If there was any doubt Reshad Jones was having a Pro Bowl-worthy season for the Dolphins, they were erased Sunday afternoon.
After the game Jones had against the Bills, he may as well book those flights to Hawaii. He can even save some money and purchase the nonrefundable ones.
“I just want to finish strong, finish on a strong note,’’ Jones said. “I don’t really think about the Pro Bowl, but I want to finish strong. I give all the credit to my teammates for doing a tremendous job.”
In Miami’s 24-10 victory against the Bills, the Dolphins’ defense did something it hadn’t done much of all season: force turnovers.
Miami had one takeaway in its previous seven games; On Sunday, the Dolphins had four. Jones accounted for three of them.
The Dolphins ended up scoring 17 points off the first three turnovers as they ran out the clock after the fourth.
“We need to get the ball to give our offense a chance with good field position. That’s what we did,” Jones said. “It’s pretty rewarding. We practice that a lot.”
Jones, in his third season after being a fifth-round pick out of Georgia in 2010, has set career highs in interceptions (four) and forced fumbles (two), and he has been one of the top-ranked safeties all season.
On Sunday, he helped stave off a potential Buffalo comeback as he intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick with 1:17 remaining at the 4. Had the Bills punched it in (it was first-and-goal from the 1), Sunday’s game would have gone from rout to one possession.
Jones ensured things never got that far.
“I told the guys someone needed to come up with a big play there,” he said. “We had a good pass rush from the front seven as they did a tremendous job.’’
The Dolphins have struggled all year to take the ball away from the opposition and came into Sunday as one of the league’s worst at it.
Before Sunday’s game, the Dolphins had recovered just three fumbles — tied for 30th in the 32-team league with St. Louis. Miami also had just nine interceptions and its minus-14 giveaway/takeaway margin was ranked 13th in the AFC and 28th overall.
“We work on takeaways every day in practice, but sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way,” said Vernon Olivier, a rookie from Hialeah American/UM who recorded an easy sack in the fourth quarter when Ryan Fitzpatrick turned into him.
“Today it was the snowball effect. We got a bunch of them.”
Miami’s secondary is definitely banged up and played without former first-round pick Sean Smith when he left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury.
The Dolphins brought in Cleveland castoff Dimitri Patterson earlier in the week. Even though Patterson was cut by the Browns, Miami quickly put him in the starting lineup in place of the injured Nolan Carroll. Patterson played well in his Dolphins debut and broke up a poorly thrown Fitzpatrick pass on third down in the opening quarter.
“I didn’t know what to expect. I got the news Monday that I was being waived,” said Patterson, who ended with four tackles. “I didn’t know what to expect beyond that. I was taking everything in stride up to that point.”