Barry Jackson

What the Miami Dolphins’ Jay Cutler has done better than any NFL QB past two months

A six-pack of eye-opening Dolphins nuggets sent to us by “Inside Edge” on Friday and some thoughts on each:

▪ Since mid-October, no NFL quarterback has been more accurate in the red zone than Jay Cutler.

Cutler has completed 73 percent of his passes (19 completions on 26 attempts) on plays in the red zone since Week 6 — best of 28 qualifying quarterbacks. The league average is 53.3 percent.

Bottom line: Cutler’s play has improved significantly in the past six weeks, and though he has a couple of red zone interceptions this season, his work there has been above average overall.

▪ The Dolphins have thrown the ball 78 percent of the time on plays in the red zone since Week 6 — highest in NFL. That’s much higher than the league average of 49.1 percent.

And they’ve completed 40 of those 51 passes.

Bottom line: Adam Gase loves throwing in the red zone, which could be a reflection of the fact this offensive line is better as pass-blockers than run blockers.

▪ Cutler has targeted receivers at an average depth of 13.1 yards on 3rd and short this season — highest of 33 qualifying quarterbacks. The league average is 6.6 yards and no other QB is above 10 yards, on average.

Bottom line: Gase likes to try to fool teams by throwing downfield on third and short.

▪ Dolphins running backs have averaged 1.3 yards before contact per carry (on 254 carries) this season, which is worst in NFL. The league average is 2.1.

But Dolphins backs have averaged 2.6 yards after contact per carry this season — second best in the NFL and above the league average of 1.9.

Bottom line: The Dolphins’ run blocking has been subpar all season. But Kenyan Drake - and Jay Ajayi before him - have been better than average in making something out of nothing (though Drake has done it much better than Ajayi this season).

▪ Though Cam Wake has eight sacks, the Dolphins defense has sacked opposing quarterbacks on just five percent of pass attempts (21/390) this season — tied for second worst in NFL. The league average is 6.9 percent.

Bottom line: Though Gase said he puts more stock in pressures than sacks, the low sack percentage is an indictment of the Dolphins’ high-priced front seven.

In Miami’s defense, the Dolphins got considerable pressure on Tom Brady on Monday. And the fact Miami has trailed so often has put the Dolphins’ d-line at a disadvantage as pass rushers, though that shouldn’t excuse disappointing sack numbers.

▪ Lawrence Timmons has missed 11 tackles this season — tied for ninth-most among linebackers in NFL.

Bottom line: Timmons played well against New England but whether he will be retained next season remains very much in question.

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