Mike Pouncey didn’t just survive his long-awaited return to the field. He thrived.
Pouncey, who missed all but five games last year with recurring hip issues, was on the field for all 68 Dolphins offensive snaps in his 2017 debut.
And he not only played, but played well.
Jay Ajayi found running room behind Pouncey, going for 122 yards on 28 carries Sunday, and Jay Cutler was sacked or hit just five times on 35 drop-backs.
“It's really amazing, the fact that he doesn't practice very much but he goes out there and grades out the way that he does,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. “It's hard to put into words. When we watch him play, he just knows the right angles. He has an unbelievable feel for the game. The way that he gets the guys going back to the second level.”
Gase added: “It was great having him back out there. Just seeing him play, the attitude he has, how excited he was to go back on the field. A lot of people doubted him. Just him stepping onto the field was goal No. 1 for him. Now it's, he talked about it before, nothing less than 16-plus [games]. He's got that mindset and I think he's looking for people to doubt him.”
Gase also praised the job Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James did against Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, Los Angeles’ dynamic pass rushers. Ingram had the only sack between the two of them, beating Tunsil around the edge.
However, Gase took the blame for the sack based on his play call that didn’t work out.