Jay Ajayi: Ajayi looks to be far from a one year wonder. He picked up right where he left off on Sunday, barreling through the Chargers defense to the tune of 122 yards on 28 carries. It appears as though head coach Adam Gase wasn’t bluffing when he said he planned on getting Ajayi 25-plus touches a game, as he had 28 on Sunday. That is a sigh of relief for many Dolphins fan as he is widely regarded as Miami’s best offensive player. If he can stay healthy, Ajayi is looking at over 300 carries this season.
Jay Cutler: Yes, Smokin’ Jay earns himself a nice stock boost in his first ever real game as a Dolphin. He may not have had a spectacular game, but he definitely had a good one. Cutler went 24/33 for 230 yards and a touchdown, finishing just outside the top 10 with a very respectable 101.8 passer rating. However, it wasn’t necessarily his stats that earned him this spot, it was his pocket presence. His ability to slide up to escape pressure and keep his eyes down the field led to multiple first downs on Sunday. He was able to answer any questions about him being rusty after retiring this offseason.
Run Defense: For a unit that was so bad that it allowed the most rushing yards in franchise history in 2016, they really showed up on Sunday. They were able to hold Pro-Bowler Melvin Gordon to an abysmal 1.4 yards per carry. What makes this even more impressive is the fact that this unit was already missing two starting linebackers, then they found out the night before that another starter, Lawrence Timmons, mysteriously went AWOL on Saturday. Fortunately, Chase Allen and Mike Hull were able to not only pick up the slack, but excel in run defense. Unfortunately, Hull was exposed in pass coverage when he was filling in for Timmons in nickel packages.
Laremy Tunsil: Now here is a name you never wanted to see in here. Tunsil is supposed to be our cornerstone at the left tackle position for the next decade. He had a very good rookie season playing left guard while Branden Albert manned the left tackle spot, and this year was his time to shine. Sunday was definitely a trial by fire for Tunsil as he went up against the very talented Melvin Ingram. Tunsil would end up allowing two sacks and three quarterback hurries on the day. Let’s all hope that he learns a lot from this game and that he corrects his mistakes going forward in preparation for the Jets.
Mike Hull: This one was a tough one to put here because Hull had a good day against the run. Unfortunately, he was forced to play coverage in the nickel package as well due to Timmons’ absence. Hull was on the field for all 58 of Miami’s defensive snaps, and the Chargers made sure to capitalize. Hull was targeted nine times, allowing all nine passes to be completed for 95 yards, both marks being the worst among all linebackers for this week. The Dolphins sent a fifth-rounder to New Orleans for Stephone Anthony, a former first round pick back in 2015. That should tell you everything you need to know about how they feel with the linebacker situation at the moment.
Pass Defense: I almost put Xavien Howard there on account that he ranked 62nd among CB’s according to ProFootballFocus this week, but the truth is it wasn’t all his fault. The pass defense as a unit struggled all game. The line generated virtually no pressure, only notching one sack, and allowed Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers to pass for 331 yards while completing 79.5 percent of his passes. This cannot happen regularly if the Dolphins are going to make it back to the postseason. Hopefully Matt Burke will do what he can this week to correct those errors. Fortunately, the Dolphins are set play the Jets this week.