By: Marc Sessler for the NFL.COM.
After Cleveland kicker Cody Parkey missed a would-be, game-winning field goal at the end of regulation, the Miami Dolphins (1-2) struck down an injury-riddled Browns (0-3) team 30-24 in overtime, a win triggered by Jay Ajayi‘s 11-yard touchdown. Here’s what we learned:
1. Victory aside, Miami’s offense remains a streaky operation. Ryan Tannehill threw a pair of first-half interceptions, including an ugly 27-yard pick six to Cleveland’s Briean Boddy-Calhoun that handed the Browns an early 10-7 lead. The Dolphins quarterback settled down from there, though, retaking the lead with a pretty 42-yard scoring strike to Jarvis Landry (7/120/1) in the third. With Pro BowlerJoe Haden out of the lineup, the Browns and their largely invisible pass rush couldn’t keep a lid on Miami’s air game, which saw Landry, DeVante Parker (3/51/1) and Kenny Stills (5/76) dial up plenty of real estate after combining for 280 yards and 22 catches against the Patriots in Week 2. Tannehill’s offense struggled late, though, with three straight punts and a lost fumble before punting again to open overtime. Still, the ever-up-and-down Dolphins passer had the last laugh, directing a three-play, 44-yard touchdown drive march in OT to put the game on ice.
3. Parkey was pulled off the street midweek and missed field goals from 41 and 42 yards before hooking the would-be game-winner from 46 yards out. It’s a lot to ask for a cowed free agent to light up the skies, but the misses completely sunk Cleveland.
4. Kessler will see Cameron Wake in his darkest night visions. The Dolphins‘ pass rusher dialed up a strip-sack of the rookie on the sixth play of the game and blew him up again with a second strip-sack in the final quarter that would have made for a monster box score if Wake weren’t offsides. Miami’s defense dialed up four sacks, seven tackles for loss and countless pressure.
5. On the ground, Dolphins back Kenyan Drake started over the enigmatic Ajayi, who might not be long for Miami even after the winning touchdown. This Dolphins ground game will struggle to impose its will on better defenses.
6. With the quarterback situation in a whirlwind, the Browns leaned hard on their own ground game. Coming into the tilt fifth in the league in rushing, Isaiah Crowell (15/79) teamed with Duke Johnson(10/69) and Pryor to run for 169 yards at 5.3 yards per rush against a Miami defense that kept Cleveland’s love of the deep pass under wraps.