For a team that allowed a league-worst 4.8 yards per carry last season, this was encouraging, even with an extremely small sample size:
Miami emerged from Sunday’s 19-17 win against the Chargers allowing just 3.1 yards per carry, seventh best in the league.
What’s more, after relinquishing 140 yards per game last season, Miami permitted just 44 on Sunday.
“I thought we had very few missed tackles,” coach Adam Gase said. “The entire defense did a good job playing off each other. We had one that kind of got us for a longer run. For the most part, everybody was in the right gaps, playing fast, a lot of gang tackling. A lot of guys were around the ball, collapsing everything. Really good to see.”
Among competitions that lingered into September, here’s how the snaps played out:
• Though Jordan Phillips started at defensive tackle opposite Ndamukong Suh, rookie fifth-rounder Davon Godchaux logged 32 of Miami’s 58 defensive snaps - more than Phillips’ 21. Suh logged 53. Rookie sixth-round defensive tackle Vincent Taylor played three snaps.
• On cornerback Byron Maxwell playing every defensive snap and Alterraun Verner playing none: “They both had a good week of practice. Byron was a good matchup for us. We felt like he matched up against those guys well. We [would] like him to get his hands on those guys and try to grapple with them a little bit.”
• Gase said he went into yesterday planning to play both starter Anthony Steen and Jesse Davis at left guard. Steen played 46 snaps, Davis 22.
“I thought both of them did well,” Gase said. “They’re not making it easy on us to make any kind of decision longterm.”
Gase’s play-calling became more aggressive in the second half Sunday and he admitted that “I felt a little off rhythm in that second quarter. I felt I was holding our guys back. That third quarter I put it on getting Jay Ajayi the ball, let the receivers win one on one opportunities. We really didn’t get opportunities we wanted with Julius [Thomas] because of what they were playing, and letting Jay [Cutler] make plays with his feet, scrambling.
“Those guys really took over that game. We kept it fairly simple. They won won their one-on-one matchups. That really changed a lot of it for us.”
• On calling a timeout before a 3rd and 2 with 10 seconds left, before the Chargers’ missed field goal: “We were trying to leave enough time where if he made it, we could run another play. [Chargers quarterback] Phillip [Rivers] was stopping all those guys trying to run off the field. He was going to clock it with two seconds left. We tried to call it with 12 seconds left; we got 10. So if he kicks it and makes it, we got a chance to maybe running around, throw the ball around to get something going.”
• Gase, on Cutler, who ranks 11th in the league with a 101.8 passer rating: “He keeps everything calm, doesn’t get too high or too low. I know he wishes he had that one throw back to Jarvis Landry in the red zone. Just a little bit off on that one... I thought [Cutler] did well, though. That throw to [DeVante Parker off a scramble] was a great play. When we start breaking down, we’re finding guys now.”