficulty level. Defensive points allowed have reduced to 14.6 per game since Ramsey’s return, influencing the team’s overall defensive performance positively. Outside linebacker Jaelan Phillips, another returning Jalen, contributed significantly with two sacks and his first career interception in the win.
Winning the Trenches:
The Dolphins’ pass defense climbed to 11th, and their run defense reached ninth, showcasing a team effort. Key defensive stats include being ninth in sacks (31), seventh in pressure rate (24.8 percent), and fourth in QB hits (74). Ramsey’s presence, along with a healthy Xavien Howard, has enhanced the impact of the pass rush. Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, with 4.5 sacks tying a career high, exemplified the team’s commitment with an effort play that stopped Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow after a 31-yard reception. The Dolphins also limited the NFL’s defending rushing champion, Josh Jacobs, to just 39 yards on 14 attempts.
Jaelan & Jalen were a PROBLEM today 😈 pic.twitter.com/vHFFzULoj4
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) November 20, 2023
Next Man Up:
The offense faced attrition throughout the season, starting its seventh new offensive line combination in 10 games. Despite missing key players like tight end Durham Smythe and running back De’Von Achane, the Dolphins showcased resilience. Tyreek Hill briefly exited the game with a hand injury, but the offense adapted with Jaylen Waddle as a primary target.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completed three consecutive passes to Waddle for 36 yards on a drive that resulted in a game-winning touchdown during Hill’s absence. Even with injuries affecting running backs, Salvon Ahmed and Raheem Mostert stepped up, contributing to the team’s critical yards and physical play late in the game.