Jay Ajayi was holding court with 20 or so members of the local media Monday when Laremy Tunsil ambled by.
“In Jay we trust,” the rookie guard said twice.
My, how things can change in eight days.
Ajayi went from a complete unknown to a SportsCenter regular after back-to-back 200-yard rushing games. He’s only one of four backs to accomplish that feat; O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams are the others.
Ajayi knows much of the credit goes to Tunsil and the Dolphins’ four other starting offensive linemen. That’s why he offered to take them to dinner as a thank you for carving out the massive holes he’s run through. They politely declined; too much work left to do.
“I just wanted to show some appreciation to those guys,” Ajayi said. “They kind of just told me, ‘It’s not a one hit thing,’ and ‘Let’s do it again.’ And lo and behold, we did it again.”
Now here’s something that would really make history: No NFL player has ever topped 200 yards in three consecutive games.
Not Simpson. Not Campbell. And not Williams.
Crazy talk, we know. But nothing Ajayi has done this month makes any sense. His 204-yard game against the Steelers was so out of the blue, his own friends didn’t start him in fantasy. They didn’t repeat that mistake Sunday, when he went for 214 more.
Thomas stands tall
Safety Michael Thomas acknowledged Monday that Marquise Goodwin’s 67-yard touchdown catch Sunday was his fault, and not Byron Maxwell’s. Pro Football Focus pointed the finger of blame at Maxwell for the deep completion Sunday, but on both Twitter and to reporters Monday, Thomas stepped up and accepted responsibility.
“[Defensive coordinator] Vance Joseph wants to create a culture about truth,” said Thomas, who started at safety in place of Reshad Jones, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury. “Every man has to be accountable for his actions. He made the perfect call right there. I let disguise jeopardize my responsibility right then.”
Thomas felt compelled to take the hit because “as a leader on this team, I want to make sure every [defensive back], every player on this team, but especially the DBs know that I've got their back. I'll never hang them out to dry. If it's something I've got to get cleaned up as a man, I owe that to my teammates and that's my job. That's something I've got to do. If I can't do it, they're going to put somebody else in who can.”
Thomas’ responsibility on that play was to help Maxwell over the top on Goodwin’s route. He was a step late because he was trying to fool Tyrod Taylor by disguising his coverage.
“That's a rule that can never happen,” Thomas said. “You're never supposed to let disguise jeopardize your responsibility. I did just that. I broke that rule and that can't happen. On that one play, 10 other guys did their job and I was the one who didn't.”
Said Dolphins coach Adam Gase: “That's why he's one of our captains. That's why he's one of our leaders.”
▪ Safety Isa Abdul-Quddus is expected to be healthy enough to play after the Dolphins return from this weekend’s bye. He hurt his ankle Sunday.