This past Sunday, the Miami Dolphins did something that head coach Joe Philbin has preached from the begining of the offseason, force turnovers and win the turnover battle. After finishing near dead last in forcing turnovers last season, the Dolphins showed up Sunday with three big interceptions in the first half that led to a measly six points offensively.
While most Dolphins fans were grumbling about the lack of points off turnovers, the Browns countered with an opportuniistic interception leading to 7 points and the lead. How could this be? The Dolphins were winning the battle yet losing by one point at the half.
Even though winning the turnover will be critical going forward, let's be realistic about how much this statistic matters. Every time the Dolphins take the ball away from an opponent, it's one less opportunity that the other team has the time of possession. However, if the Dolphins do take the ball away, they have to do something with that short field to create separation on the scoreboard.
The Dolphins do not boast the best cornerbacks in the NFL with Brent Grimes and Dmitri Patterson. However, both are solid selections for the time being and play their respective positions well. Patterson did collect two interceptions and one did lead to a field goal.
Where the Dolphins need to create more turnovers is with the incredible defensive line by creating pressure on the quarterback. One thing the defensive line could have used on the last drive of the game is more than just sacks. Sacks were helpful in taking away the clock and forcing the Browns backward, but frankly, it would have been splendid to see Derrick Shelby after stripping the ball from Brandon Weeden's right hand to actually jump on it and recover it.
The goal for this season is yes, win the turnover margin and get more points off of the turnovers forced. If the Dolphins force turnovers consistently, the offense needs to pickup the slack and as a tandem, they can be a dominant force by giving the offense a shorter field to work with.
Going into Indianapolis, the Dolphins have to play defense and force turnovers. Forcing turnovers is the only precise way to beat Andrew Luck who did not fare well versus Baltimore in the playoffs. Should the Dolphins force Luck to force his passes or strip the ball, it could be a long day for him and maybe, just maybe, the Dolphins can escape Lucas Oil with a 2-0 record.