Run defense: 2/5 stars
Miami was very inconsistent with their focus on the ground game. But Detroit struggled to stop Raheem Mostert between the tackles. The run defense improved on the Dolphins’ final few drives, but it still was not good enough.
It’s difficult to draw too much from a game against a team that didn’t really run the ball. What can be said is the ground game worked for Miami when they needed it to.
Pass defense: 1/5 stars
The Dolphins have one of the best passing attacks in the league. It should be no surprise that Detroit’s woeful secondary had issues all game long. It didn’t matter whether it was Tyreek Hill or Jaylen Waddle, Detroit couldn’t cover either one.
That duo ended the game with a combined 294 yards. To say the least, the speed of those two caused big issues. The secondary did not get much help from the defensive front either. The Dolphins’ game plan revolves around such a short time to throw that the pass rush rarely got any opportunities to get home. It was a perfect storm, resulting in the pass defense being dominated.
Best defensive player: LB Malcolm Rodriguez
It probably speaks to the state of the linebacking room that a sixth-round rookie is the best player in the unit. But that’s not to discount Rodriguez, whose ability to fill gaps, take on blocks, and tackle with efficiency is something Detroit sorely lacks.
His coverage hasn’t been perfect, but Rodriguez has been improving in that area. There was one play in particular where he got a hand on a pass over the middle to prevent Hill from getting another catch. Rodriguez had a very impressive game despite everyone around him struggling.
Worst defensive player: CB Amani Oruwariye
One of the key matchups this week was Oruwariye facing off against Waddle. Wouldn’t you guess Oruwariye once again struggled against a smaller and faster receiver? Except this week, the struggles extended to whomever Oruwariye was covering, whether it was a fast receiver or not.
There were multiple instances of Oruwariye being so concerned with getting burned that he would play off-coverage. That, naturally, resulted in easy completions underneath. All around just a very forgettable game for a player that has had too many of those this season.