Miami Dolphins

Was Ajayi trade an addition by subtraction? Drake’s big day provides a big data point

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Dolphins-Broncos game coverage

The Dolphins beat the Broncos, 35-9, at Hard Rock Stadium, in a game that featured 2 pick-6's, 2 safeties, and some bad blood.

Kenyan Drake didn’t just have the biggest game of his NFL career Sunday.

He might have had the heaviest workload of his life.

Drake was a star in the Dolphins’ blowout win over the Broncos. His 42-yard third-quarter touchdown dash put the game away.

But he wasn’t a one-run wonder. Drake finished with career highs in yards (120) and carries (23).

“I think one time in high school I ran the ball like 25 times,” said Drake, Miami’s second-year running back. “Other than that, I don't think I have ever ran the ball that much in my life.”

But you know what they say about desperate times and measures. Drake was the last man standing of Miami’s three-headed ground attack from earlier in the season. Damien Williams missed the game with a separated shoulder.

And Jay Ajayi has been a Philadelphia Eagle for weeks now. The Dolphins traded him days after their 40-0 loss to Baltimore, to much caterwauling — locally and nationally.

But in the five games since, the Dolphins have averaged 23.4 points, and might have unearthed a player in Drake.

He has already proven that he can bust the long run, but on Sunday he showed he can handle the workload of a featured back, too.

“I feel like I'm built for this,” Drake said. “At the end of the day, I've put my body through [rigorous tests] through the offseason, during the season, practice. I try to finish every play 30, 40 yards down the field, so I can keep my wind.”

And this is no garbage unit Drake ran all over. Denver entered the game ranked fourth in run defense.

As for his touchdown, it was a thing of beauty. Denver safety Will Parks had a shot at him in the backfield, but whiffed. After that, Drake used his speed to outrun everyone else.

“The play was designed for the offensive line to double-team up to the linebackers,” Drake explained. “The safety did a great job filling in the C gap. That's my job, to make one person miss. I was able to do that, break a couple more tackles, and it was off to the races after that.”

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

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