Armando Salguero

PFF season-finale grades: Jay Ajayi led NFL in missed tackles and was great in another important category

The Miami Dolphins will be setting sights on their postseason starting on Wednesday.

The team will report in the morning and get about the business of figuring out a way to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Steel City on Sunday afternoon. It won’t be easy. Even history agrees.

The Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game since December 2000 and haven’t won a road playoff games since beating Seattle in 1999. Dan Marino was Miami’s quarterback that day.

So tough assignment.

The season-finale -- a resounding loss to the New England Patriots -- was no easier. And while the rest of the week will be about looking forward, allow us a final study of game tape from the folks at ProFootballFocus.com:

Running back Jay Ajayi had only 59 yards on 16 carries (3.7 avg.) but 51 of those yards came after contact. He also forced three more missed tackles. He finished the season second in the league in yards after contact with 901 and first in forced missed tackles with 58.

QB Matt Moore had a great showing while facing no pressure, completing 22-of-24 passes for 185 yards, two touchdowns and 0 interceptions. However, he struggled under pressure, completing just 2-of-10 passes for 27 yards and throwing an interception.

WR Jarvis Landry was the focal point of the offense, grabbing nine of 10 targets for 76 yards and a touchdown. He finished the season seventh in the league in receptions with 94, and tied for second among receviers in forced missed tackles with 22.

WR Kenny Stills caught four of six targets for 41 yards and a touchdown. The score was his team-leading ninth of the season. The free agent to be proved he is a big play threat all season, as all nine of his touchdowns were from 20-plus yards.

OG Jermon Bushrod had another disappointing performance, especially in the run blocking game, where he had his worst grade of the season. It was, however, the first game since Week 1 at Seattle where he did not allow a QB hurry.

DE Cameron Wake closed out the season on a positive note after having his worst game of the year in Week 16 at Buffalo. He finished the season as the third ranked 4-3 DE and had 44 QB hurries with 11.5 QB sacks.

The Miami linebacker corpse (rather corps) struggled in pass coverage as it has all season long, particularly Kiko Alonso. He allowed the biggest play of the game when Tom Brady connected with Julius Edelman on a 77 yard touchdown that essentially put the game away in the second half.

DT Ndamukong Suh had his worst game of the season, as he wasn't able to make an impact in the run defense game. Despite the poor performance, Suh finished the year as the third ranked DT, trailing only the Rams' Aaron Donald and Arizona’s Calais Campbell.

DT Earl Mitchell had a strong game in the pass rush game, recording three QB hurries on the afternoon. However, he struggled in run defense, missing two tackles on the afternoon.

DT Jordan Phillips had his strongest game of the season, grading out well in both pass rush and run defense. He recorded two stops, a QB hurry, and a batted pass.

On to Pittsburgh!

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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