Monday, December 9, 2013
Upon Further Review: Dolphins Week 14
By James Walker
PITTSBURGH -- A review of four hot issues from the Miami Dolphins' 34-28 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday:
Playoff push: The Dolphins picked up another signature win to improve to 7-6 and position themselves well for the playoffs. Miami has a similar record with the Baltimore Ravens (7-6) with three games remaining in the race for the final wild card in the AFC. The Ravens hold the head-to-head tiebreaker due to a win over the Dolphins in Week 5. But Baltimore has a tougher remaining schedule than Miami. Expect the Dolphins to do a lot of scoreboard watching, while also trying to take care of their own business on the field.
Unlikely heroes: When a team is in the middle of a playoff run, it often takes contributions from unlikely sources to get a team over the top. Miami got tremendous production from a pair of surprising players in tailback Daniel Thomas and tight end Charles Clay. Thomas rushed for a game-high 105 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries, and Clay caught seven receptions for 97 yards and two touchdowns. The pair accounted for 21 of Miami's 34 points.
Injury update: Sunday's game against the Steelers was physical, and the Dolphins suffered some injuries as a result. The big one is starting running back Lamar Miller, who suffered a concussion in the third quarter and was knocked out of the game. Miller's status is up in the air this week, as he will have to pass all the concussion tests. Miami also lost backup cornerback R.J. Stanford, who said after the game that he broke his fibula. Stanford is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
Patriots up next: The games only get tougher for Miami. Next up with a home date with the reigning AFC East champion New England Patriots. The Patriots beat the Dolphins in October at Gillette Stadium 27-17. Miami played well in the first half, jumping out to a 17-0 lead, before allowing 27 unanswered points. The Dolphins don't have much margin for error and could use a split of the season series.