The Miami Dolphins had its way against the Cleveland Browns last Sunday, racking up almost 500 yards in a 39-17 victory at Hard Rock Stadium.
There were several reasons for the Dolphins scoring the most points allowed by the Browns this season, among them the passing of Tua Tagovailoa and the running of Jeff Wilson Jr.
Browns star defensive end Myles Garrett provided another important one Friday: coaching.
Looking back on the Dolphins 39-17 victory, Garrett made some eye-opening remarks concerning the Miami game plan.
"Honestly, how specific it was towards us," Garrett said. "It wasn't like a first 15 (plays scripted), it was like a first 60. The way they attacked us was very detailed in what they were trying to do and just had us out of position a lot of the time. It just seemed like when we tried to switch things up, they were a step ahead of us."
The Dolphins were very balanced offensively in that game, with Tagovailoa passing for 285 yards and the team rushing for 195.
"It was like they knew adjustments we were going to make," Garrett said. "In some aspects, they out-physicaled us as far as reaching and their hand placement was borderline illegal, but if it wasn't called, it wasn't called. We have to be able to adjust to that. The way they were able to get up that second line, getting up to the linebackers, making sure they couldn't flow over the top and fill the gaps, making sure that we were a second late just because of all the movements and motions. All those things kept us on the backfoot, so that's another credit to them and to the coaching."
FORMER ASSISTANTS FACE OFF
While on the topic of coaching, one of the matchups in the NFL this weekend (while the Dolphins enjoy their bye) will feature two former Miami assistant coaches — and head coaching candidates — going head-to-head with Dan Campbell's Detroit Lions visiting Brian Daboll's New York Giants.
Daboll and Campbell coached together with the Dolphins in 2011 when Daboll was offensive coordinator, and he was largely responsible for Campbell coming on board that year.
"When I was a coordinator for (former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, Tony said, ‘Hey, I got this guy that I think would be good. Why don’t we interview him? You take care of the interview,' " Daboll told Giants reporters this week. "So I interviewed Dan, and it was a great interview. He’s slamming chairs on the ground and hitting walls and going through all these drills. You guys know him; he’s a fantastic person, great family. It was an entertaining interview. (He) knew a lot. Obviously, he was very passionate, tough as nails you could tell. He was out of breath in half that interview with the stuff he was doing. Yeah, great guy."
Campbell joked Friday that Daboll might have exaggerated how that interview went.
“He tells that story to everybody,” Campbell joked. “He tells it to me, every time I see him he brings it up again. I don’t remember throwing chairs through the walls, that didn’t happen. But I did demo on chairs. He definitely exaggerated it, but I was sweating and I was out of breath and I did use a chair.”
Campbell, who said he used a chair back then for demonstration purposes, interviewed for the Dolphins head coaching job after serving as interim head coach for the final 12 games of the 2015 season, but MIami hired Adam Gase.
Daboll was among the candidates for the Dolphins opening this offseason after Brian Flores was fired.
DOLPHINS BYE WEEK ROOTING GUIDE
While Dolphins fans can't root for their team this weekend, they certainly can do the next-best thing and that's root for outcomes most advantageous to the team with an eye toward a playoff run.
That obviously means rooting for any NFC team in an interconference matchup, and that means rooting for Carolina at Baltimore, Washington at Houston (not that the Texans will be a factor in the playoff picture) and Philadelphia at Indianapolis.
The game between Las Vegas (2-7) and Denver (3-6) looks pretty inconsequential at this moment given the teams' records.
That brings us to the rest of the AFC matchups:
Cleveland (3-6) vs. Buffalo (6-3) at Detroit: This looks like a clear choice of rooting for the Browns because they don't look like a playoff threat and the Bills losing obviously would help the Dolphins' chances of winning the AFC East.
N.Y. Jets (6-3) at New England (5-4): This AFC East rematch is tricky because of a Jets win creates some separation with the Patriots, which is good. On the other hand, a Jets win would drop the Dolphins to second place in the AFC East by virtue of the New York's win over Miami in Week 5.
Cincinnati (5-4) at Pittsburgh (3-6): Based on the records, this obviously is about rooting for the Steelers.
Kansas City (7-2) at L.A. Chargers (5-4): This is kind of the same situation as the Jets game, in that a K.C. victory would damage the Chargers' playoff chances, where a Chargers win means another serious playoff contenders but the Dolphins moving closer to getting the top seed in the AFC.