Every Monday (and on Friday following the Week 3 game on TNF in Jacksonville), we'll go inside the numbers from the previous game. We'll take a look at the snap counts, cumulative team stats for the season, and advanced metrics from a variety of analytics sites such as Pro Football Focus, NFL Next Gen Stats and Pro Football Reference.
Dolphins-Jaguars First Time Since
It was a night of firsts - and firsts in a while - for the Dolphins in a wire-to-wire victory Thursday night in Jacksonville. The Dolphins came out swinging on a short week with an explosive start and put the game away in the second half behind a strong showing on defense under new coordinator Josh Boyer.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick broke the team's single-game completion percentage record (minimum 20 attempts) with a 90 percent mark (18-of-20). Fitzpatrick also completed the second-most consecutive passes in team history. He started the game 12-of-12 and finished last week with nine straight to make it 21 consecutive completions for the Dolphins quarterback. The team record is 25 by Ryan Tannehill in Weeks 6 and 7 in 2015.
Fitzpatrick caught his own pass in the fourth quarter; it was the third reception of his career and first since 2013.
The Dolphins marched the ball down the field for three straight scoring drives to begin the game. That was the second time since at least 2000 and first time since 2011 (at Buffalo in Week 17) the team opened the game with touchdowns on each of its first three possessions.
The Dolphins rushed for 91 yards in the first half, the most for the team in the first half of a game since the Miami Miracle vs. New England in 2018.
Running back Myles Gaskin was the bell cow in the game. He carried the football 22 times, more than any Dolphins back since Kenyan Drake in Week 14 of 2017 vs. New England.
The Miami offense picked up 12 first downs in the first quarter on 18 plays. That was the most for the franchise in the opening quarter of a game since at least 1992.
Despite playing one more game than 30 of the other 31 teams in the NFL, Miami's 13 penalties-against are still in the top half of the league (tied for the 16th fewest). The Dolphins commit an average of just 4.3 penalties per game - the fifth-lowest rate in the NFL. Miami averages 35.3 penalty yardage assessed against - eighth-lowest in the league.
Jacksonville converted only 3-of-13 third and fourth down plays on offense. The 23 percent conversion rate by the Miami defense was the lowest since was 2-for-11 on third and fourth down plays (18.2 pct.) on Oct. 13, 2019 vs. Washington.
The red zone offense is converting 66.7 percent of trips inside the 20 into touchdowns - tied for ninth-best in the NFL. The 44.4 percent third-down conversion rate ranks 14th in the league.
Blue designations in sports are usually a good thing. That color-coding typically signifies the best of the best whether it's with regards to a prospect grades or the grading system utilized by Pro Football Focus.
Thursday night in Jacksonville left a lot of blue of Fitzpatrick's grade chart. Under pressure, kept clean, against the blitz and against four-man rushes, Fitzpatrick graded in the blue across the board (better than 90.0, out of 100).
Fitzpatrick was 6-of-6 with 81 yards and a touchdown pass when under pressure in the game. He was 12-of-13 with 78 yards and two touchdown passes when Jacksonville blitzed. He was 6-of-6 on intermediate passes (11-19 air yards) with 90 yards and a pair of touchdowns, per Pro Football Focus.
Per NFL Next Gen Stats, Fitzpatrick ranks fifth in the NFL in completion percentage above expected at +6.7 percent and third in aggressive passing percentage (28.9%, throwing into contested windows).
Myles Gaskin continues to create yardage after initial contact. Pro Football Focus credited Gaskin with seven forced missed tackles on 22 carries for an average of 2.36 yards after contact. It was his fifth consecutive game with more than 50 yards from scrimmage. He ranks 12th in NFL's Next Gen Stats for yards over expected.
DeVante Parker caught all five of his targets for 69 yards, good for 13.8 yards per target.
The Dolphins offensive line went wire-to-wire (all five starters playing 100 percent of the offensive snaps) for the third straight week. They allowed only 10 quarterback pressures on 28 drop-backs, per PFF.
Solomon Kindley pitched a pass protection shutout (no QB pressures). Ted Karras and Austin Jackson allowed one apiece and Ereck Flowers surrendered just two pressures.
The Dolphins pass rush got it going early and often in this game.
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy led the way with six pressures and did it on 20 pass rush snaps (30 percent pass rush productivity, per PFF). Van Noy had a sack, forced fumble and recovered the same fumble. He also made a pair of run stops (tackles within two yards of the line of scrimmage).
Linebacker Andre Van Ginkel had three pressures on 18 pass rush reps; a PRP of 17 percent. He also had a run stop on just two run-down reps.
Defensive end Shaq Lawson had six quarterback pressures on 32 pass rush reps; a PRP of 14 percent. He had a run stop on 10 run-down snaps.
Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah had five quarterback pressures on 43 pass rush reps; a PRP of 12 percent.
Defensive tackles Christian Wilkins, Raekwon Davis, Zach Sieler, linebacker Jerome Baker, and safeties Eric Rowe and Brandon Jones all made two run stops each, per PFF.
Baker, prior to Sunday's slate of games, has the second-most tackles (30) in the NFL.
Cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Noah Igbinoghene allowed one completion on six pass targets for just two yards - an average of .33 yards per target. Howard picked off his 13th pass since December 2017, tied for the most in the NFL in that span with Chicago's Kyle Fuller.
Bobby McCain allowed one completion for four yards on two targets, per PFF.
Mixing it Up and Energy Sources
The Dolphins offense mixed up the calls in Week 3. Entering the game, the Dolphins utilized 22-personnel only five times (and four times with an extra offensive lineman, 22-heavy). Thursday, Miami dialed up 22-personnel (2 RB, 2 TE, 1 WR) on 11 occasions.
"It was obviously a very short week so to have a few new wrinkles, I think it speaks to the creativity of our coaching staff and also just speaks to the guys that we have in there, being able to do things like that and for us to be able to trust that they're going to be able to get in there and figure things out," Fitzpatrick said. "It was nice to see everybody involved and the creativity and that kind of stuff on a short week."
Throughout the course of the game, color analyst Troy Aikman commended the Dolphins' defensive plan for the variety Brian Flores and Boyer showed. Friday in his day-after presser, Flores talked about the defensive game plan.
"Every week we're going to try to do whatever we can or what we feel is best to win the game. I thought Josh (Boyer) and our defensive staff came up with a good game plan for this particular team this particular week," Flores said. "It was a mix of zone calls, man calls, blitzes. I thought we mixed it well and kept them off balance. You never want to do just one thing or do just a couple of things. You want to be able to mix the calls, mix the fronts offensively, defensively and in the kicking game."
Ted Karras drove his man into the end zone with his quarterback closely in tow for the final touchdown of the game, giving Miami a commanding 28-7 lead late in the third quarter. Karras talked about the energy source the Dolphins quarterback provides and how infectious his personality is throughout the roster.
"He definitely brings the energy and that was a big play in the game," Karras said. "We had to punch it in and (it was a) pretty fun play call, and we executed it. The celebration - we brought a lot of energy. We had that all week and I think that's what this team needs to build on and keep improving that and keep stringing good games together."
Up Next, One of the Best
We'll enjoy this win over the weekend, but seven-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson awaits next week. Flores didn't mince his words when talking about the quarterback that Miami is tasked with stopping next Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium when the Seattle Seahawks come to town.
"Russell Wilson, this is obviously one of the best players in the league," Flores said. "We'll do our due diligence as far as scouting it and evaluating him and the rest of their team, and try to put ourselves in the best positions to contain him and contain that offense. But it will be a total team effort."