This game is much more than Tua vs Herbert, I’ve just become fond of the mirror image bookend windups of both righty and lefty QB’s together. Don’t get me wrong, both of these players will play a large role in the game, but right now the Dolphins defense is an equal shareholder in the outcome of this team. I mentioned this the other day and I think this information is still sinking in. Half the season is completed and our Miami Dolphins are in the top 10 in offensive scoring (10th) at 27.8 PPG and 4th in defensive scoring at 20.1 PPG. We’re plus 61 in point differential. We knew this was year 1 of the rebuild after the tear down and I can’t imagine that any of us expected this type of result so quickly.
Emmanuel Ogbah has been so impressive this season. He has more sacks at the halfway point of the season (7) than he has had in any full season. His 13 QB hits are 3 away from topping his season best in which he started all 16 games. He’s playing 76% of the defensive snaps and is on pace to equal his rookie year of playing over 800 snaps. The thing is, it’s not just Ogbah, everyone is making plays. Ogbah has started them with the strip sacks in back to back games but Andrew Van Ginkel scooped up one fumble and ran it back for a TD and then the next week it was Shaq Lawson with the scoop and the fumble recovery TD return. Elandon Roberts has made some big defensive stops. Byron Jones and Xavien Howard have been balling although last week Howard struggled all day. Eric Rowe has been playing very well along with Bobby McCain. Big Raekwon Davis, Zach Sieler and Christian Wilkins have been money on the defensive line. If I asked you which Dolphins DB has the most passes defensed I’d be willing to bet nearly all of you would guess wrong. It’s Eric Rowe with 9. BTW, Shaq Lawson is just one shy of Ogbah with 12 QB hits. You don’t hear his name as much but he’s getting it done.
The 2-6 Chargers come in 17th in offensive scoring at 25.6 PPG and 21st in defensive scoring at 27 PPG and they have a -11 point differential. This Chargers defense was supposed to be better with Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Denzel Perryman, Kenneth Murray etc. The Chargers recently traded away safety Desmond King and now have the duo of Rayshawn Jenkins and Nasir Adderly. The Chargers defense hasn’t been what they expected but their offense has been humming despite the running back carousel of Austin Ekeler (IR), Joshua Kelley and Justin Jackson. Ekeler is the most explosive of the crew and he’s been on IR for weeks. The Chargers are now featuring RB’s Kalen Ballage and Troymaine Pope due to injuries to Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley. WR Keenan Allen leads the team in receptions followed by WR Mike Williams. No longer does that dominant TE control the middle of the field (Antonio Gates). Still, QB Justin Herbert is having a fantastic rookie season completing 67% of his passes with 17 TD’s and only 5 INT’s and 2146 yards passing.
For our Dolphins, the hope is that Matt Breida will be healthy or we’ll see the committee of Jordan Howard, Salvon Ahmed and Patrick Laird. Ahmed looked to have some giddyup while Jordan Howard ran like he had a blocking sled tied to his waist. Ahmed had 38 yards on 7 carries and a long carry of 19 yards. Breida is questionable with a hamstring injury. WR Preston Williams is on IR with a foot injury sustained on his TD catch against the Cards. There’s a chance we will see WR Antonio Callaway this week as he makes his long journey back to an NFL gameday roster, his last NFL action was 11/3/19. Jakeem Grant was more involved in the passing game than usual and he stepped up. Tua now makes his third NFL start, his 2nd at home. I would think the small crowd will be in a frenzy. I just hope we can keep up the good work we’ve done the last 4 games.