Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard focused on getting better
Get Xavien Howard to the Pro Bowl.
Defensive tackle Vincent Taylor said it on Twitter Sunday afternoon.
The Dolphins’ official account agreed.
Wrote Dolphins receiver Jakeem Grant: “My dog @Iamxavienhoward best CB too me in the league idc what nobody say!!! #ShoutoutTexas”
And with game — nay, the 24 seconds — Howard had Sunday, who could argue?
Howard intercepted Colts star quarterback Andrew Luck on back-to-back passes late in the first half, a major reason the game was tied at halftime.
That gave Howard nine interceptions in his last 16 games, the most in the NFL during that span, according to the team.
On the first pick, Howard got inside position on T.Y. Hilton and simply boxed out the former FIU receiver.
On the second interception, he chased down a lazy deep pass to Eric Ebron, and gave the Dolphins’ defense their third turnover of the half.
“It really don’t matter,” Howard said afterward. “We lost. We lost.”
Costly Kiko collision
For the second time in as many years, a Kiko Alonso’s hit on a sliding quarterback cost the Dolphins 15 yards in a road loss.
And for the second time in as many years, Alonso does not know what else he could have done.
Luck slid late on a third-down run, and Alonso had already started his motion. He pulled his hands back so it was not a direct shot, but the play was clearly illegal, and flagged as such. The Colts went on to score a touchdown on that drive.
It was similar to Alonso’s hit on Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in 2017, which also led to a score.
“Similar to last year, he’s running to the sticks,” Alonso said. “There’s nothing I could do. Right when I felt him slide, I felt like I gave myself up, too. I don’t think there was anything I could do about it. Maybe I could watch the film and see, but I remember feeling like there was nothing I could do because maybe he’s gonna go for that first down. We basically chest-bumped.”
Dolphins wide receiver Danny Amendola and center Travis Swanson got hurt on the same drive, adding to an avalanche of injuries that has buried the organization.
Amendola injured his right knee while blocking for Kenyan Drake on a third-down run. He got rolled up on from behind, and stayed down until medical staff arrived.
Even Adam Gase came across the field to check in on him.
Amendola walked off under his own power, then underwent further evaluation in the blue medical tent. After testing out the knee on the sideline, he returned to the game.
Meanwhile, Swanson twisted his ankle on the same drive, forcing the Dolphins to turn to Jake Brendel, their third-string center. Brendel shifted over from left guard, and Ted Larsen took over at Brendel’s spot. The Dolphins have been without Daniel Kilgore for weeks; he was put on IR early in the season.
While the Dolphins listed Swanson as questionable to return, he never did.
Amendola was basically the last healthy Dolphins receiver. Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson are both out for the season, and Kenny Stills (groin) and DeVante Parker (shoulder) are playing through pain.
Odds and ends
▪ The Dolphins halted a embarrassing streak Sunday: They scored a touchdown on their first possession. They had gone 20 consecutive games without one.
▪ Another streak snapped by the Dolphins: Games without Luck getting sacked. Cameron Wake got to him around the right late in the third quarter, ending the drive.
▪ With Grant out for the season, the Dolphins turned to Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage as their kickoff returners. Kenny Stills and Amendola shared punt-return duties Sunday.