Miami Dolphins

Lamar Miller runs wild, making extra touches count

Miami Dolphins Lamar Miller pulls away from Houston Texans Rahim Moore as Miller scores a touchdown in the second quarter at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, October 25, 2015.
Miami Dolphins Lamar Miller pulls away from Houston Texans Rahim Moore as Miller scores a touchdown in the second quarter at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, October 25, 2015. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

Dolphins running back Lamar Miller’s alma mater inadvertently gave him extra time to prepare for the Houston Texans.

On Saturday, Miller watched on TV as his Miami Hurricanes lost 58-0 to Clemson.

“It was embarrassing,” Miller said. “I turned the game off at halftime.”

Miller evidently put that extra prep time to good use, totaling 236 yards from scrimmage in a 44-26 Dolphins win over Houston on Sunday at Sun Life Stadium.

He rushed 14 times for 175 yards — “I was trying to aim for 200,” Miller said — and added three catches for 61 yards.

Miller fell 3 rushing yards short of his career high, which he set last season against the New York Jets. He also rushed for more than 100 yards in consecutive games for the first time in his career.

All of his yardage on Sunday came in the first half as the Dolphins built a 41-0 lead. After halftime, interim coach Dan Campbell, mindful of a short-rest game on Thursday night at New England, rested starters and talked about “saving legs.”

So what’s the difference in Miller since Joe Philbin was fired as coach and Campbell was made the interim boss?

Miller said it’s partly Campbell’s attitude, but it’s also the fact that he is getting more touches.

“I think it has something to do with it,” Miller said when asked about the coaching change. “Every day, [Campbell] preaches, ‘Win your one-on-one battles.’ I’m just trying to win my battles and make explosive plays.”

Miller made two of those in the second quarter. First, he took a screen pass 54 yards to the house, waiting smartly to let his blockers form a wall.

“I think it was [left guard] Dallas Thomas and [center Mike] Pouncey — they made chop blocks,” said Miller, crediting his blocking. “I’ve also got to thank [wide receiver] Rishard Matthews.”

Later in the quarter, Miller ran 85 yards for a score, the second-longest run in franchise history, 12 yards short of the record he set last year against the Jets.

“I saw a little crease,” Miller said, “and I tried to make one guy miss.”

Counting his catches, Miller has 21 and 17 touches in his first two games under Campbell. In his four previous game, Miller had 14, 15, 10 and eight, respectively.

“Earlier in the year, I was worried about how many opportunities I was going to get,” said Miller, who has rushed for 288 yards in the past two games. “I wasn’t getting the ball that much. So every time I got it I was trying to make a big play, and I wasn’t reading my keys.

“Now, I’m trusting my offensive line more. They’ve been getting a lot of movement. I’m being patient and decisive.”

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