The Miami Dolphins came away with a 23-20 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night, and there were plenty of encouraging signs for many young Dolphins’ players on both sides of the football.
On offense, the Dolphins’ young wide receivers showed promise as Leonte Carroo as his lone reception was an outstanding 33-yard touchdown reception from Brandon Doughty. The defensive back covering Carroo seemingly had a better angle on the football, but the second-year wide receiver made an outstanding adjustment to make the grab.
Jakeem Grant also had a solid outing as it appears that his transition from slot to lining up outside the numbers is exactly what he needed. Statistically he did not have the best night, but it is clear he is playing faster and is more confident now than he was when he was lining up in the slot.
After the Dolphins were pinned deep in their own one-yard line midway through the fourth quarter, it was undrafted rookie Damore’ea Stringfellow who took a David Fales pass 99 yards for a touchdown to give the Dolphins a 20-23 lead. Stringfellow has been plagued by drops during camp but tonight’s game-changing play will certainly garner attention from his teammates and coaches.
In the backfield, Kenyan Drake led all rushers with 21 yards on just four carries. Drake’s acceleration to the outside puts pressure on the defense to race to the outside to corral him, but his ability to find cutback lanes allowed him to gain 5.3 yards per carry on the evening.
The Dolphins’ young defenders also also proved capable as rookie defensive tackles Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor were disruptive and managed to stop the Falcons for modest gains on the ground Godchaux had one tackle on the night and a would-be sack that was negated by his hand placement as he was called for hands to the face on the play. Taylor ended up with three tackles and consistently got a push up field at the point of attack.
The Dolphins’ young cornerbacks shined on the night as well, as second-year cornerback Lafayette Pitts rookie Cordrea Tankersley did well in run support and proved to be willing tacklers. While they weren’t tested often through the air they often times forced the opposing quarterbacks to hit their check down option as a result of their coverage in the secondary.
Undrafted rookie cornerback Torry McTyer also forced a fumble on kickoff return which was recovered by Storm Johnson to give the Dolphins another possession in the fourth quarter.
The Dolphins did lose middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan (knee) and cornerback Walt Aikens (back) early in the contest. The extent of their injuries have yet to be revealed.