News & Analysis

NFL Week 8 PFF ReFocused: Miami Dolphins 28, Los Angeles Rams 17

Nov 1, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) leads his team out to the field before the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins scored in all three phases of the game to top the Los Angeles Rams, 28-17, and emerge from Week 8 a playoff-caliber team.

Jared Goff’s egregious performance overshadowed Tua Tagovailoa’s first NFL start. Goff committed four turnovers in the first half, and Dolphins head coach Brian Flores threw the kitchen sink at the Rams' offense, outsmarting Sean McVay in their first meeting since the Super Bowl in 2018.

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

Story Of The Game

On Tagovailoa’s first pass attempt, Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers clobbered the rookie for a strip-sack. Robert Woods scored immediately afterward on a 6-yard scamper, adding uncertainty to the decision to bench Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Goff dropped back to pass 24 times through the first two quarters despite the Rams' offense totaling 103 rushing yards on 5.7 yards per carry. Nothing made sense, especially at halftime, with Miami leading 28-10 off 56 yards of total offense.

The Dolphins dominated while getting absolutely nothing from Tagovailoa, who finished 12-for-22 for 93 yards and one touchdown. The Miami offense looked equally as inept running the football and averaged under a yard per carry before contact.

Flores took a page from his mentor Bill Belichick’s playbook, dropping defensive linemen into coverage, mixing man and zone concepts and blitzing from the back seven to stymie Goff. He consistently put the ball in harm’s way, posting five turnover-worthy plays, two interceptions and two lost fumbles.

Nov 1, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) celebrates with defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (94) after the touchdown of running back Myles Gaskin (37, not pictured) against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Watch

Aside from Tagovailoa, tackle Robert Hunt and guard Solomon Kindley played every snap for the Dolphins' offense. Defensive tackle Raekwon Davis continues to play a larger role every week, recording 50 snaps for the game.

Cam Akers and Van Jefferson combined for 34 snaps on the Rams' offense. Jefferson caught both of his targets for 23 yards, and Akers touched the ball 10 times to chip in 54 yards.

ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats 2.0.

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