Armando Salguero

Xavien Howard (player of the week) playing at elite level, other grades in ProFootballFocus metrics

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) gets congratulations from teammates after a first-quarter interception against New England Monday night.
Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) gets congratulations from teammates after a first-quarter interception against New England Monday night. adiaz@miamiherald.com

The ProFootballFocus.com grades are in for the Miami Dolphins victory over New England and guess what?

Yeah, they’re pretty good.

Grading out highly this week are Jay Cutler, Ndamukong Suh, Kenyan Drake, Jarvis Landry and others. Grading out like he’s elite is cornerback Xavien Howard.

By the way, the NFL has taken notice. On Wednesday morning, Howard was named AFC defensive player of the week.

The details......

Offense

Jay Cutler entered Week 14 as the 29th ranked quarterback against the blitz, with a passer rating of 73.0. The Patriots blitzed Cutler on 21 of 41 dropbacks and he made them pay, completing 16-of-20 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns for a passer rating of 138.8.

Cutler earned a grade of 81.1 for the night and that’s tenth among all QBs in Week 14. It was also the second-highest grade of the year for him behind the Oakland game in Week 9, when he was the highest-graded QB for that week at 88.4.

Running back Kenyan Drake had over 122 yards after contact, marking the second consecutive game he had over 100 in a game. He caught all five targets thrown his way for 79 yards.

Over the last two weeks, Drake leads all running backs with 228 yards after contact and is tied for the lead with 10 forced missed tackles. He has also played 119 snaps the last two games, trailing only Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, who has.

Wide receiver Jarvis Landry caught all eight of the targets thrown his way for 46 yards and two touchdowns. It was the fourth game this season Landry has caught at least eight passes in a game and he did so against multiple coverage looks from the Patriots, as he caught at least one pass against five different defenders.

Landry’s overall grade for the season now stands at 83.3, which is 13th among 116 qualifying WRs.

The offensive line struggled in its run-blocking once and three of the five starters (Tunsil, Davis and Young) allowed two hurries each, while Pouncey and Larsen did not allow any hurries. Pouncey has struggled all season in run-blocking, with a 40.5 grade, which is 34th out of 35 qualifying centers.

Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins WR, talks to the media about the excitement of defeating the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium.

But the center also has been solid in pass-blocking, where his 77.0 grade is seventh out of 36 qualifying centers. Pouncey has allowed only five hurries all season.

Wide receiver DeVante Parker’s struggles continued, as he caught four of six passes for 40 yards but dropped the other two on target passes. The modest 40 yards Parker gained were the nonetheless his most since Week 10 at Carolina and he has yet to top 85 yards in a game for the season.

Parker’s overall grade of 70.8 ranks 60th out of 116 qualifying WRs.

Defense

For the second straight week, cornerback Xavien Howard earned an elite grade (92.0).

Against New England, Howard was targeted six times (five of the six were to Brandin Cooks) and he allowed zero receptions while intercepting two passes and recording a pass defensed on another.

Over the last three weeks, Howard has been targeted 17 times and has allowed two completions and 30 yards while recording four interceptions and four passes defensed.

Ndamukong Suh made an impact both rushing the passer (four pressures and one sack and 51 pass-rush snaps) and stopping the run (two stops on 10 run defense snaps). For the season, Suh is the third-ranked interior defender overall at 91.1 and number two against the run at 91.3.

Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase speaks to the media after the Miami Dolphins defeat the New England Patriots 27-20 at Hard Rock Stadium on Mon., Dec. 11, 2017.

Linebacker Kiko Alonso had a strong game against New England, delivering a (85.1 overall grade. Alonso led the team with four run stops and did a solid job in coverage limiting big plays, allowing 47 yards on the night (23 of which came on one Rex Burkhead catch).

Cornerback Alterraun Verner played outside in the nickel package for the injured Cordrea Tankersley and played well, allowing just two of six targets to be caught for 24 yards while also recording a pass defensed. Verner stepped in for Tankersley last week and allowed just one of five targets for 20 yards and has been a key piece to the Dolphins improved defense over the last two weeks.

Safety Reshad Jones had been struggling a bit (by his standards) the last few weeks, but he had a strong game, wiht an 85.0 overall grade -- although admittedly in a game Rob Gronkowski did not play. Jones recorded three stops on the night and was targeted just one time for nine yards in coverage.

Jones’s overall grade is highlighted by a 86.4 run-defense grade, sixth out of 86 qualifying safeties.

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Xavien Howard, Miami Dolphins CB, talks to the media about his pick-six, all he saw was green grass in front of him. The Fins defeated the Denver Broncos at Hard Rock Stadium.

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