The Miami Dolphins picked up their second preseason victory last night in Minnesota. They ended their preseason on a strong note with a 30-9 victory, bringing their preseason record to 2-2. The regular season home opener against Tampa Bay is looming around the corner. Surely the Dolphins must feel more confident after a strong showing last night. So, who stood out in the victory and who made a strong case to ensure their spot on the 53-man roster? We break down the game by each side of the ball below:
Quarterback Brandon Doughty led the Dolphins down the field for a strong opening drive. The drive was capped off by a diving touchdown by running back Kenyan Drake. Doughty threw a nice arcing jump ball to wide receiver and return man Jakeem Grant that allowed for a chunk of yards to get to the redzone.
Not only did Grant do a great job in hauling in a jump ball (he’s 5’7”), he also had an awesome 65 yard touchdown. Grant has had a great preseason, as he has been able to prove that he is not just a return man.
Although quarterback Brandon Doughty started the game, the night belonged to David Fales. Fales stole the show and made a name for himself last night. He went 12/20 for 193 yards, tossed three touchdowns, threw no interceptions and took no sacks.
As great as the statistics look on paper, they don’t tell the entire story. The statistics fail to capture the poise, confidence and fearlessness shown by Fales last night. He took ownership of the position and earned respect from teammates and he gunned the ball around last night.
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The unit that impressed the most was the defensive backs. After getting torched in practice all week and again during the game against Philadelphia, Miami’s secondary bounced back. Defensive backs Cordrea Tankersly, Torry McTyer and T.J. McDonald all looked long and strong as they disrupted plays all night.
Tankersly and McTyer seemed to have infinite passes defended last night. They used their length well and really mixed it up with the opposing receivers. T.J. McDonald had a nose for the ball and delivered some nice hits to remind everyone that he’ll be ready after his 8-game suspension.
Miami’s rushing defense started off slow, as usual. However, as the game wore on they tightened up. Miami was able to stop opposing backs, but they had a little trouble with quarterbacks scrambling. The good news is that means that the defensive backs had the Vikings receivers covered.
Miami showed some backbone by stopping the run consistently. They had many stops at midfield and more importantly, had many goal-line stands. The Dolphins looked resilient every time their backs were against the wall. They looked even stronger when the Vikings had their backs against the wall, as the Dolphins were able to score a safety.
Lastly, linebacker Chase Allen also had a great performance last night. Allen had 13 tackles (eight solo) throughout the game. Allen showed hustle, tenacity and heart. He certainly made a case for his spot on the 53-man roster. As of right now, the middle linebacker position is a wide-open competition between Mike Hull, Neville Hewitt, Chase Allen and Rey Maualuga.
Defensive back Torry McTyer did a great job on another side of the ball last night. He had four kick returns for 78 yards (19.5 average).
Matt Haack and Matt Darr continued their battle for the punting job. Darr averaged 49.5 yards a punt to Haack’s 48.3.
There was one special teams blunder last night, as Drake fumbled a punt but immediately recovered it. He had to sprint up to catch the high and short punt and was out of control on his way to do so, leading to a muffed reception.